First there were Tests and now the one-dayers
The latest edition to the plethora of matches, and now even the formats, is the Champions League and, judging by the opening day's response of the crowd, this event too could turn out to be a hit, writes Pradeep Magazine.india Updated: Oct 10, 2009 01:42 IST
The already satiated fans may be groaning under the weight of too much cricket, but there obviously are many whose appetite seems to grow with each passing tournament.
The latest edition to the plethora of matches, and now even the formats, is the Champions League and, judging by the opening day's response of the crowd, this event too could turn out to be a hit.
Conceptually, the Champions League is a path-breaking event, and post IPL, has all the ingredients of becoming cricket's first truly global event, where club/state and loyalty to the players transcend national identities.
Despite cricket's limited pool of players, unlike in football, there seems little doubt that the T-20 format is going to subsume all other forms of the game. The danger can come only from the greedy administrators, who could, with an overdose, dull the senses of those who at the moment are intoxicated with this new “wonder drug.”
Whether in the long run, this drug itself may end up in “provoking the desire but taking away the performance” is too early to judge.
Suffice to say that as long as the crowds show interest and the TRP ratings show a growth, business houses will pour in the moolah to make it the most visible sporting event in the cricketing world.
Where does this leave the two other formats of the game?
First the debate raged on the viability of Test cricket, which has so far managed to survive, despite serious threat from one-dayers.
Now, the focus has shifted from Tests to the survival of one-day cricket itself. If one goes by the debates taking place in the media, it almost appears as if the world does not want to watch anything other than 20-20 games. Test cricket is redundant and now, so are the one-dayers.
Now that the Champions Trophy, never a great hit even in the best of times, has been termed a success, and its utility as a game of skills endorsed by the players, the debate may have lost its steam.
What is interesting to note is that the players and many fans find the 50-over game conducive to display of subtle skills, be it in batting or bowling, something for which it was condemned when it originated in the 60's.
The arguments given in favour of one-dayers are almost similar in tone and tenor to those used by purists to defend Test cricket.
That it is longer, gives time to the players to recoup, display a wide range of skills and allows bowlers a fair chance to entrap and even attack the batsmen.
The players and those who fear for the demise of the longer version of the game are almost pleading for one-day cricket's survival. In this defence of one-day cricket, is there an admission that “we know Tests will be squeezed out of the cricketing calendar, but please don't take away even the one-dayers.” Are we then reaching a stage where one-day cricket will increasingly be touted as a test of true skills of a cricketer and T-20 as a form of entertainment which will rake in money for the players and the administrators?
To cut a long argument short, one-dayers could well become Test cricket of the modern era, the cut-off point being the advent of T-20. Any takers?