Twenty20 - a hit not a giggle

Twenty20 cricket has been a massive success since its inception, but is still quite widely regarded as populist fluff. 'Hit and giggle' is the dismissive term of choice for the thoughtless. But with the grounds full and large amounts of TV coverage, it's deadly serious stuff for the players.

It tends to be characterised as a slogathon, but that's massively unfair. Matches aren't generally won in the fours and sixes columns, but through sneaky singles and clever twos.

If you're in the middle, the puzzle's the same as it is in Test cricket. The batsman's trying to hit runs, the bowler's trying to stop him and take his wicket. Perhaps the batsman's more keen to strike out, but that's just the context of the game.

Don't grumble about bowlers taking cheap wickets or batsman hitting quick 20s. You're making the mistake of evaluating the game in terms of the longer format. It's a different context. You need to compare like with like.

Because the matches are only 20 overs a side, runs are at more of a premium. So a misplaced fielder or an expertly angled leg-glance could prove the difference between victory and defeat. Every ball counts. Twenty20 never coasts.

The best players in the world - in any form of the game - are the ones who can adapt to the match situation and the playing conditions and find a way of either scoring runs or taking wickets. That's what will win the Twenty20 Cup.

Go and see a game. Beneath the razzmatazz is a format of great merit.

More Twenty20 stuff via Harrow Drive


Friday, June 22, 2007

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