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Seeing through a Twenty20 vision

While shaving sharply, Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street could look at the mirror and slide the razor down in a single clean swoop. Today’s Twenty20 cricketers are somewhat similar to the old demon barber, writes Gaurav Sethi.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2008 23:10 IST

While shaving sharply, Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street could look at the mirror and slide the razor down in a single clean swoop. Today’s Twenty20 cricketers are somewhat similar to the old demon barber. At heart, they are the same: heartless. The T20 batsman will plunder bowlers as if they were wealthy Indian provinces of medieval India. Ironically, a T20 player’s innings is fleeting, almost butterfly-like — and far from pretty. In T20, anything goes.

But isn’t the brand name, T20, very ordinary? Why wasn’t it called ‘Six and Out’? Or ‘Kamikaze’? Or may be ‘Quickie’? But we have to admit that that T20 has a wonderful ring to it — almost like T2, Terminator II, that is. By far, Yuvraj Singh is the world’s premier T20 player, an emotionally charged battery. The last thing the opposition wants to do is get under his collar. But does every player need a little instigation to fire his imagination? Try calling Sachin Tendulkar names and I am sure he’ll go and smash two ODI finals into oblivion.

In a way, T20 cricket has masala, solid Indian spice to it. Cricket came from England, but so did chicken tikka masala. Twenty20 is inspired by the Indian landscape and Bollywood’s tried-and-tested revenge-and-relief theme. And, hell, it works.

Now, if T20 can manage to capture the energy of an edgy Test, then we have a winner on our hands. And though there are just too many nationalities in both the Indian leagues — you’d be mistaken to think it’s the United Nations General Assembly in session — I fervently hope they won’t get too diplomatic on the field. Instead, they must get real. Think WWE. The players must understand that in spite of the critical reviews, hits do happen.