When 50 over cricket appeared in 1971, it was as an alternative to Test cricket. Matches could be decided in one day, a winner was virtually guaranteed and a world cup of cricket became viable. The five day version stood unaltered and unthreatened and thrives to this day – the fascinating five day battle between bat and ball remains and there is no suggestion that Twenty 20 cricket will have a detrimental effect on the oldest form of the game any more than the 50 over version did on its inception.
Instead, it is traditional one day cricket that is threatened. Everything that is attractive about it as an alternative to Test matches is amplified in twenty over matches. A winner is produced in around three hours and the match itself is more exciting – supporters love seeing sixes hit and this is the secret of success in Twenty 20.
More importantly, the matches remain ‘alive’ for longer. The most exciting parts of 50 over matches are at the beginning and end of each innings, when teams seek to score quickly. The interim overs are characterised by steady accumulation and often a lack of intent on the fielding team to take wickets. There is no time for such consolidation in Twenty 20, meaning both teams are constantly on the attack. This makes exciting viewing for the ce in England.
Matches can also swing in Twenty 20 more abruptly. A team can lose early wickets and score slowly in pursuit of a run target but can easily get back into the game with one or two good partnerships; this is less easy to achieve in 50 over matches and games often peter out with the winner decided soon after the halfway point.
Of course, these advantages have been apparent for some time, as Twenty 20 cricket has been played in England for five years and most other nations have their own domestic league; last year’s world cup proved there was widespread appetite for the new format. Satta king harup
However, the vast amount of money involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has made other cricket boards and administrators sit up and take notice. England look set to follow suit with their own version of the superstar tournament, which will further erode interest in domestic one day leagues. The success of the IPL is sure to attract more high-profile names, with Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff likely to lead the English influx, proving the IPL can take precedence over the only clashing season, taking pla