NEW DELHI. — Batsmen will be encouraged to satisfy contemporary cricket’s seemingly insatiable lust for boundaries and bowlers reduced to mere cannon fodder when the sixth World Twenty20 gets underway in India on Tuesday.
With 35 matches spread over 27 days, starting with eight “minnows” battling it out for two spots in the Super 10 round, the tournament looks set to illustrate once again just how skewed the 20-overs game is against bowlers.
There is more chance of discovering life on Mars than in the docile Indian tracks, which will be rolled out for a tournament that concludes with the April 3 final at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
While cricket purists may look on it with disdain, there is a growing acceptance that the format is the only way the game can expand beyond its current stagnation in former British colonies.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) last month received a status report on its ongoing dialogue over the game’s possible inclusion at Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
Like rugby sevens before it, there seems little doubt that cricket’s best hope of being given a place at such international multi-sport events is to push the shorter form of the game.
That Twenty20 has the potential to break new ground was evident in November when “All-Stars” games featuring retired greats such as Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar drew an aggregate crowd of 83 900 to three matches in the United States.
The ICC, who have had little success selling the game in the land of baseball, lauded the All-Stars series, convinced it would “help cricket to reach its significant potential in the United States”.
The format has long proved a smash hit in cricket’s traditional heartlands, spawning franchise-based leagues across the cricketing globe. — Reuters.