Ram Slam T20 cricket month takes cricket to a whole new level

2014-11-07 00:00

NOVEMBER is Ram Slam T20 cricket month, the competition brought forward in the calendar this time round.

Usually played as the last competition of the domestic season, bringing it forward will enable the Protea players from the franchises to enter the fray at the business end of proceedings.

This will be in the fight for a top three placing on the log, enabling teams finishing second and third to have a play-off match to determine who meets the side finishing top of the log in the final.

It is a mouth-watering prospect and from the few matches already played, this looks set to be a domestic T20 competition to savour.

Youngsters are already getting a chance to showcase their capabilities and having an overseas professional playing for every franchise should encourage more bums on seats in the weeks ahead.

People attending the matches is what is needed and Cricket South Africa’s initiative of starting the competition with a triple-header, where three matches are played at one venue on one day, allowing all six franchises to entertain, is a masterstroke.

It was started last year at Newlands and such was its popularity that this time around, triple-header days were awarded to three franchises. The Wanderers (Lions) hosted last Sunday, Kingsmead gets their moment on November 16 and Bloemfontein’s bash in on November 30.

Next season, Newlands, St George’s Park and Centurion will have their opportunity and so the cycle will continue.

Being on a Sunday, it’s great value for money to get a ticket for the whole day and catch three matches, something unique on the world cricketing calendar.

Even the overseas players were impressed with the idea, saying it was the first time they had been involved in a competition when three matches were played on a single day.

Two has been done on numerous occasions, but three takes T20 cricket to a new level.

While the Wanderers was by no means packed to capacity, there was enough colour and characters to indicate some interest from the cricketing public. It was an ideal day out for families and particularly children, who lapped up the experience of seeing their heroes in action and getting their autographs.

The cricket too was worth plenty of attention and the one-hand catch competition, courtesy of the sponsors, saw spectators play their part and add to the festivities.

Being the game it is, cricket does steal precious time, hence the initiative of having a triple-header on a Sunday.

It allows people time to enjoy an outing and youngsters can be carefree for a few hours before thinking of school the next day.

Games played during the week do pose a problem in this regard when it comes to children and school, hence the poor attendance figures, but there should be no excuses for the Sunday festivals.

Another point to consider is the scheduling of the matches. The first game starts at 10 am when the crowd is still drifting in, while the late game at 6 pm, played by the hosts, sees people, especially those with children, drifting home to avoid a late night.

The middle match, starting at 2 pm, should be played by the host franchise.

The weather is generally good, people have enjoyed lunch and its the ideal time to kick back, relax and take in the game without time being an issue.

And there’s also no fear of the lights playing up.

This is just a suggestion that could be looked at for the future, but lets for once give a round of applause to CSA for trying to make T20 domestic cricket “user friendly” as such with the triple header concept.

It’s up to us to appreciate the purpose behind it and get off our backsides to support the cause.

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