Embracing minnows a must for globalising cricket
In the last five years, skipper Dhoni has passed quite a few stern tests. He faces one such examination at the World T20. As it happens with most ICC events, the first week of the World T20 hasn’t garnered special attention, and the reason for the indifference is the presence of minnows and the lopsided matches involving them.india Updated: Sep 26, 2012 00:29 IST
In the last five years, skipper Dhoni has passed quite a few stern tests. He faces one such examination at the World T20. As it happens with most ICC events, the first week of the World T20 hasn’t garnered special attention, and the reason for the indifference is the presence of minnows and the lopsided matches involving them.
At the inception, it was believed that T20 would be the perfect vehicle to globalise cricket, since the skill-set in this format didn't involve rigorous technicalities.
But as the format evolved, a few methods and patterns emerged, and as expected the more evolved cricketing nations have stolen a march over their poor cousins. It's no longer considered a 20-over slog-fest. Batsmen have become smarter and good sides rarely get bowled out in 20 overs.
Bowlers have also realised their importance and have found ways to be effective. So, where does it leave the minnows? Should they be alienated further till an even shorter format comes to the fore? Should only the top teams participate in these world events in which every game has some contest and points some value?
While it's perfectly fine to make the 50-over World Cup an elite tournament comprising only the top teams, because of the duration of every game and tournament, there's a strong case to persist with the minnows in the shortest format. Instead of shunning them, the ICC must identify the reasons for their slow progress and address the same. If these teams are going to compete with top sides only once in two years, it will indeed take an eternity for them to become competitive.
As much as it's important to have a vision to make them a part of mainstream cricket, it's equally important to engage them with better sides in the two years between these World T20s.
There's an urgent need to globalise the game, and there could not be a better vehicle than T20 cricket. It's been five years and the gap is already widening, and if the ICC doesn't act soon, we'll miss this golden opportunity of inclusive growth.
The writer is a former India opener