National Twenty20 club cricket

There are still those who disparage Twenty20 cricket, describing it as 'nothing more than a bit of a hit and giggle' or something similarly disrespectful. In reality it's a totally valid version of cricket.

In his seminal book Beyond A Boundary, C L R James describes the prerequisites for success in 20 over league cricket. Don't think that these matches were of a low standard. Lancashire league cricket was a robust creature back then.

"Not fast bowling and brilliant quarters of an hour, but absolute accuracy and meticulous field placings were the conditions of consistent success for the player who took his job seriously."

This paragraph is really a response to that other great cricket writer, C B Fry, who had described Learie Constantine, erroneously in James' view, as a player who was ideally suited to 20 over league cricket on the grounds that he could win a match with 15 minutes of speed bowling or unorthodox hitting.

James thought Constantine to be a superlative cricketer. He felt that Fry was underselling him and the art of 20 over cricket with this evaluation. It's a close relation of the 'hit and giggle' view. It hints that fortune is a powerful influence on the results of these games. Luck played no greater part in deciding these matches than in any other form of the game.

Cricket's about scoring runs and taking wickets. Twenty20 isn't about slogging, because slogging gets you out. And just because a player gets caught on the boundary, doesn't mean he hasn't been out-thought by the bowler. A false stroke is a false stroke. If the bowler deduces that a batsman will go for a certain shot under a circumstance and can make something of this, fair play to him.

Here's another quote that's perhaps relevant. This time from Sir Frank Worrell:

"The conditions [in league cricket] vary so much from match to match that if you set yourself to master each one, you maintain your standards and gain in experience."

He doesn't just mean the pitch and weather conditions here. More importantly, he means the match situation. 20 over cricket rewards the most talented players because you must always find a way to score or take wickets. You must innovate, but also you must execute these innovations.

All of this is because of a recent email we received from David drawing our attention to the upcoming national Twenty20 club league.

This is a fantastic idea and we've no doubt whatsoever that C L R James would approve wholeheartedly. We certainly do.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll still call it a bit of hit and giggle.
And I still prefer First class cricket.

But, you're right, Twenty20 is a perfectly valid form of the game, especially now it's maturing a little.

I just pray we don't get over-saturated with it.

6:23 pm  
Blogger Reenen said...

20/20 cricket is... well, in my opinion a whole different game.

Just as ODIs are different to Test cricket, so is 20/20 different than the other two.

I think there are definitely an art to 20/20 and some of it may be useful in ODIs and Tests, but I think more so for the bowlers than the batsmen. I guess the captain is the one that can take the most through to the other games.

7:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Ollie, half of what makes it so much fun to watch is that we don't get to see it that often.

4:30 am  

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