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October 15, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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T20: It’s Just Not Cricket

The T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka ended recently, and New Zealand were packing their bags fairly early, so it seems balance has been restored. It would take a very, very convincing argument to say that the Blackcaps are actually good, but I’ll do my best. Sort of.

I’m not saying that they played to an acceptable standard at the T20 World Cup as much as the entire format is a farce. It’s the bums-on-seats style of the game—easily digestible, over in three hours and assimilates half-naked women dancing with ease. But I can’t shake the feeling that it’s becoming more of a lottery, and much more of a circus.

Look no further than one of the biggest stories in the sport in recent times—Usain Bolt. The sprinter’s possible signature with Melbourne Stars emphasises just how appearance-focused the game has become. It’s like Tiger Woods suggesting he’d like to play basketball and getting signed up by the Miami Heat.

If anything materialises, I may eat my words—who knows, Bolt may turn out to be an excellent cricketer—but signing him to the Big Bash league without any genuine evidence that the man can bat, bowl, or field with any conviction is proof that Melbourne is more interested in audiences than they are serious about assembling a winning cricket team.

But the game can afford it in such a short format. Nobody has any time to get a foothold in a match and the momentum of a game can swing (mind the pun) in just one ball or one over. Bowlers are rewarded for flukes, rather than built-up pressure, and batsmen are revered for swinging wildly at every ball bowled at them.

And by the end of it, if either team blinks for a moment (the Blackcaps are developing an alarming habit of doing so), it’s suddenly a draw. A Super Over is even more of a gamble—they may as well flip a coin and be on their way.
Everything is made for commercial gain. It is cricket’s attempt at MTV, and it is working. It’s just not cricket.
That is why we needn’t be too stressed about the Blackcaps’ T20 form of late. The other formats, however, are a story for another time.

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