The IPL Twenty20 is just not cricket

I fucking hate twenty-over cricket. I hate being asked who’s leading the logs, who’s scored the most runs or even, when I’m having a nice late pint in the Scud, what the score is. (The score? You can’t read the score? If you can’t tell, you really shouldn’t bother).

I love cricket, I really do. I’ve been a fan since I was a tiny thing poring over books about Colin Bland in my primary school library. I still remember the thrill I felt in high school reading about Lara’s first-class record in Wisden. To this day, some of my fondest sporting memories are of watching the greats of the game do their shit.

I’m a great fan of Test cricket, which is a bit like a soccer fan saying he loves soccer. Obviously, I have issues with anything that dilutes the purity of the game, and takes any shine off the spectacle that is a five-day cricket match; it is much deeper and offers greater scope for a great innings, a great game and a great series.

I find ODI cricket to be overly formulaic and repetitive, and the usual stroke-nudge-slog nature of a typical innings really grates on my tits. The idea of a β€œgame” that boils down my beloved sport to a 3-hour frenzy is an insult of the worst order.

Look, 20-over cricket has been highly successful since it’s inception in England 5 years ago. It has earned a few quick dollars and made some journeymen cricketers far more money than they could have dreamt of making in their lifetimes. The idea of packaging cricket into a quick slap-bang-dash thing was genius, and appealed to that very special type of spectator, the ad-man’s best friend and administrator’s wet dream.

The lowest common denominator.

Someone without the time to watch a real cricket match, and maybe doesn’t even know the teams or the rules. The guy who’d rather be watching football, but will go along just for the beer. The chick who has no fucking clue but grabs the chance to wear a bikini and short shorts and drink beer and ogle the guys who ogle back with increasingly lewd beer-fuelled advances.

The bored, the over-worked, the stressed, the young, the old, the poor, the rich. All who feel like trading in a couple of hours of their mundane lives for noise and music and dancing, never mind the players trying to make a living out in the middle.

Someone who doesn’t like cricket that much but likes it when they hit the ball out the park. To me it’s like someone who doesn’t appreciate football but likes it when they score? What the fuck, do you see me proposing a penalty-shootout league?

The true cricket fan, the purist, must be truly appalled at the horrendous sight of batsmen trying to hit every ball as hard as they can and as far as possible. The originally stated aim of 20-over cricket was to attract youngsters being lost to football and rugby with the lure of excitement and spectacle and noise and dancing girls.

Who in their right mind wants their cricket-playing kids to watch this shit? Bowlers are relegated to the occasional sideshow, and every batsman is promoted to pinch-hitter extraordinaire. It’s hard and fast, but there’s no nuance, no finesse, hardly any tactics and zero intellect involved. Are we telling youngsters that it’s only the biggest, brawniest with the biggest bats who win matches? Really?

We’d lose all the future Sunil Gavaskars, the tiny Brian Laras and little Andy Flowers of this world and turn them all into Gilchrists and Cullinans and Kluseners and KPs. Natural stroke-play and even pure tactical bowling and field tactics would be relegated to minor nuisances, and our game would die for it.

Like West Indian legend Michael Holding said when refusing to do commentary on Twenty20 cricket for his television employers, “What is the point of telling youngsters to watch the game but not to copy the players’ techniques?”

“There is nothing good about Twenty20 cricket. People who disagree don’t know what they are talking about.”

So don’t ask me about the Chargers or Royals or Indians or whatever team this hodge-podge of stars and legends and journeymen are playing for, mate.

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a fuck.

20 Replies to “The IPL Twenty20 is just not cricket”

  1. Amen to that…

    Quick thing to point out the difference between a 5 day and a limited overs game. A 5 day is a bowlers game, you cannot win if you dont get 20 wickets. Its a draw if one team isnt out twice, its all about getting wickets! The batsman are their primarily to not loose and if its going well in then to try win the game. Its why zim cant win test matches, you need a strong enough bowling line up to get a team out twice in 3 days.

    A limited over and especially 20 – 20 game is won by the team with the most runs, got fuck all to do with wickets (yes i know they slow the run rate blah blah). The bowler is now the one who can loose the game, not win it. Its now a game of batsman.

    My only hope is after a couple of years tactics, rules and bowling styles will be adapted to make more of a sport out of it. Great for a fun afternoon in the sun but as you say just not cricket.

    Here is one idea. Change the ball to be faster and swing / turn more. Then we will see batsman jumping around not just slogging.

  2. Hmmm, interesting. I tried to keep the issue of bowling generally out of my opinion, cos it’s always contentious. Like when you say Test is a bowler’s game, I tend to view that as a 50-50 situation.

    It’s a fair, even contest between bat and field I think, cos you could bowl all you want and get hit for 400. Now what? I think it’s an even game all round, which I guess is why it’s been popular, in generally the same form, for a century and a half.

    Honestly, my hope for 20-over cricket is the ICC recognise how packed the international schedule already is, and remove all traces of international games, including the almost-obligatory tour game. It should be relegated to divisional competitions and even then must be treated as what it really is, a penalty shootout for quick bang and quick buck. No more.

    We can’t be taking this stuff seriously.

  3. I played sort-of-cricket in primary school then learnt how to play cricket in high school. I knew much about the rules and scoring and stuff but Im impressed with the intricacies in your first paragraph (Anon.) and yes, I get terribly lost when they start talking 2nd innings, or light fades, or it starts raining and they start referring to D & L…

    “a penalty-shootout league?” – nice one!
    Imagine someone wakes up one morning and decides footie is a tad bit boring; decides lets make the field smaller, strip out all the boring okes from the teams and have five aside….hmmm… Oops! tried that, wasnt enough billions to get enough interest!

    $$$$$ is what the IPL is all about!
    Not getting some $$ is what made the ICC call it a rebel league and threaten to impale anyone who played – and also why virtually all the players did play, and the ICC looked like twerps. Seriously, who would turn down getting paid, in five IPL weeks, what you would earn in five ICC years – no brainer. TV rights rule, IPL has them, ICC doesnt.

    20-20 will not replace ODI and Tests no more than the IAAF Golden league and their gold bars will replace the Olympics. Very entertaining and SPORT but just not the Olympics.

    20-20 is more entertainment than sport and the IPL is just some bizarre neon-coloured bollywood cricket musical on steroids. What self-respecting sporting event starts with a street carnival complete with a Russian Circus and live rock bands???

  4. “What self-respecting sporting event starts with a street carnival complete with a Russian Circus and live rock bands?”

    Ehm, let’s see – the football World Cup maybe?

  5. you’re old. admit it.

    purist – the only thing that you might know about purity is the Reinheitsgebot – google it.

    I am very “off” cricket right now and it has nothing to do with the bright pyjamas

  6. @BD – just googled rheitenwhat-what…;

    So, would this law have applied to Scud? πŸ™‚

    @JB – methinks people are starting to get tired of all the bolly cricket stuff; heard a Radio DJ this morning (after the sports report about the decan-something and Chennai what-what…) saying, “..cant they just get to the finals already…”
    The novelty seems to be wearing off and those colours will make you dizzy after 10 minutes…

  7. Oh the purity law, you surprised that I knew OF it, maybe not precisely?

    That cricket shit should just end, and so too the Super 14. With all its attendant angst and hair-pulling and shame.

    At least we have Liverpool.

  8. Ah mfowethu! Im not with u on the Super 14…they just need to remove the Lions, Cheetahs, Reds and the Force to keep it tight.
    Was watching the English league over the weekend – not too shabby either!

  9. Durban’s got the Sharks – a winning team, a huge stadium and more importantly one u can drink cheap heineken draught with your shirt off in the sun!

    Then you get the Stormers – brilliant players but lousy team, tiny cramped stadium, that u cant drink from the stands and cold and wet weather to round it off…

    Stormers suck… Luke Watson Rocks!

  10. Twenty20 is shit.

    I fucking hate India – so bloody arrogant and think they run cricket, but they don’t cause we own the fucking game!!

    And their players are twats, esp. Harbaijan Singh – A1 cock.

    They don’t appreciate what cricket is – the gentleman’s game that is a true examination of one’s all-round ability – & you do not get that in Twenty20.

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