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Want to milk T20? Give it due importance

india Updated: Aug 31, 2011 01:52 IST

India is slated to play one T20 match against England before the five-matches ODI series. I cannot help but doubt the sheer futility of this solitary T20 game. It is against the fundamentals of competition, since it will neither help assert supremacy nor allow the loser to bounce back. The winner of this match cannot, by any means, claim advantage over the loser in this format. Moreover, in today's day and age, you don't engage in a match for the heck of it.

Filling the gaps
Let's look at the other side of the argument too. ICC has put a cap on the maximum number of T20 matches - seven - a country can play in a year, and hence it's impractical to play more than a couple of these games on any given tour.

It's another issue that these T20 matches become a farce when there's nothing to play for, or for the player to feel motivated about.


They work as fillers between the main shows and hence are treated that way too.

Golden goose
On the one hand, the ICC discourages teams from playing the shortest format, and on the other, it goes on to conduct the T20 World Championship every alternate year. Isn't that ironic? The same body that bars you from honing the skills in the shortest format expects you to turn up every two years equipped to lift the trophy.

It's common knowledge that T20 cricket is a golden goose and everyone wants to have his share of profits - nothing wrong with that. But then why not acknowledge the importance of this format and give it due respect? But, this would mean crowding the already crowded calendar, or chucking out one of the three existing formats.

The way ahead, in my opinion, would be to renounce ODIs, since T20 is only a condensed version of a 50-over game. Since Test cricket cannot be compared with any of these shorter formats, it should remain sacrosanct. Therefore, if it means a three-match T20 series and three-match ODI series instead of 5 ODIs and one T20, so be it.

The middle path
There's another option - a bit radical though - the ICC can exercise and that is to keep T20 cricket only for clubs. Let's not include T20 cricket in the International calendar at all. The lure of the money in shorter formats might encourage cricket boards to marginalise Test cricket and that would be a grave mistake.