Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: My comments on Speed’s statement on T20….

Opinion: My comments on Speed’s statement on T20….

The ICC has insisted Twenty20 will not replace the 50-over format despite a hugely successful ICC World Twenty20. Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, has also confirmed that a limit of seven Twenty20 matches per Test-playing nation each year will still carry on despite its popularity.
I dont know why there has to be a limit placed by the ICC on T20 games specifically. There should be a combined limit that you should not play more than, say 30, ODI+T20 in a given season. It should be up to the board to select whether they want to play a T20 or ODI. subcontinent is more likely to ask the visiting team to play ODI, while England or SA are more likely to ask the visitors to play T20. Every country should decide themselves what is good for them.

The Twenty20 version has, however, appealed to a wider fan-base and has been widely covered in both USA and China, according to Speed.
Where is this wide coverage in the US? I havent seen any higher coverage than anything before. Its the same cricket crazy expats who also watched this world cup. Its not like the mainsteam americans have woken up at 5 AM to watch the final because its a shorter format now.

“It’s the perfect vehicle for cricket to develop in new countries. This gives us another opportunity, a different vehicle to go after those different markets.
Agreed. However, ICC has never actually shown that they are interested in mainstreaming the game in the US, Canada, or even in the country that they are sitting in, UAE. So if you are only targeting the expats, then what T20 and what ODI?

“Cricket is already a niche sport in the USA. There are lots of Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, West Indies playing cricket, so we can build on that. Twenty20 is a great opportunity to do that.”
Cricket is a niche sport in the US? Isnt there a difference between Niche and Expat sports?

According to Speed, the success of Twenty20 and the shorter duration has already had an impact on the scheduling of the 2011 World Cup which, at this stage, is to last between 35 to 40 days.
Already had an impact? What does that mean? How has the T20 world cup had an impact? Did the ICC not know that the previous world cup was too long? They needed reassurance? The better format for the 2011 WC would be the one that they had in this tournament, with the super 8s being 2 groups of 4, as I have mentioned numerous times in my previous posts.

The next Twenty20 tournament is to take place in England in 2009.
I dont know why it is scheduled after 2 years instead of the regular 4.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. September 25, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Speed is hoping that all this will happen.

    As you point out, if cricket has to spread, it has to catch the attention of the ‘natives’.

    Twenty20 may be the vehicle, but it is still a long way from replacing the Super Bowl in America.

  2. Ram
    September 25, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    I think if the majority of people in the World haven’t even heard of the sport called cricket, where does it matter whether the format is Twenty20 or ODI?…And, I also don’t believe in this thinking that only ODIs or only Twenty20 can make cricket popular in non-traditional countries…It’s the profile of the event and the crowds that flock to the event that are the main parameters for making it more popular…To give an example, I don’t think the recent Twenty20 World Cup match between Scotland and Pakistan would’ve attracted as much following or viewership IN Scotland as did the Ashes of 2005…Give non-traditional markets round-the-year free access to cricket, even if that be Test cricket only…that would make a significant difference to cricket spreading over there 8 or 10 years down the line rather than coming up with world cups of all sorts that are just focussed on the core 8-10 markets and ultimately end up being fund-raising events…

    And…USA being interested in cricket….Of course, there was huge anticipation of the final and even after that but did that convince any local TV station to show the final live or even cover it in the news on their channel?…How long will the ICC keep fooling themselves and the rest of the cricketing world that USA is the next big thing in cricket?….If at all, this event should’ve been used by the ICC to force ESPN STAR to provide free live telecast on American channels like ESPN…The hype surrounding the Ind-Aus S/F and of course the final could’ve brought some TV viewership in the local American community…

  3. Art
    September 25, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    I will read a transcript of Speed’s discussion. Some of what appears above is very disturbing if what Nasir has said is in full context.

    The one comment I will make now however is a simple observation.

    As an ICC official which countries would you rather visit, China and the USA or Kenya and Uganda?

    You see if you are a big ICC official the reports you can write about the potential markets in China and the USA will be glowing with vast possibilities and probabilities. Besides the “hospitality” you will receive in China and the USA will appear much more generous although of course we know it will be lacking in sincerity.

  4. fred
    September 25, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Well said.
    All this hoopla about how great this 20-giggle is ignores some basics. The problems of the World Cup were not due to the format of 50-overs, but the problems of the stages. Would the sub-continent have whinged so hard had India and Pakistan played better? Why does the knock-out stage come BEFORE the round robin?
    If the 20-over Cup had followed the same format, and if Pakistan and India had been knocked out at the 1st stage, would the ICC (accounts division) be having these collective orgasms?
    Stop playing so many ODIs.
    I’d say that no more than 500 people in Japan (at best) knew about this 20-yippee Cup, and that they are all cricketers already.

  5. farhan
    September 26, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Well I am the fan of T20 FORMAT,SO ICC response about this format is as I expected, I dont why you all ppl are agsinst such FORMAT,WELL for cricket Its tough to attract PUBLIC’s interest other than in SUB-CONTINENT,Well coming to the spread of this game I think T 20 will contribute more to its popularity other than any format,well for developing any sport in any country one need to have its own team playing that sports.so its tough for USA or china to have INTEREST IN THAT SPORT UNLESS THIER TEASMS ARE PARTICIAPTING INTO THAT SPORTS.or other thing that can go int he favour of that nation is to stage that event into such country (though that will be not great profit economically).but still I think T 20 will touch to more ppl rather than ODI or test cricket to one who is really new to this game , SO I am in complete favour of such format . one thing that can happen is to host ICC T 20 TROPHY some where in ANY upcoming associata nation with top 12 associates particpating into that event and lets see how that will go . I am sure that will really catch the eyes of such nations.

  6. Roland Ilube
    September 26, 2007 at 5:29 am

    I have some sympathy with Farhan on this one. Watching 20/20 cricket for me (and I am someone who usually doesn’t play a single aggressive shot until I have been in at least 20 overs) is like eating junk food, I know I shouldn’t but it tastes so good.

    There is no doubt in my mind that 20/20 is going to have a major impact on the cricketing landscape in the near future, the question is how exactly. I am with the school of thought that believes that it is more likely to have a detrimental effect on 50-over cricket than test cricket. As a boy I was mesmerised by the chess-like nature of test cricket; of the endless permutations and variations; where you could marvel at the juxtaposition of Chris Tavare and Ian Botham batting together; could see why John Emburey could fool a batsman with an arm ball (or as one of my cricketing illiterate relatives once put it, “…you mean he missed a slow ball that did not spin? And he is supposed to be a good batsman?”). I am not sure that I would have grown up to be a cricket fanatic if the only fare was 20/20, so I think that test cricket’s particular (and perhaps peculiar) audience will remain.

    50-over cricket is another matter, Nasir said something about watching 20/20 because there is nothing else (“nothing” of course, being defined from the perspective of a cricketing fanatic). I often feel that way when watching a 50-over match, but somehow 20/20 I find to be a different kind of viewing experience. It is as if subconsciously I don’t burden it with the baggage of “proper” cricket, but watch it for what it is…and it is for some of the very reasons that Nasir doesn’t like it (such as the fact that you can boss the game for 38 overs and then lose), that lots of other people do. I took my (american) colleague to a 20/20 game at the Oval this summer and he had a great time, I would never have got him to go to a 50-over match, let alone a day of test or county cricket. I heard a girl on the train last week enthusing about the 20/20 final to a female friend of hers, urging her to watch it, even though the other girl had clearly never watched cricket in her life before. As Spock famously never said: “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”…

    My hope therefore, is for more 20/20 and less 50-over cricket, and if that means less crossover as time goes by, then so be it. And can the ICC really sustain the World Cup, World 20/20 and Champions Trophy? Please someone tell me the answer is no.

    One last offering from me on this rather rambling chain of thought. I recently read John Major’s book on the early history of cricket, and it has helped me to put things into perspective a little. Cricket’s aficionados of the 1600s, 1700s, and even 1800s would not recognise this game that we play now, even before the advent of 20/20

  7. September 26, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Lots of comments, so let me make some general points about all of them.

    It is true that if you want to expose someone to cricket, T20 is an easier vehicle than 50 overs. In most of the non cricketing countries, people are more apt to 2-3 hour games, rather than an 8 hour extravaganza. Forget test cricket for now. Even I did not start watching Cricket from Tests. It was ODI first, and then Tests.

    Spanning out the landscape a little, lets say that 10 years down the line you have Tests, and T20s only. ODIs have died away. Then what exactly is your proper cricket in a shorter format? My choices are, if Roland’s analogies are taken, either junk food, or an extreme healthy diet. I dont have a normal diet that can be followed.

    Most of the problem comes out from the fact that there is not much difference between T20 and ODI, except for the number of overs. ICC needs to work towards introducing more stuff to T20, while keeping the experiments out of ODI. That way you can have a seperate entities, and they may be able to survive together. Both forms can have something that can be looked forward to.

    Free hits are already there. Double play and perhaps Super Sub can be put in T20. The first 6 overs of fielding restrictions should be removed from T20, becuase there is no need to make batsmen think more agressively in a 20 over innings. Bowl out is the stupidest thing, but its fine for this stupid format. Additionally, one more thing that can be introduced is a “dozen ball”. The batsman would have to challenge the bowler for a particular delivery that he will hit him for a six. If he hits it on that ball, its 12 runs. If he doesnt, it counts as a dot ball, and the batsman cannot challenge the bowler anymore for that innings. Not the 12 runs, but the concept is fairly popular in street cricket in Pak. Its still only 6 runs though. Finally, perhaps in T20, we can have a rule that only 4 bowlers can be used, and they must be designated. This means that if a bowler is used, he must bowl 5 overs in the innings. The current scorecards where teams have sometimes used upto 7 bowlers bowling 2 – 4 overs each can become non sensical.

    Anyway, getting back to T20 v ODI scheduling, it is incorrect to state that 50 overs is the money spinner so it should be sustained. If you start playing T20, and people take to it more, that will be the money spinner. Lets not talk about the fact that you can push in more adverts in 8 hours vs 3 hours. 3 hours is long enough for a lot of adverts, and then you can push them in for 2 times the price of an ODI. You can end up spinning the same amount of money from T20 as well, if that becomes more popular.

    Finally, what are we talking about when it comes to markets? Are we saying that Cricket interest was dying in test countries because of ODI, and now it will be revitalized due to T20? Allen Stanford was giving demographics about the Stanford 20 20 that he had, and he said that Test have 90 percent males, and 10 percent women and children, while T20 has 40 percent males, and 60 percent women and children.

    T20 and ODI are bound to compete with each other. Not sure what the result is going to be. But it will be quite sad if slam bam lottery cricket becomes the norm rather than ODI.

    Has anyone experimented with Five5 cricket? Thats even shorter, and you can even have close games between Mali and Australia.

  8. Roland Ilube
    September 26, 2007 at 7:20 am

    Somebody somewhere suggested Twenty/20/Twenty/20 i.e. 2 alternate innings of 20 overs each. Maybe there is something in that concept

    You get quite a few 5/5 games in the english 20/20 domestic tournament (it is the minimum to get a result before the game is officially abandoned and they have to give the crowds their money back). I saw one of those a few months ago, I would rather have had my money back, but again my colleagues (mostly females with no prior cricket watching experience on that occasion) said they really enjoyed it

    I appreciate that there is more of an element of chance in 20/20 compared to other forms of the game, but I still think it is long enough that the better side (at that form) will win enough times on average to make ability count for something. In my local league, the same side has won our 20/20 competition 3 years in a row (but haven’t won the full league once in that time). Maybe they are just lucky…

  9. September 26, 2007 at 7:29 am

    2 alternate innings of 20 overs each? thats going to end up making it 7 hours all over again…….. I dont think that is something they want to go for……

  10. Roland Ilube
    September 26, 2007 at 7:38 am

    It was being postulated as an alternative to the 50-over game rather than a modification to the 20/20 format

  11. farhan
    September 27, 2007 at 11:57 am

    well guys interesting discussion, I agree with you ppl one some points and not so on some,I liked the concepts of 4 bowlers bowling 5 over each in T 20, No field restrictions in T 20 and about no bolwed out .but other ideas like such introducing double play and super sub and dozen runs, I am against these ideas, what we want make is that to make T 20 such game that luck factor comes as low as possible with it restoring the enetertainment of this game.well I think runs of inner edge (bowl going between wickets and batsman legs) can be finished,also byes in T 20 can be treated no run too.One other point can be added that is a bolwer can bowl TWO bouncers up to head level in an over.these few rules according to me can be added. I don’t think T 20 need any further modifications as it is already quite a hit format , i would love to add rule of with each wicket fall deducing lets say 5 runs but i think we want sixes at the end so that rule can be ruled out. thats are my thoughts. Coming to the point T 20 and cricket spread in the world as NASIR pointed out he started cricket by watching ODI and then finding the truht about test cricket. SAME ARE MY THOUGHTS , once you will be able to attract ppl towards cricket by means of any format I think there will be automatic liking for other format will come by nature once those ppl start playing that game. so as my thoughts are T 20 can be major steps to spread this beautiful game in Associates.

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