Kass Naidoo

Twenty20 is here to stay

2007-09-07 08:46

Kass Naidoo

There is a perception that supporters of the five-day game are of an elevated class, somehow always better informed and who regularly mourn the shortened forms of the game, which apparently "isn't true cricket".

A cricket-savvy friend asked me the other day whether I acknowledged hierarchies in cricket, where the most talented players are reserved for Test cricket, the average ones dominate ODIs, while the least talented are consigned to Twenty20.

I was surprised by the question but can see why she asked me.

Whatever the case, cricket is about to undergo another major overhaul, and I am keen to see what impact Twenty20 cricket is going to have on the game.

In a week filled with press conferences boasting the world's best exponents of the game, star after star stressed the importance of keeping the fun element in the game while admitting that, with a trophy up for grabs, things are likely to get serious over the next two weeks.

With the introduction of the explosive 20-over game, nothing is impossible!

In a few days time, the world's cricketers will walk out onto South Africa's ovals, knowing that a Sri Lankan league cricketer thrashed 277 off 72 balls in a recent Twenty20 encounter, to help his team to an imposing 366 for three.

Makes 438 seem a little undercooked, doesn't it!

Stick their necks out

Move over Chuck Norris, world cricket is starting to create brand new superheroes, and fans of the game won't be able to resist it. T20 is crazy, but that's the new cool in cricket.

But the first real taste of T20 on September 11 at the Wanderers is nervously anticipated, and with the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship about to turn international cricket upside down, very few people are willing to stick their necks out.

This week I spoke with players from each of the 12 participating teams.

The overwhelming feeling was that T20 is new, and that it's too early to gauge how it will impact international cricket.

But, is it gimmick cricket, or is it being taken seriously?

Well, it depends who you talk to.

Some who have followed the game for decades insist that T20 is not real cricket, and use every opportunity to knock it.

On the other hand, a domestic player who has played in front of empty stands for years, is now thrilled at the opportunity to bring out his skills in front of a roaring 30 000 capacity crowd.

My feeling is that Twenty20 is going to become the most popular form of the game in a few years time, but like ODI cricket, it won't ever be a unanimous choice.

  • Kass Naidoo is a SABC cricket commentator and editor of gsport... for Girls!

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