Opinion: Verdict on T20
Firstly, lets not beat around the bush. T20 is the only way in which Cricket can get into the olympics. This has been the official response from the Olympic committe as well a few years ago, when they did not see that ODI was schedule friendly. So thats one main reason for looking at T20 favorably. Once the sport gets into Olympics, in many countries the govt funding increases dramatically, even if the interest in the masses is not that great. Already we see that T20 has become part of the Asian games, I think in 2010.
T20 is also targetted towards the people who think that 8 hours is too long for a game. I dont really understand that theory though. You dont HAVE to watch the full 8 hour game. You can watch only the 3.5 hour second innings. In any case, once you are addicted to the game, the 8 hour game does not look very long. And you have to understand that Cricket season is not like an MLB season with a lot of games within 3 months. There are only 20-25 games every year, and some of them are not even followed by the fans due to either telecast issues, or timing issues. In any case, the argument is there.
Now we get to the final part. T20 is very non serious cricket. It just is. A couple of bad overs (only 1 if you are Yuvraj Singh) can make you lose a match, and a couple of good overs, from the bat of Jayasuriya, or Afridi, or even the Bangladeshi batsmen can make you win. Once the team gets derailed, there is no chance of getting back. In ODI, if you go down at 50/5, someone can still have a partnership, and perhaps crawl to 210 in 50 overs. Then the bowlers will have something to bowl at. In t20, if you need to score at least more than 120-130, becuase anything less or equal to that, and the side batting second, with 10 wickets, should easily make the target (unless you dont have any brains like SA against Ind).
The other fallacy in terms of defining what is fun in cricket vs what is not is that lots of 4s and 6s will make it exciting. Thats baloney. A close contest makes it exciting, nothing else. And in any case, the contest should be between bat and ball, not bat and bat.
Last year there was the Pakistan India ODI series in which there were some of the flattest pitches that you would ever see. The problem with those games was that safe scores were those in excess of 320. A score of 280 was eaily chased down. Thats stupid becuase if the team batting first has to face morning conditions and goes through 15 overs being cautious, they have just lost the game. They can slam bang in the rest of the overs, and unless exceptional scores are made in those, they have lost the game. All the games were quite boring despite a lot of 6s and 4s being hit.
ICC has recently started that they want to jazz up the ODI by introducing free hits in them. Thats not good. If you want to experiment, things like this, or that super sub rule, should be limited to T20. 50 over cricket should stay with the roots of the game in terms of rules, the only difference being that the innings has been limited to 50 overs.
One thing about Bangladesh. When Bangladesh beat WI, there was someone on Cricinfo who got carried away and wrote “Bangladesh will reach the semi final of t20 WC. You read it first here”. This statement is pretty much “in your face” now. Bangladesh dismissed Gayle for 0 on the thrid ball of the innings. Scotland would also have won against WI in the summer in an ODI if they had been able to do that. But the point is, that Bangladesh will probably be able to beat WI in an ODI these days as well, provided that there is some series scheduled. Chances are higher if the series takes place in Bangladesh. ICC has to do more to get Zim and Ban to play WI and Eng, while also getting the top associates to play Zim and Ban. There is no movement by the ICC to do either at this point in time, and thats bad.
So the verdict is, I hate T20 cricket. But it is here to stay. Not too sure about what the older generation said in 1975 when the first limited overs world cup was played. It was 60 overs btw, the game lasted 9 hours.