Thursday, 26 April 2012

Over indulgence of T20 leagues are proving toxic

Is cricket’s new dimension, T20 along with its leagues, killing the game of glorious uncertainty?

T20 cricket is being played almost all-round the year. Rather than T20 international games, it’s the leagues which are being played all-round the year.  In these leagues the cricketers are gaining the tag of ''specialist'' T20 players.

The likes of Kireon Pollard go around the world selling his services in cricket. You can find him in Mumbai for one league, then a few months later he might be seen in Taunton, Somerset.
While the West Indies are playing a less financially glamorous Test series vs Australia, Pollard is seen blazing for the Mumbai Indians. Pollard relishes the shorter format more than the longest format no matter how gifted he is to fit for the longest format.

Also his fellow West Indian player Sunil Narine is playing for Kolkata Knight Riders sidelining his national team’s call. Again, an injured Virender Sehwag is found fit to play for the IPL. Sehwag was found absent for the Asia Cup where India failed to reach the finals.

It wasn't all doom and gloom, Michael Clarke the Captain of the Australian side. He had withdrawn his services to T20 cricket; however it seems he's now had his head turned by the so called glamour of the IPL.

Representing own country is being left in the cold. The passion to play for the national side is there no more. The prides of representing one’s own country seems far and cry at present. It’s being mauled by killer trains named IPL, BPL, BBL and so on.

These leagues offer money and glamour which attracts the players across the globe like a magnet. The players fall a prey to such lucrative and mouth watering offers and thus ignores the country’s call where they are extremely needed. They all become the passengers of a crazy money train.

Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga recently condemned the ICC and India, for focusing too much attention to T20 cricket at the expense of Test cricket.

“Their interest is to try and get more money to their cricket boards, more money to the country rather than protecting the game. This is the disaster we face,”

I think when people across the world are living in poverty at an all time high we still have these auctions with some players being purchased in millions. The money that is being spent is beyond one’s thinking at a time when the world is going through an economic crisis.

Where the hell all these money comes from?. I am not against innovation in cricket. I am not against the change. I am here also is following IPL but it’s not as important as the Test match going on at Dominica. IPL offers entertainment but it can’t offer twits and thrills which a Test match can. And I want the best men who have sidelined their national call for the sake of such leagues, to contest for their national team on the thrilling canvas of Test cricket.
For a true cricket fan Test cricket matters most.

Where some countries are struggling to field their best sides, then perhaps T20 needs to take a step back for a change.

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has called for India to give priority to Test cricket. If they were to continue giving too much emphasis to Twenty20's then India would be reduced to a "walkover team in Test cricket."

"India needs to think seriously... have they put too much emphasis on IPL, T20 cricket. It's great entertainment but how to compare T20 with Test cricket. Test cricket is the ultimate test of the skills of a player."

India’s back to back whitewash against England and Australia had been pathetic for the fans. And while enjoying this year’s IPL I am sure the Indian fans are feeling an unknown pain deep down thinking that their men in blue aren’t at the top in Test cricket anymore.

The format that appears to be in a hypoxic state is Test cricket. Nothing makes the argument more severe than the recent Test series between Sri Lanka and England where the Test series wasn't given the three matches go ahead because the Sri Lankan board wanted their players to participate in the IPL.

IPL was the top most priority over Test cricket. The choice of the players and officials were not country but to earn money.

Now we have Lasith Malinga refusing to sign the central contract offered by the Sri Lankan cricket board. This is the first time a player has refused to give service to his nation. With his agent stating the player isn't happy with the amount that he was offered.

The signs were there for all to see when in 2011, he retired from Test cricket. He was asked to return from the IPL to get ready for the Test series in England. He didn't return giving the excuses of knee problems.

These are not good for the game. Still a game between India and Pakistan is far more interesting than Mumbai vs Chennai clash. The real passion oozes while two national teams with their start studded players clash a battle on the cricket field.

No harm in earning money but yes there is harm in sidelining national team’s call for the sake of money. There is harm in digging cricket’s oldest tradition, Test cricket’s grave for the sake of money and entertainment.

Earn money as much as you can but not by ignoring the country.


  1. Every game has evolved over time. Football has changed over the years. See how the way it was played Test Style old days and now played T20 style.

    Cricket got a bit late but is in this transition state. Tests will be limited to few nations over coming years. Over years Tests will be limited to 6-8 nations, ODI 12-16 Nations and T20 16-20 Nations.

    And the no of Tests will have to fall for it to sustain the quality. I reckon ICC will have to make them too few for them to be special and the nations giving everything on it

  2. Excellent posting you have about banner printing . All matches is more important. By catalog printing and club flyers

  3. I don't completely agree with Jashan83 - I'm not quite as pessimistic - but I think the fundamental point (which he certainly refers to) is about balance. Colm, your article underlines the inescapable fact that the balance isn't right at the moment, and what prospect of continued and sustainable progression for associate nations if there is no road through to the highest form of the game? This is just one consequence of the negative conclusion i.e. that there is simply too much cricket of all forms, and, with the compounding problem that athletes have only a relatively short 'lifetime' at the top of their earning potential, further that overexposure leads to fitness problems. The opposite positive conclusion is that the way forward is simply to expand the 'world' of cricket (most obviously into USA & China), both football and snooker(!) have thrived on this approach. More games, a bigger audience, but significantly, a vastly bigger talent pool.

  4. Sehwag was dropped from the asia cup squad in the name of rest...he performed badly for few months before that