On Friday evening at the Wanderers, for three hours or so, India will get to play a version of the game that few in the country know about and importantly, care about.
Twenty20 was born in England to stem the waning interest in a game done in by a team in the midst of a never-ending lean patch and viewers fed on a staple diet of football and therefore, with a shortened attention span. It was the perfect made-for-TV marriage of sport and entertainment, music, contests around etc.
That a Twenty20 World Cup will be played next September here only shows how much commercial power can buy — once it was discovered that this bastardised version of one-day cricket was a money-spinner with the Me-Too generation, it has moved from being a pariah to a novel concept.
Anyway, India have never played an official Twenty20 international before and this game against the Proteas should be interesting.
The basic rationale is to whack the ball as fast and far as possible or keep the batsmen under control as much as possible — something similar to one-day cricket with more slogging. The hapless bowlers will probably have to bowl a flattish trajectory, to be more restrictive and really, there’s nothing much they can do.
The only thing is, whether this batsmen-dependent version is really the right thing for India to be playing at a time when their batting has comprehensively collapsed is open to debate. They have no choice, but then again, maybe it will give them a much-needed break.