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Exciting times - but dangerous too

Jonathan Agnew | 13:22 UK time, Monday, 28 April 2008

It's amazing how fast the already frenetic world of Twenty20 is moving at the moment.

New proposals of exciting and staggeringly rich new tournaments are being mooted, while, in India, the Indian Premier League continues its impressive debut.

I have been in Chennai to witness the event for myself, and this visit culminated in the match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians which was won, for the record, by Chennai.

It was an entertaining evening with the cricket played in overwhelming heat and humidity, and the crowd enjoyed it in much the same way as every crowd I have seen enjoys a Twenty20 game.

The only difference for me was the knowledge that some players on view were earning sums of money that previous generations of cricketers could only dream of - and the fact there were no Englishmen to be seen.

Chennai Super Kings cricketers Jacob Oram, Stephen Fleming and Michael Hussey

Shaun Pollock asked me where they were and Muttiah Muralitharan joked they should be part of the tournament.

I left Chennai with two clear conclusions. One: that the IPL is here to stay and this is not a bad thing by any means, and it needs to be embraced in a radically restructured international programme.

Which leads me to my second conclusion - Twenty20 cricket is entertaining, but shallow.

It commands nothing like the depth or enduring interest of Test cricket and, one day, will run its course in which case we will have a Ten10, and then a Five5.

The point being that Test cricket has to be nurtured and protected, and Twenty20 can sit along side it, but in its proper place and, crucially, without over exposure.

Meanwhile, the 50-over game has to go. It is now dull and predictable, and although that creates a headache for the ICC as far as the World Cup is concerned, it has had its day.

So what about the offers by Sir Allen Stanford, the mega rich Texan, who fancies bankrolling, among other things, a franchised Twenty20 in this country?

The idea of City-based teams fills me with dread and I really can't see that generating the necessary interest.

Any tournament here has to involve the long-established counties who might have to play a qualifying round in order to thin down the numbers a bit - perhaps the first division of the new domestic T20 might be the way to go.

I also hate the notion of an 'All Star's XI'. Those teams are merely benefit XIs with no real unity or purpose, and would surely devalue any tournament.

These are exciting times, but potentially dangerous too, and the administrators must show responsibility for the game as they rush to cash in its sudden popularity.

* Agnew's IPL experience will be shown on Inside Sport, BBC One, 5 May at 2250 BST.


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  • Comment number 1.

    My "problem" with a similar Twenty20 competition in an English context is the English sportsfans' innate desire to buy into the team they support.

    Some of the disquiet over foreign players in the Premiership is from long-standing fans who want to see their beloved team developing their own, local talent rather than simply buying in the best from around the world, as entertaining as they may be.

    Football gets away with it precisely because it is the biggest sport in the country, and so many are excited by the prospect of watching the best players week in, week out. And the Premiership is often considered to be the best league in the world.

    Twenty20 doesn't have those fundamental advantages, and any sense that what you have is a "star" driven circus that plays in India, then England, then South Africa etc. is surely doomed for lack of long-term "buy-in" for the fans.

    Once the novelty has worn off, what then?

    Don't get me wrong, I love Twenty20 ... it is, after all, the only form of the game I have actually played, but it is Test Cricket's poor relation in terms of how the sport of cricket works, the tactics, the team ethic and so on.

    The IPL should work brilliantly in India, where there has never been the long-standing affiliation with your "home" team (as opposed to national team). However, I cannot see anything like it working in England, with or without the counties ... not in the long term, anyway.

  • Comment number 2.

    If Test Cricket is the better game, why does it need protecting?

    The days of playing for five days and ending in a draw has to be put in it's place. Test cricket is a pastime for people with time, at least Twenty20 is an exciting sport which can be enjoyed by all the family.

    Cricket has to move with the times, would I take my six year old son to watch one day of Test Cricket, or do you think he would prefer a Twenty20 game?

  • Comment number 3.

    One more quick thought....

    Could this be a rugby union versus rugby league scenario ?

    Or a case of different seasons for each variation....

  • Comment number 4.

    Aggers is as usual spot on.

    I don't mind 20/20 but I do fear for the future of tests the form of the game that made me fall in love with cricket in the first place.

    A 20/20 game is exciting but ultimately doesn't hold the interest or live in the memory the same way a test series does.

    Look at the 2005 ashes I remember where I was during every single ball of every single match of that series and it was the backdrop to one of the best summers of my life.

    A test match is a real event and something to savour. 20/20 while having more immediacy doesn't hold the same depth of intrigue that a test does.

    Test cricket must be protected and held up as the the true form of the game.

    If it's not then cricket runs the risk of becoming yet another garish americanised franchise.

  • Comment number 5.

    A good essay Mr. Agnew. However, I note your aversion to the city. If the city-based teams were based in, say, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, Southampton, Cardif, and, even, Leicester, would that not be the same as we have already?

  • Comment number 6.

    "Becoming yet another garish americanised franchise"

    As an American I am curious to know what examples of garish americanised franchises you could provide? Certainly, things are done differently here in the U.S. (not better, just different) in some respects, but we're not all that different.

    One of things I love about test cricket, and even one day to an extent, is the idea that an individual can build an innings. This does not seem possible in 20/20 cricket. I also think it is remarkable how the control of a test match can change dramatically from one session to the next or one day to the next.
    Mr. Agnew is right in thinking that Test cricket needs to be protected because, as it has been pointed out, 20/20 is not a memorable game and if the cricket focus shifts to 20/20, then cricket may be forgotten as well.
    As an object lesson, the powers that be in cricket need only look to volleyball. Some years ago the FIVB looked for ways to change the game so that it could be more marketable for TV. In doing so they altered some of the key elements of the game - most importantly scoring - yet there is no more volleyball on TV today then 10 years ago.

  • Comment number 7.

    20/20 may well be a briefly exciting money spinner but it is meaningless forgettable pap. It's a Big Mac compared to the 4 course Michelin star experience known as Tesy Cricket. Enjoyed by some but formulaic and lacking subtlety.

    I genuinely fear for the future of cricket if the money men are allowed to highjack our game to provide instant gratification and a quick fix of sport for the masses.

  • Comment number 8.

    2. At 2:31 pm on 28 Apr 2008, sevans29 wrote:
    If Test Cricket is the better game, why does it need protecting?...
    ...Test cricket is a pastime for people with time, at least Twenty20 is an exciting sport which can be enjoyed by all the family...

    Test cricket is exciting too, just because you don't like the more subtle tactical tones of test cricket doesn't make the game any less exciting. Frankly I find Twenty20 to be the more boring game in some ways. There is no longer the long development of personal battles between Bowler and Batsman, who is going to win that important psychological edge, who is going to out-think the other. Anyone who watched M. Atherton battling away will know what I mean. In 20/20 it is much more hit and miss with a good innings containing some big hits. How much is down the skill and thought rather than the limited time scale forcing players to play "bad cricket?" Cricket is played as much in the players minds as it is with willow and leather. If you take away the mental factor then you lose a huge part of the game.

    You note 5 day games ending in a draw as being boring, but the Ashes in 2005 were fantastic. Also aiming to draw is a fair tactic. 5 days really is enough to break a deadlock between two teams and it shows real determination by batsmen to cling on for so long to claim a draw. Seeing out the final 10 overs of the day with your 10 and 11 in bat is exciting.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think you're largely right Aggers. In fact I said something very similar on 606 the other day - ODIs to go and tests to stay.

    My main concern is - is there enough demand for tests? English test cricket is usually played to full houses and my own personal opinion is there's nothing like test cricket - it's basically chess played over 4(ish) acres of grass. A good test match can "envelop" you like for 5 days like no other sport.

    In other countries though - the story is vastly different. The majority of Kiwi specators were ex-pats in the recent test series and in most cases in Asia the big crowds come for limited overs. If, as you say, the ICC does bin the whole ODI charade then it's to be hoped there is room for tests and T20 - but I'm not so sure.

    I see the spectre of T20 actually crowding tests out of the game and T20 will be in direct competition with baseball. Don't get me wrong - I've found ODIs boring for several years as so very few have been played on anything like fair (to bowler and batsmen alike) wickets.

    To my mind the ICC are a woefully incompetent organisation on many levels and would you bet against them messing this up like they have throwing, world cup organisation, front foot no-balls or player behaviour? I wouldn't.

  • Comment number 10.

    Twenty20 here to stay? Definitely. There are two aspects to this that a 'true' cricket lover could easily miss. Firstly this game appeals to people who want a night of fun, not cricket fans; there are a lot more of them than of us. Secondly all the big money in cricket comes from India, the home of these two new leagues. We are going to have to get used to the pace being set in the subcontinent and by the demands of entertainment.

    Protecting Test cricket is easy to suggest but hard to do. It's here that I'm afraid Jonathan's comments don't make sense. We should destroy the county structure, not protect it. To preserve Test cricket we need a good England team. That needs fewer first class clubs with as many qualified English players (and, ergo, as few foreign players) as is legal. The competition needs to be much more intense and our current complacent county set up is the antithesis of intensity.

    Finally all the other (non-Twenty20) limited over competitions have to go.

  • Comment number 11.

    Re comment 4. Where exactly were you when the 4th ball of the 11th over of the 4th day of the 3rd Test was bowled? Only joking......

    Back to the point, couldn't agree more that 50 over cricket has to go, the purists have never really liked it and the casual followers will now gravitate towards Twenty20. This will free up the necessary time for the proliferation of Twenty20 - its here and we have to accept it.

  • Comment number 12.

    Test match cricket will always the main format of cricket because of its long running and tradition. However one needs to remember that these games are usually played during weekdays; when most people are at work. Therefore cricket cannot generate the fanbase it deserves or equivalent to other leading sports.

    Although the 50 over game is generally played during weekends. It lacks the excitement and entertainment that the audience craves. Thats sole reason why people go to live sports events is to be entertained. If they are not entertained why should they turn up? If the ECB want to sustain the future of English cricket then embracing a Twenty20 tournament or league instead of the 50 overs is the path they should choose.

    Twenty20 is fast and furious. A far cry from the traditional test cricket, which is built on foundations of patience and tactics. Additionally the pace of the match generates the excitement and entertainment that spectators are looking for. Bring fans old and new back to the grounds is the only way to sustain the future of cricket. One only needs to look at the attendance records to reveal the popularity of Twenty20 amongst cricket lovers. Therefore Twenty20 beholds crickets sustainability and future.

    Yes Twenty20 lacks the technical skill the Test format and brings shots that would be more at home at the Yankee Stadium rather the County Ground. But who is not excited about the ball being smashed into the river Tone over the Ian Botham Stand?

    Though to really intensify the impact of Twenty20 has on English cricket is to bring in the best players. Although this does not mean there should be a mass influx of foreign 'superstars'; as in football. The ECB would need to put a cap on oversee players like they currently do for the county championships. Also there needs to a balance of established talent and upcoming talent. The match XI should consist of: only 3 or 4 oversee players; 8 players over 24; and 3 rookie under 23 players. This way will control the amount of oversee players. Protect the international squad current status by providing central contract players much needed time in the middle. Also it will protect the future of English cricket by allowing the young 'hot prospects' time to gain experience of playing meaningful competitive cricket.

    Though I do not understand why teams to should compete as districts or cities. Why cant teams compete in the tournament in the existing county format? Fans have already drawn alliances with their home or certain counties. Why do they have to forced in making new alliances with new teams? Can you imagine Manchester City FC and Utd FC or Sunderland FC and Newcastle U FC merging and asking their fans to unite? I can not. If fans are made to support new specially founded district or city teams it will decrease the value and impact of the Twenty20 competition. This is because the love, attachment and devotion supporting your county brings will never be as strong. This could result in less people attending the spectacle. So the competition should follow county championship format.

    In conclusion Test cricket is here to stay as the mother format of cricket and should be protected. Though Twenty20 should be embraced to sustain and safeguard the future of cricket by generating a fanbase. But there should be player restricts based on the nationality and age to protect the current and future status of the England national teams. Also the 50 over should be scrapped and replaced by a county Twenty20 'Super league'.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm not going to make the tired "it's just not cricket" point about Twenty20, but I do think both longer forms of the game (ODIs and Tests) should be protected, particularly because T20 hasn't produced a specialized form of BOWLING, unlike the other two formats.

    T20 rewards a particular batting style (not pretty, but 'specialized' at least) but it doesn't reward good bowling. There's no such thing as an objectively "good ball" in T20 - it either gets hit out of the park, or the batsman makes a mistake.

    ODIs reward tight lines, economical bowling, pressure on batsmen. Tests reward working a batsman out, shaping the ball in then away, luring strokes to set fields, taking risks to 'buy' a wicket etc.

    When I watch T20, I'm not interested in the bowling. As a result, I miss out on 50% of cricket and the experience is SHALLOWER. Protect both longer formats for the sake of being entertained for several summers by an ALL-ROUND spectacle.

  • Comment number 14.

    Surely it is the very difference bettween T20 and Test cricket that makes T20 exciting. If test matches were full of sixes and mad runs T20 wouldn't be half as interesting.

    I personally hope they can coexist beneficially. Although it was an exception, no t20 game will ever match up to the drama of the various test matches during the 2005 Ashes series and that series overall.

    Also I see no reason why the ECB T20 can't have more overseas stars so long as there is a bedrock of homegrown pleyers (like the IPL has done).

  • Comment number 15.

    I like 20/20, it helped get me into cricket and my fathe rinto cricket. A summers Friday evening at The County ground for a match sv Somerset, blazing sunshine, great fun really. Especially when you see great innings like 80 odd of 40 odd balls.

    Test cricket though is intriguing, but a city based teams idea could work, you only have to see how successful football is.Test cricket should be protected though, but 4 day County cricket? Attendances are poor for it, but it is the breeding ground for Test cricket but it is hard to say.

  • Comment number 16.

    Aggers says 'It (Twenty20) commands nothing like the depth or enduring interest of test cricket....' But I ask enduring to whom? So many Test Matches are played these days to near empty stadiums and it's obvious that test Cricket has to turn this 'enduring interest' into bums on seats to survive. Otherwise it will be preserved in a museum - perhaps where it belongs in the 21st century!

  • Comment number 17.

    Aggers as usual talks a lot of sense, Twenty20 is shallow, but on the topic of the status of the English counties, I feel it must be discussed further.

    I'd like to know why Aggers "dreads" it. Is it because counties like Leicestershire might go to the wall? We all love to wallow in nostalgia, but we have to move on. No one watches 4-day county cricket as it presently stands, it has to be reformed as a bed for test cricketers, as matches are played for little benefit and there are far too many journeymen players. There is enough talent to be nurtured from around nine or ten counties as it stands.

    There is too much mediocre cricket played in England.

    I think the ECB are going to have show the counties an "adapt or die" attitude, and in Giles Clarke, they may well have the man brave enough to do so.

  • Comment number 18.

    Aggers, is there any reason why an IPL-style tournament cannot co-exist with the current County Championship?

    For example, a Twenty20 league could exist if the current Twenty20 competition was done away with, and if there could still be some regional integrity. After all, it's been touted that a Stanford plan may see as little as 4-6 'teams' involved.

    Secondly, while we concern ourselves with the impact of Twenty20 in the domestic season, I have yet to see a single reason advocating quite why the Pro40 continues to dawdle along in the second half of the summer schedule. What purpose does it serve, because where else in the world is 40-over cricket relevant?

    Alas with regards to Test Cricket, the only way it's survival can be mapped is by TV revenue. There is still an appetite in England for it, but what if Sky decide they won't pay up for it anymore?

  • Comment number 19.

    1. 4 day County Cricket in the UK is already on it's last legs, and needs to be dramatically overhauled.
    2. 50 over 1 day cricket needs to be killed.

    Less Cricket - better Cricket.

    English cricket is reformed into 2 divisions running in parallel, maybe based on geography (north/south)
    In each division the winners / runners up progress to have a KO tournament.
    Only two county tournaments:
    Four day during weekdays.
    20-20 on the weekends.

    Foreign player rules are overhauled so that the each team can have up to five non UK players in their squads. This will have the effect of increasing the standard of young players coming through (note the often mentioned Zola effect at chelsea.)

  • Comment number 20.

    Post 2 Sevans29: Test cricket must be preserved not for utilitarian reasons, but for the same reasons that good opera and literature must be. It is one of those things that must transcend the laws of demand and supply and demonstrate to humanity that the things that are truly memorable are the ones that are capable of lingering, not the ones that provide us with instant gratification. Cheerleaders and Bollywood don't belong in cricket, and if Americans want to take it up, they should respect its traditions.
    Businessmen like Sanford and Modi should be kept as far away from cricket as possible.

  • Comment number 21.

    I disagree with those that say that the 50 over game is dying. That isn't to say that its fine as it is. I think what has to happen personally is that the ICC and the various national boards have to come up with some sort of rational calender that allows all forms of the game to flourish. I would agree that in England the franchise form a la the IPL isn'tgoing to work. The counties are too established and contracts etc all will take too much working out. In England what needs to happen is one of the one day competitions needs to be got rid of. Personally I would suggest a twenty 20 competition that lasts all season and go back to a knockout for the 50 over competition, or at least a format similar to the old B and H Cup, and have all 3 competitions (including the County Championship) reaching a crescendo at the end of the season. Aggers is correct in that the 20 over game is very shallow. But its great as an introduction to the game. Overall I would suggest that all forms of the game should be preserved as pure as possible, ie with as few restrictions as possible on field settings etc.

  • Comment number 22.

    1. The county vs. city issue is a tricky one. Certain counties have really resonant histories like Yorks, Lancs and Somerset for me, while I as a Londoner, can never figure out who I'm meant to support out of Middlesex or Surrey. Surrey makes me think of posh people, and Middlesex makes me think of a hospital that's just been closed. I would definitely support a South London team, and do so with great pride.

    2. I also strongly disagree with the view that comes from a lot of English people about Twenty20, about it being "inferior" etc, somehow all sounds so terribly snobby.
    The idea that Tests are tactically more complex I think is slightly odd, or that you have to be abetter player toplay them doesn't quite tally with reality for me. You can see from the IPL that the great players are still great in Twenty20. You could argue that the players who are strong in tests who've failed, such as Dravid etc., have done so because they're technically less proficient.
    Cricket's a game of bat and ball, that's all it is. Just because you stretch out this battle over several days, it also becomes about concentration and patience. There can be more shifts and so on. But there will certainly be more shifts in a three hours of Twenty20 than there are in three hours of Test cricket, and the tactics have to change more frequently as a result.
    By allowing the game to go on for so many days - which is clearly totally unnatural for homo sapiens - as we normally have important things to do - it allows for some exceptionally defensive play - almost the opposite of sport to my mind - which is what puts so many people off in the UK and around the world.
    The battles in Twenty20 are just as much in the mind as in Test cricket - look at Bangalore's collapse today against Chennai, that was in the mind. Look at Dale Steyn's exceptionally fast accurate bowling forcing Hayden to take the attack to Zaheer Kahn, and then being undone. Then look at Dhoni later in the innings knowing that if he didn't take on Steyn, they would not be able to set a target, going for it successflly, and Steyn losing his rhythm. It's the same battles between batsman and bowler, it's the same sport.
    Bring on Twenty20. I want bowlers who try to hit the stumps or deceive the batsman into a false move every ball. I want fielders to run, dive and jump, and every ball to count. And I want the batsman to hit the ball as hard as he can into space. That is cricket, and that's what Twenty20 gives. Just because it's not a marathon doesn't make it any less a game.
    I loved the Ashes 2005, and I'll never forget them. But this level of competition has only happened once in my twenty years watching the game. Yet we get it every year in the Premiership.
    I want enough money in the game that we see the best athletes playing their hardest every ball of every game. I don't want to see the same players playing each other 15 times a season over 40 days. I want to anticipate the big match. I suggest Twenty20 matches every Saturday and Sunday, and play 4-day matches in the week.
    And I think I speak for the majority - the cricket establishment should take note, and stop whining about the ole days. All it is, is change, and test cricket will survive - because in fact it is very popular in England, Oz and quite a few places. Twenty20 will bring new fans to the long-form game, maybe even new countries, and the quality of play will get better. This big rethink will only do the game good.

  • Comment number 23.

    tomthetortoise, I disagree with your comment about bowling in T20. A maiden over in T20 is far more valuable than in any other variant of the game, and I've seen some brilliant bowling in the IPL - Shaun Pollock anyone?

  • Comment number 24.

    While I agree that 50 over games are overly predictable and dull if they are done away with what wither be to ensure that cricketers of future generations will be able to make that transition from say fro example T20 cowboys slogging their way to glory into complete batsmen who can build meaningful match changing innings over an extended period of time and turn the result of a match irrespective of the situation? Indeed even in 50 over cricket some patience can go a long way and while it is not Tst cricket it does require more intelligence and endurance on the part of the players than T20s.
    True T20 is exciting but it should not become so central to cricket that it sidelines more skill intensive formats.

  • Comment number 25.

    I was going to come on and comment how they shoudl scrap 5 day games. But then I remembered how in the summer i prefer nothing more to sticking ona a game and strolling in very now and then to watch a few overs. Bliss.

  • Comment number 26.

    20/20 is very exciting, but for those who may not understand or have the feel for the game which you learn from a young age. Watching test cricket is the ultimate for all cricket lovers, for those who have played at whatever level. I remember watching all five days at newlands in 1967, aged 12, south africa v australia, greame pollock made 209, bob simpson 153, australia won but who would want to miss one of the greatest test innings ever, 209 out of 353 and he was injured as well so he struck 30 boundaries. 20/20 is for the cricket/football supporters or those who want good time/quick result and don't understand the great game. long live test cricket

  • Comment number 27.

    Bring on the gladiators and the lions. That will complete the spectacle.

  • Comment number 28.

    Like everything else in these days of instant shallow gratification, Twenty20 is the dumbing down of the true game of cricket.
    It's the new "opium of the masses" or "chewing gum for the mind".
    Sadly, the big money boys who increasingly run things these days will ensure it eventually kills of the real game, i.e. Test Cricket (and probably County Matches too).

  • Comment number 29.

    Sevans29. So you wouldn't take your six-year-old son to watch one day of a test? Well, isn't that a wonderful criterion for judging the quality of a sporting event, or indeed any event!

  • Comment number 30.

    I think that T20 is wrong, By that i mean that it should have been T30 because in this format players would have a bit more time to build innings and it could be completed in a reasonable time frame therefore allowing the public to watch in one session, I also think that Test Cricket should be reduced to 3 days, I.E Friday, Sat and Sunday, I mean if you cant get a result in 270 OVERS then there really is no point!

  • Comment number 31.

    The major fault with 2o twenty cricket is that it is not an even contest between bat and ball. The game is stacked in the batsmens favour hardly giving the bowlers a chance.

    the harsh legside/offside wides and free hits etc are designed so that bowler can only bowl in a certain area of the pitch, preferably where a batsman can smack it! If it were an even contest then the batsmen should be penalised a run for not hitting it such are the lines the bowlers are forced to bowl!

    Sevans29 makes the point that he would rather take his family to a twenty20 game than a test match. As valid a point as that is the point has to be made that twenty20 games can be a sham with sides bowled out for 70 of 8 overs, no fun at all. Test match cricket may be slower but is a far more absorbing spectacle that shows off a batsmen and bowlers strengths rather than exploiting their handicaps.

    Twenty20 cricket has its place but please don't let it be to the detriment of the true beautiful game that is test match cricket

  • Comment number 32.

    Post 22: "I loved the Ashes 2005, and I'll never forget them. But this level of competition has only happened once in my twenty years watching the game. Yet we get it every year in the Premiership."

    how about windies v aus series in the late 90's?

    india v aus in india at the turn of the century?

    that incredible ODI tournament between Aus, NZ and SA (2003 i think, admittedly this is a 50 over example)

    england in SL, india and pakistan in recent years - attritional, battling test cricket, but not without its twists and turns.

    the Eng v SA series in 98 also provided great drama

    and i'm sure there are plenty more.

    and i'm not sure what you mean by "every year we get it in the prem", most of the time the championship is decided way before the last day of the season.

  • Comment number 33.

    A fair comment sir.

    I should like to know why all the cricket playing nations shall have to accommodate the IPL? OK, the simple answer is that all the top flight players shall be clambering over each other to gain a slice of the money on offer and there shall be nobody left to play for their country.

    Needless to say, the ECB are looking into a similar style of tournament with the financial assistance of Mr Standford's money. Should the 'EPL' start up then we cold have all the top flight players jumping on a plane after the last ball has been bowled in the IPL to start a similar tournament here.

    This could then mean that about a week after the IPL has finished that another six to eight weeks would be blocked off to accommodate the 'EPL'. So we would in fact have a period of say ten or twelve weeks when all to flight players would be unavailable due to commitments to the IPL and English equivalent.

    Further o that, I am sure that the Australians will not idly sit by and no doubt we could see the emergence of the 'APL'. This would also require a six to eight week period where top flight players would be unavailable.

    So there we go. All the top flight players will be out of action for, lets say, 24 weeks in the year. Do you not find this worrying? I realise that I am being very speculative but what does it imply for international and domestic cricket if there are no top flight player available for half of the year?

    What are the implications of the scenario that I have described here? Could it be that the international calendar is reduced? Will teams in various domestic leagues have to enlarge their squads to accommodate for key players simply being unavailable?

    And finally, I cannot help but feel that the whole structure of the simplistic version of the game could be supported and fed by the more complex and challenging version.

  • Comment number 34.

    Twenty20 is a radically different game to the other forms of cricket. It is rubbish for bowlers and is just a slog fest for batsmen. How can players say they really enjoy it, when for the most part they get to play for a few minutes and score a few runs or bashed for 10 an over?

    I feel it would be more skillful if wickets were taken into account - how about the average score over the 20 overs. That would mean that teams could employ a range of tactics and slogging would have to be tempered.

    Ok, so 20/20 has a wide appeal, but will it last? Cricket is a wonderful game because of all the psychological elements, skills, tactics and atmosphere, to reduce it to a cartoon is to negate its essence.

    Why don't people suggest the same with football? If as a neutral you watch a 90min game, most are pretty boring. Why not have a 20 min game, or change the size of the nets, or just have penalty shoot outs?

    Twenty20 is a bit like asking your greatest writers to stop wasting their time producing when then could be writing for comics, cos kids read comics don't they.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ sevans29... Don't have a clue to which one your son would rather go and watch as I have never met him.

    I have been watching the IPL and the standard of cricket is very good and as entertainment it ranks right up there. But as Aggers has said it is shallow.

    Last night Chennai were playing and Mr Hayden was bowled, after trying to smash the leather off the ball. It wasn't till I saw the replay of the previous ball that it looked to me that Mr Hayden didn't want to bat that evening.

    I am all for 20 / 20 but it is a bit tacky when not done well such as these franchises I also think it has a limited shelf life.

  • Comment number 36.

    Can I ask why an IPL equivalent in this country would be good for the English game.
    This is a competition where you are allowed to field FOUR overseas players.

    By reducing the number of teams to 6 or 8 and then allowing 4 overseas players you are reducing the prospective pool of English players to only 50 or 60.

    At present there are18 counties with ONE Overseas player, (ok, there a a number of Kolpak players around as well, but generally average no more than 2 a team). SO that means that about 7 or 8 out of every team is eligible to play for england, thats more than 120 players. Now you tell me which one of those is better for the English game!

    I would hate the thought of dismantling the county set up in favour of cities. Who are those supoprters of counties who don't have cities included support (eg Gloucetershire, Sussex, Essex, Kent, Derbyshire etc)

    If you change the system to remove the counties, you may attract a new set of supporters, but you risk alienating the thousands of supporters yuo already have!

  • Comment number 37.

    Though i am not a big fan of 20/20, i think it is because we r still not nsync with the format - still trying to compare it with one-day and test. I beg to differ on the fact that Test cricket is better by miles - for me, it involves different set of interesting battles, tactics etc... that makes it also interesting sometimes.
    Everyone seems to give Ashes 2005 as the example that it is better. We all know that for every Ashes 2005 there is going to be 100 other tests that are boring
    - isnt it weird that after so many years of test cricket, we can only come up with a handful of series that makes test cricket interesting - it is going to be the same with every sport and hence 20/20 - there is going to be this odd match/tournament that will capture our imagination while rest will die away.
    I do agree though that 50-over needs to redefine its identity if it is going to survive, now that 20-20 has taken its place of entertaining cricket.

  • Comment number 38.

    If County Cricket was run as a proper business many sides would no longer exist as they survive on the ££ from Tests and TV. Football is no different. The lower division clubs struggle when in reality they should be shot and put out of their misery. Other sports are not in a too dissimilar position and how Rugby dealt with the recent Manager recruitment is just plain laughable for a multi million £, so called business. Let's face it, many sports CEO's arent really capable business people and do it for the kudos.

    Face the facts. There are other competing leisure activities available to the paying public now and the traditional fan base profile is changing both in terms of age and sex etc as well as how they want to be entertained. Satellite TV has seen to that!

    All sports need a radical overhaul and CEO's need to examine their businesses in 'realtime' and not let their heart rule their head. Tradition has to be thrown out the window if many sports are to survive and become stronger as a result.

    If we were starting cricket all over again would we have 18 counties? NO WE WOULD NOT. That business model is not sustainable. It would be regionalised and stronger as a result with less journeymen cricketers (the cream would rise to the top) and a stronger, non professional base below that - like Australia. Why do our players go their for our Winter?

    A few Cricket CEO's are burying their heads in the sand - Somerset for example (Somerset chief Richard Gould told BBC Sport: "My aim is to knock this idea on the head") - and are living in the past. Prehaps trying to please his local 'old farts'. Yes Cricket has them as well as Rugby!

    20/20 is here to stay. Let's regionalise it - 6 teams, playing each other 6 times, 2/3 games at a venue in a day would ensure many county grounds get a go.
    Lets give our best players the chance to compete on a world stage and our best regional teams the chance to play in world competitions.

    And then lets have a good long hard look at the cricket pyramid and ask ourselves whether our current structure is sustainable and what should it look like in 5 or 10 years time if we are to have the best team in the world.

    Be brave, face up to change, otherwise the game we love will cease to exist. We must however drive the change ourselves not be driven by others.

  • Comment number 39.

    In response to comment 11.

    Although the comment was not directed at me, I do actually remember that ball.

    Simon Jones bowled a ball just short of a good length outside off to Brett Lee who attempted a drive. In true typical (2005) Simon Jones style the ball moved away late and 'Chucker' Lee edged it to Banger at slip who takes the catch. Leaving them 293 for 9.

    It was a ball that typified the late (reverse) swing of the series... Quite bizarre that you should pick it at random!

  • Comment number 40.

    "who don't have cities included support (eg Gloucetershire, Sussex, Essex, Kent, Derbyshire etc)"

    I agree with your sentiments, but would like to point out that Bristol (and indeed Gloucester), Brighton and Hove, Canterbury and Derby are all cities.

  • Comment number 41.

    Aggers has it just about right: there will be plenty of time for T20 if ODIs are scrapped!

    Think of it - the IPL for 8 weeks, short international T20 tournaments as warm-ups for Test series, and a longer, vibrant county T20 tournament. Sounds just about perfect to me, ODIs and county one-day competitions have had their day.

    The idea of the EPL is a non-starter- like the Highlander, there can be only one, otherwise the value is diluted. Just shut down international cricket for the IPL and leave it as the premier T20 competition in the world.

  • Comment number 42.

    Very well done Aggers.

    Yes 20/20 is entertaining, and yes it provides some absolutley wonderful games.

    But am I the only one who feels a little bit dirty once it's all finished?

    i haven't been watching any of the IPL - apart from highlights on youtube - and to be honest, I'm glad.

    I'm not sure I could look Test cricket in the eye after a winter spent cavorting with a younger, fresher version!

  • Comment number 43.

    Comment 40 - Yes they are cities, but if you wanted to reduce the league to 6 or 8, Im guessing that Derby, Canterbury etc would not be included, otherwise there is no point in restructuring the league at all.

    Also, as a resident of Chesterfield in Derbyshire I have a strong connection with the county and no connection at all to the city as its about 40 miles away from my home!

  • Comment number 44.

    I am a traditionalist - test cricket will always be the number one priority and must be preserved at all costs. I do see the dilemma however in that the appeal of Test Cricket in most countries has waned as the one day game has developed. I can see the marketing big wigs saying that Test Cricket is not sustainable given its poor attendes and this is a worry, espacially given the appeal of a well marketed innovative 20/20 version of the game. Whilst the immediate future for Test Cricket is safe, I wonder if that will be the case 20-30 years from now, I suspect not.

    In respect of an IPL style format in England, it's not "if" but "when". Money will always talk and the ECB would be wise not to be compacent and think that our best players will not turn their backs on a central contract - of course they will, and I suspect they will do it as a pact (strength in numbers). What the ECB needs to do is to find a slot in the calendar to allow a high profile and high reward event to be launched. Clearly something would need to give and I would propose that we reduce the dull 50 over competitions and play less international 50 over cricket.

    An interesting point that hasn't been picked up to date. Will the IPL style money making circus be there to attract the big cricket stars from the longer format of the game, or the best 20/20 players (2 different things) - I am certain it is the former which is why it is no more than a circus, but it does have massive appeal.

    Its just another example of the instant gratification and greedy world that we are all now living in

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with most, but I'm not sure that the notion of Twenty20 attracting more fans to Cricket is correct. These fans are not going to convert to Test cricket. It just smacks of a quick fix. These "new" fans are surely going to believe that 20/20 IS the pure form of the game.

    I can't vouch for other test grounds, but perhaps someone needs to look at who are attending the Test matches. The prices at Lords for the last few years have been pretty steep and you have to have decent contacts in order to get a ticket. I would then say that 40% of the crowd are barely watching, if in their seat at all! Surely making Test match tickets more accessible to youngsters or perhaps families - and at a decent time (ie friday or sat of a test match) - might make more of a difference?

  • Comment number 46.

    in response to those citing the low attendances at Test cricket as a symptom of its decline in popularity, please bare in mind that these games, as they are 5 days, invariable fall across a weekend meaning 3 of those days are working days. The only way to combat the low attendances is by dropping prices on the week days of Test matches. Personally I cant afford to take a day off work and then pay the exhorbitant prices for entry and drinks etc. It is akin to me taking 1 day off for the price of two as the ticket price and what have you is almost equal to a days wages for me.

    Completely different debate obviously!

    On this debate, 20/20 can do whatever it likes as far as Im concerned..... as long as it is not to the detriment of Test cricket . 20/20 is boring for me, some one brought up on Test cricket from an early age (like many thousands of people were). I can see why new cricket fans like 20/20, but its just not cricket! Have your music, entertain the kids, but please don't embarrass yourself by saying it is "better" than Test cricket. Huge 6's become meaningless if there are 10 or 20 in each innings and one of the games great facets is the subtlety involved in "thinking" a batsman out which all the great bowlers can do. And the not so great, Harmisons slower ball yorker to Clarke with the last ball of the day in the 2005 Ashes immediately springs to mind.

  • Comment number 47.

    I would like to know people's views on the city franchise idea as a way to get away from the current County structure.

    We have had endless comparisons made with Australia, where fewer states means more intense cricket (supposedly). This runs alongside the "overseas" players' debate. Better overseas talent challenges our better players but prevents younger players getting an opportunity.

    Maybe this presents an opportunity to start again!

    18 counties are costly to run and we need the type of finance given to the IPL to be able to compete with football, and to help fund the rest of the game. Twenty20 is more likely to bring in the cash because it is TV and spectator friendly.

    But if this money were to be accumulated initially through 20/20 by 8 to 10 city franchises (each with a test ground as home base) and each with a squad of 16, 8 of whom must be England qualified, then you may be laying the foundations for something better.

    Teams based out of the existing Test grounds, including Cardiff and the Rose Bowl give a good geographical spread (2 in London, two in the midlands, yorks, lancs, the north, south and west). And do these not follow roughly the academies too.

    More importanty, the top players will be "bought" into these franchises as with the IPL, so deciding who to play for is irrelevant. You could even have a system like the NFL where the worst team at the end of the season gets first pick of new players the next year.

    Start with the 20/20 and accumulate the cash, run it alongside the counties for a year or two by dropping one of the longer limited-over competitions.

    Thereafter, these teams will have all the publicity and will be generating the cash and people will want to follow these teams more than the counties.

    But you still have the best players available for test cricket, which should never be lost, in my opinion.

    A huge amount of work needs to be done to work on how club, university, school and county cricket will develop younger talent to feed into this new structure but to ignore the possibility would be madness.

    And the major problem to this will be those who have a vested interest because they more than anyone will fear change rather than embrace it (which is rather typical).

    And do not worry about the fan base; how many Arsenal fans long to watch more than 1 Englishman each weekend, and how many Man Utd fans are there in Ireland and Thailand! But you must give them something to watch.

    Look, this is only a thought, but we have complained about things in the County set up for so long now perhaps this is the time.

  • Comment number 48.

    If 50 over cricket is disposed of, where will that leave the Associate Cricket Countries? None of these countries play test cricket and apart from one ICC competition, all matches played by these countries are on a one day basis only... The ICC needs to think beyond the few test playing nations and the revenue that they can generate. Cricket is not just about getting crowds in to watch internationals, it is also about getting people to participate in playing the game.

    Taking this a step further, the majority of cricket played by local clubs around the world (especially in the UK) is done so on a 50 over basis. This is where all the future stars of the game learn their trade.

    If the 50 over form of the game is removed from the International stage, what will happen to cricket at all levels below - they certainly cant go to 5 day matches and will 20/20 provide the right platform for young cricketers to learn the game....? If it is not played at an international level, will youngsters coming through want to play it..?

  • Comment number 49.

    to reply to miketich, were not all these 50 over competitions supposed to prepare of us for ODI's? And now we talk of banishing them.

    I am only in favour of 20/20 because its quick. What i regret the most as a captain is not being able to declare and 50 over cricket took that away.

    I used to like the rules in an Essex league I played in where if you batted for more than 52 overs you lost your batting points, but in which we played 20 overs from 6.30.

    Yes, some teams batted for the draw, but the art of setting a good field, and getting the spinners on to weedle out the tail was lost. The lack of this skill deprives us of test match nous from a young age

  • Comment number 50.

    I would regard myself as a cricketing purist and love the ebb and flow of the 5 day game. Twenty20 has created a wider issue however. I think that the IPL and the expansion of twenty20 domestic cricket leads to the need for a fairly radical overhaul of the game in order to protect official/sanctioned events and not lead us to a system where we have multiple governing bodies and breakaway leagues as with the PDC in darts and the multiple boxing belts. The 18 first class counties have long been bailed out by the ECB and barely turn a profit and yet they will be up against multi million pound investors creating leagues for the top players. I agree with a lot of Aggers' comments but do believe we need a regional structure for Twenty20 AND FOUR DAY CRICKET. The 18 counties continue to exist but the 1st class season is competed by 6 teams based on the regions. They receive funding for a squad of say 15 players who are contracted and then the 18 first class counties play as semi professional outfits pulling in form players from league cricket and the best youngsters hopefully abolishing the mid tier county journeymen. We would then have 90 players to closely watch to grow our national team, the money to pay them so that the lure of the rupee is not overbearing and a system to ensure that test cricket is the pinnacle of a career. Twenty20 with the best players can then be played and even expanded in terms of volume of games to satisfy demand and counties could be compensated with money for producing players who attain franchise contracts and central contracts.

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree with most of this article, except and this is a BIG except, the assessment that Twenty20 is entertaining but shallow. Agreed, it is not test cricket but it is definitely not shallow. I have now seen enough T20 games to form a view that there is intensity and very little margin for error, whether for a bowler or batsman. The stats once they develop will be different to the one day game for obvious reasons but I believe T20 is a test of pure cricket skills because there is no room to hide. Bowlers don't get tired so they cannot be farmed and the batsmen have to attack right from the outset as they do not have the luxury of time. This means that only two forms of cricket will survive, the T20 and Tests, as the latter brings in different dimensions to the game. The one day game is now done and dusted as it made for mediocre cricket in many instances. Long live T20 and Test !

  • Comment number 52.

    For the proponents of the 50 over game, especially in relation to clubs and non ICC members I would suggest the two innings T20 ie. TT20! That would provide more variety and would not be a dramatic change graduating into the international T20 scene etc as may be applicable.

  • Comment number 53.

    The great thing about test cricket is that every match is a story, sometimes a story remembered for years or decades. There are heroic fight backs, desperate collapses, matches turning in a single over. It feels like records are broken in nearly every match.

    The good thing about Twenty20 is you can watch it in an evening. But the bad thing is sometimes you know the result 4 overs into the reply because the asking rate climbs so high.

    Here's an idea: put the heroism and the narrative into Twenty20. There are 20 overs and 11 players. Allow only 5 people to bowl (4 overs each), and allow only 6 people to bat.

    Of course, that would mean you needed 5 specialist batsmen and a wicket keeper/batsman.

    So suddenly, the risks associated with the spectacular slog become greater, because each batsman's wicket is potentially a greater loss to the side. Three wickets down 10 overs in, and you'd start to have a bit of a rear guard action to fight. Back comes the drama.

    I suppose you'd lose "shepherding the tail" and to some extent "farming the strike" because you would have no "natural number 10" bowlers batting. But I'm not convinced that this is a big part of Twenty20 in it's current format.

  • Comment number 54.

    Test Cricket isnt suited to the modern world and it can be very dull if the conditions are not right and I also fear for its survival.

    Outside of England Test Matches are played in front of half empty stands and it cant attract money like the shorter versions of the game. However for the truely initiated a Test Match is something to savour. It takes maturity and often patience to enjoy a Test Match but for those who appreciate long lasting pleasures the quick thrill of limited overs cricket can not compare to 5 days of delayed gratification.

    Maybe 20-20 will help to create more demand. Maybe society will change again and ressurect an interest in the mature form of the game. If it doesnt then surely Test Match cricket is doomed because it cant survive in the cultural vacuum of the global market.

  • Comment number 55.

    Underscoring the popularity of football 40 years ago US innovators came out with a plan – to create rival conferences (AFC and NFC) under the banner of National Football League (NFL.) It introduced draft system from colleges all over the country in which teams in each conference would draft players with preference given to the worst record team in the conference. I recall traditionalists calling this idea stupid then, besides claiming its failure. But look today!

    NFL is responsible for a TV channel known as ESPN (Entertainment Sports Programming Network); higher standards of education and physical fitness; making football hugely popular in colleges; entertainment; a new sports-based economy; energizing sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. to follow the suit; and above all a social phenomena in which families participate. And guess what, the competition and excellence in the sport itself has been continuously increasing!

    Cricket, a very popular sport in the Commonwealth countries, has been in the gutters of tradition ignoring the rapid evolution of the society. This ended with the creation of one day cricket, and then the 20-over match. Now with the creation of ICL and IPL in India cricket has finally arrived on the modern platform of socio-economic platform. Whether people like it or not it’s an evolution with revolution written all over it. Test cricket at best will become something that used to be.

    Mahesh B.

  • Comment number 56.

    Can't we get Allen Stanford to bankroll terrestial tv coverage of the test matches?

    He could watch it on BBC America.

  • Comment number 57.

    The problem with Test series is just that: they need to be a series of at least three games to make much, if any sense, particularly with the intervention of weather. At least this summer in England is okay but what is the point of playing one or two stand-alone Tests?

    Regarding ODIs, the old JPL used to be 40 overs simply because play did not start until 2pm (?) and the "true" one day game crept down from 65 to 60 and now 50 overs and I think there was a time when 55 overs were tried in addition to the more recent 45. All very confusing

    Leaving aside T20 perhaps the best option is to try to identify the best ODI format in terms of number of overs which needs limited use of D/L when weather interruptions are non-existant or of a minor nature, and then work out a bowling/fielding scheme that changes minimally throughout the innings and accept that like T20, such a ODI formula is essentially a batting and fielding contest.

    Test and 4-day cricket is, on the other hand, a bowling game in that declarations excepted you have to bowl the opposition out twice to win.

    Do we have the start of two separate games evolving?

  • Comment number 58.

    T20 is equivalent to a quickie behind KFC. Enjoyable, sure, but lacking the potential for a truly monumental climax, or unforgettable disappointment that comes with a prolonged build-up.

  • Comment number 59.

    This article seems to sum up the dichotomy of cricket. It's as though it wants to get bigger, but without changing anything. With only 5 nations really able to cammand good Test cricket crowds, those of us who love the game have to admit that it has a limited lifespan. The issue of why you would want to watch a 100-ball 29 when the ratio could be reversed is very hard to justify. Will watch Aggers experience in India though!

  • Comment number 60.

    Can people stop comparing 20/20 to baseball- i.e. "shots more in line with Yankee Stadium" comment 12.
    A baseball game is supposed to last around three hours, it is in no way contrived to fit into a shorter timespan and to the knowledgeable supporter contains just as much intricacy as a test match.
    The problem with 20/20 is it assumes the only thing interesting in cricket is the ball being smashed out of the ground. Once that happens 2 or 3 times every over, it's not that interesting anymore.
    To real cricket supporters a test provides so much more to capture the imagination.

  • Comment number 61.

    I’m tired of all those people moaning about how “proper” cricket fans should stick to tests and leave the T20 to people who know zero about the game. It takes a lot more skill to hit a cover drive or a 6 while needing to go at 10 runs an over than it does to simply block for 5 days. I enjoy test cricket also and it has a big place in cricket’s future but T20 can appeal to a wider range of people – not everyone has 5 days to spend watching cricket and lets face it and the elements are going to have a greater chance of impacting over 5 days than 3 hours.

    I think the IPL will also do wonders for the spirit of the games (slapgate not counted). The other night seeing Bravo (from the Windies) and Uthappa (from India) put on a wonderful partnership to win a game for Mumbai or a huge Indian crowd cheering an Aussie or a Kiwi over an Indian International.

    England (who seem to be complaining most) may have created T20 but something tells me they wouldn’t have been able to generate the massive interest or revenues that India has – when it was just an idea we had people such as Kevin Pieterson were on their high horse saying they would never go for it- as soon as the money came into it his tune changed.

    Who honestly thinks that the 50 over world cup in the Caribbean was better than the T20 world cup in South Africa? I’d rather watch a match with 6’s and 4’s, lively crowd, music and pretty dancers than an empty stadium in the Caribbean with 1 man and his drum for atmosphere?

    T20 won’t always have the drama of the Ashes 2005 but neither did the Ashes 2007 or the ones before? I remember the way the pendulum swung between India and Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final - most one days that are this thrilling only come alive in the last 15-20 overs (with some exceptions- Aus vs SA when both scored 400+)

    Personally I’m not against test cricket but all the things I enjoy about cricket are captured by T20 – and I don’t think that makes me any less of a cricket fan than others.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes, Test cricket is best, and yes, it does need protecting. It needs protecting in the same way that Real Ale needed protecting against Watney's Red Barrel, because Red Barrel was easier to make and market, and therefore more profitable, and because advertisers said, "Red Barrel is Great - don't drink anything else." And people believed them.
    Beethoven's Fifth is better than Girls Aloud, but it takes longer to listen to. Given the chance to learn to appreciate the difference, I think most young fans would derive more enjoyment from one five-day Test Match rather than five one-day Twenty-Twenties. The ups-and-downs of a single Test Match can be bewildering, and a bowler who takes 1-120 in the first innings can take 7-20 in the second, against the same batsmen. The glory of a double-century first time round might be followed bya golden duck. And what could be better than a one-wicket win in the last over after five days of hard slog, or victory by 3 runs? Or even a tie? Kids should have the chance to learn to enjoy Test Match cricket, not be force-fed on a diet of junk cricket. And if the shorter the game is, the better it is, let's cut the FA Cup Final to five minutes each way and then get straight to the real game - the penalty shoot-out.

  • Comment number 63.

    Someone asked who would want to watch 40 off a 100 balls when they could watch 20-20. Well me actually. I love the struggle between bat and ball and if the batsman is always on top then where is the glory?
    It could be a difficult wicket and the other batsmen out early so 40 off a 100 balls could represent a real triumph.
    My preference is for Test cricket but I have seen some very good one-day games and this form of cricket has improved run rates and fielding in the long form of the game. Fielding in one-day cricket is absolutely crucial and can win or lose a game.
    My complaint about 20-20 is that it is too frenetic. Pietersen said you just whack the ball and you can either be out or get 60. Where's the tension in that?
    I think a lot of the noise and support for 20-20 is from those fans who don't actually go to grounds and pass comment on the county game without seeing one.
    County cricket is really tough. The standard is very high and there are plenty of spectators too. It's a myth that no-one watches the four day game.
    20-20 is shallow and is designed for kids. It's a bit daft and its fun if not taken seriously but you won't find fans poring over matches for long discussions.
    It's a spectacle rather than an engrossing sport

  • Comment number 64.

    Apparently comment #61 is among those who doesn't understand cricket and therefore only finds boundaries entertaining. i.e. "I love to watch matches with lots of 4's and 6's."
    Scoring 10 runs an over with a licence to slog, in perfect batting conditions, with short boundaries, with bowlers forced to bowl in a narrow channel to avoid wides being given, with the best bowlers limited to only 4 overs in an innings doesn't require as much skill as one might think.

  • Comment number 65.

    comment #64 - the best bowers adapt- look at people like Mcgrath and Sharma.

    As for not understanding cricket - cricket evolves- i belive people like Sanath Jayasuria were called glorified pinch hitters for hitting 6's 4's in the 96 world cup by the "purists" and he helped changed the way 50 over cricket was played (and helped sri lanka win the world cup)- people like yourself seem to have a lack of understanding that sometimes it takes more courage to try and hit a good ball for a 6 or 4 and failing rather than just waiting for the bad ball .

  • Comment number 66.

    Twenty20 cricket bores me. It reminds me of how tennis is when you get ace after ace etc.

    All Twenty20 provides is 4 after 4 or 6 after 6- where are all the battles of trying to get off the mark, or get through those last few overs before tea?

    I think it is the worst format of the game and while it may prove to be popular and a big money spinner in the short term, I am not sure of the long term future of this format of the game...

  • Comment number 67.

    I guarentee Jacques Rudolph's 100 for Yorkshire today (off 250 balls) took a lot more skill than any innings played in the IPL.

    Most genuine cricket supporters enjoy the nuance and tension of an innings like that more than pure slogging.
    If McCullum, for example, is so skillful, why does he only average 30 in tests?

    As for courage-20/20 virtually requires the batsman to try to hit every ball for 4 or 6, it doesn't require courage.

    A final point is that, the shorter the game, the more random (i.e. meaningless) the result. Bangladesh have won numerous ODI's against test sides, including Australia. They'd could play 100 tests against them without winning one, however.

  • Comment number 68.

    comment 65:

    jayasuriya in 96; a naturally aggressive world class batter at the top of his game playing in conditions that he was extremely well suited to.

    not sure what that has to do with "courage"

    these days in T20 the conditions is so heavily weighted towards the batsman - what is a "good ball?" - all the pitches are shirtfronts so length balls get hit for 6; the white ball doesnt swing, so fuller balls are easy to be put away, and anything with width is either given wide or slashed away to the short boundaries.

    also, a bowler's spell is often only a couple of overs, not enough time to "work a batsman out"

    which leaves yorkers, slower balls and (if you are quick enough) a short ball at the body.

    what a vast array of options for the swing/seam bowlers.....

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm not disputing a century off 250 balls takes less skill - but what qualifies you to guarentee that it has more skill than an innings of 100 off 44? Surely a genuine cricket fan can appriciate both types of innings? don't they call mike hussey "mr Cricket" for his love and knowledge of the game? he can play both types of innings and i dont think he slips in and out of genuine cricket mode depending on the format.

    look at the England team at the moment- they are crying out for someone other than Pieterson who can consistantly switch gears in all forms of the game (i dont think that crawl of an innings against NZ a few months back got him much praise?)

    I understand for a genuine supporter like yourself random results must be disapointing - i'm sure you were fuming when england won the VB series last year? seeing as they lost 5-0 in the purest form of cricket there is? i'm sure that was one for the genuine cricket fans.

    as for McCullum he plays gets far more people watching cricket than someone who blocks all day.

  • Comment number 70.

    You make my point- I barely remembered England won the VB series. I believe I watched some of those matches but I couldn't tell you much about what happened. I think Ed Joyce scored a hundred in one?
    Meanwhile, the Ashes were probably the most memorable event in my lifetime of watching sport. I'll remember many moments from that series for the rest of my life.
    Will anyone remember a month from now remember the match between Deccan Chargers and Kings Punjab XI? I doubt it.
    Additionally, I've read reports that many of the supporters at IPL grounds are let in free and that players haven't been paid yet. I'm confident the IPL will not succeed long term- at least not in the way many expect.
    As for the England team, I'd rather have someone like Collingwood in my side than McCullum. Averaging mid-40's is always better than averaging 30, regardless of strike rate.

  • Comment number 71.

    One thing you can do to keep test cricket alive is allow us here in the states to listen to it online. It is how I first fell in love with the game some years ago. Whatever the reasons are for it being taken away they are stupid, plain and simple. Bring it back, no delays, no excuses.
    Secondly, the fact that test cricket has survived for as long as it has is quite amazing. It was originally a game for the priviledged, who had the time to play it and watch it. It still is. Those who are priviledged enough to have the time, like students and retired people, can enjoy it, but not those who work. So it existed, but never really thrived.
    Most Americans would agree with the posting that asked if cricket were so wonderful why does it need saving? I am not one of them. The idea that everything of value needs to prove its worth in the marketplace is preposterous. I have no real problems with 20/20. I prefer it to the 50 over game, though it is almost like baseball with the batsman swinging for the boundry, getting out, and then the next doing the same. But how many fast sports do we need? Test cricket's attraction is that it is the antithisis to the quick pace of modern life. The game has immense value, for so many reasons, even though there aren't enough of those of us who love it to make it a viable competitor in the
    sports/entertainment marketplace. There may be very good reasons for keeping test cricket alive, but those who play it, understandably, are going to want to make the most money they can from it.
    So it comes down to the ICC. They are going to have to show leadership that, quite frankly, they haven't shown in a long time. They are going to have to decide that test cricket is the premier form of the game, and is where all the values and traditions that make cricket so special come from. Players will need to be allowed to play in any league they want, provided they play test cricket when they are called. The number of test will probably need to be curtailed (they should be anyway), and when they are played they can not conflict with any domestic league the players may be involved in. This is somethng rugby seems incabable of doing, though it seems it shouldn't be that difficult to pull off in cricket. Some of the increased revenue 20/20 provides should be used to promote test cricket, in the form of higher pay for players, subsidizing TV coverage if necessary to ensure people can still see it, and online so people can hear it all over the world. Will the ICC be able to look beyond the piles of cash 20/20 will bring to see what is best for the long-term survival of the game of cricket? One can only hope.

  • Comment number 72.

    Seattlemike makes a good point - letting people in the states listen to the cricket online wouldnt do any harm.

    regarding joshbowlslegspin- the ashes 2005 probably was one of the most memorable series in the last few years. But then again how memorable was the 4th Test of the following ashes (it probably was memorable for you as i assume you are an england fan and can remember)?

    I guess my point in all this is test cricket does have a future and should as it can be exciting like the 2005 ashes, and the recent India vs Australia series

    but saying that so does T20- the T20 world cup was one of the most memorable events of my life time - as memorable as test matches in 2001 when India beat Australia, or in 2003 when India and Australia battled out a draw in Steve Waughs last series.

    The T20 world cup final between India and Pakistan was on of the most exciting matches ever played - as was the sheer quality of cricket in the semi's. When India were coasting to victory in the group stages against NZ- Vettori's skill and guile dragged NZ back into the game and helped them win the match- try telling him that wasnt 'real cricket'.

    Everyone will have their opinion on how they like cricket- it doesnt make them less of a cricket fan. Back in the good old days kids were taught to play without having a high backlift as it wasn't pure and proper (or genuine) - I wonder if Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting had that advice they would as successfull or celebrated?

    Sport evolves and cricket is no differant. It doesnt make people any less of a fan if they embrace the change rather than stay stuck in the dark ages- if you dont like T20 don't watch it - stick to tests. Maybe the real worry from certain fans is regardless of what format their teams play in over the last few years its been a bore.

  • Comment number 73.

    Call me a snob Mr Agnew .... call me what you like. Never watched a 20/20 game in my life, nor do I intend to. Test cricket is my bag, I'm stayin with it and intend to go down with it if necessary. Cricket sold it's soul to the devil long ago. Cast your mind back to the last Ashes series .... 5 test matches squeezed into 7 weeks between a mickey-mouse one-day series in India and the "must-have" ratings round-robin new-year one-day series. Remember the good old days? 3 Texaco Trophy one-day matches at the start of the summer - the rest of the season given over to the test matches.

  • Comment number 74.

    Test Match Cricket just might be the greatest team sport on the planet. Anything which could prove to be a threat to it must be treated very warily. However, to me Twenty20 is a far more logical adjunct to test matches than the supremely tedious 50 over game. I couldn't agree with JA more - get rid of it now!

  • Comment number 75.

    It should be remembered that Test Match cricket evolved from one-day cricket, and not the other way around. At one time all cricket was one-day, but as pitches and skills improved it became necessary to extend the game to two, three and then five days to enable all the players to give full vent to their skills. Bradman rattled up his double and triple centuries to the joy of all the spectators, feats that would have been impossible in one-day matches, and there was still time for the bowlers to share in the fun, regardless of the result.
    If it is now seen as inevitable that the game should wither away and retrogress into twenty-over thrashes with the more sublime skills ditched in favour of endless hoiks over cow-corner, then cricket is already on the endangered list and will soon render itself extinct. (Similarly, it was once proposed that, as the only point of playing football was to put the ball in the net, and that more goals made for increased spectator satisfaction, the height and width of the goal should be doubled. Why win 1-0 when yu, or 31-30

  • Comment number 76.

    It should be remembered that Test Match cricket evolved from one-day cricket, and not the other way around. At one time all cricket was one-day, but as pitches and skills improved it became necessary to extend the game to two, three and then five days to enable all the players to give full vent to their skills. Bradman rattled up his double and triple centuries to the joy of all the spectators, feats that would have been impossible in one-day matches, and there was still time for the bowlers to share in the fun, regardless of the result.
    If it is now seen as inevitable that the game should wither away and retrogress into twenty-over thrashes with the more sublime skills ditched in favour of endless hoiks over cow-corner, then cricket is already on the endangered list and will soon render itself extinct. (Similarly, it was once proposed that, as the only point of playing football was to put the ball in the net, and that more goals made for increased spectator satisfaction, the height and width of the goal should be doubled. Why win 1-0 when you could win 31-30?).
    Some people seem to think that the 50-over match has become boring and predictable, so let's all play 20-20. Certainly the result of many 50-over matches is determined by winning or losing the toss, so how's this for a suggestion? The team batting first has to declare at any stage of the captain's choosing between 25 and 30 overs, after which the opposition bat their 50 overs to set a target for victory. This could mean: Australia 125-3 (21.3 overs): the West Indies 295-8 (50 overs): Australia 290-9 (another 28.3 overs): the West Indies win by 5 runs. I wouldn't mind watching that.

  • Comment number 77.

    Mr Agnew, Why has 50 over cricket 'had its day'?

    The England home games usually play to full housws so it is still popular with the people, if not with the commentators.

    How can a bowler be used to 20 overs or more per day in a Test match then come down to weeks of play with a maximum of 4 overs and restricted field placing?

    How can a number 4, 5, 6 or 7 enjoy batting when he gets in with a probable maximum of 6 -8 overs left?

    How often will 9, 10, 11 get a bat in their hands at all?

    When I started cricket, the junior team played 18 overs each on a Wednesday night and we couldn't wait for the time when we were old enough to get in the Saturday team and play a real game of 45 overs.

  • Comment number 78.

    SeattleMike- I live in London now but for a time, including during the 2005 Ashes, I lived in the states and the games are available online if you're willing and able to pay.
    Also I don't think baseball involves everyone swinging for the "boundary" all the time. Baseball is a different game and it's not like 20/20 because it's not a contrived form of the game- baseball is meant to last 2-3 hours.

    cityharbour- I find it astonishing anyone could say the 20/20 WC final was as exciting as the 2001 Kolkata test. All one-day cricket is contrived. The game, at the highest level, is meant to last several days and involve 2 innings per side.
    I do remember most tests England have played in my lifetime and I think only a handful of one-dayers have even approached them for excitement. Sure some tests are incredibly dull but then so are many 50 and 20 over matches. One-day cricket can never produce the tension, for me at least, that the longer form does.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think the fellow "purists" here do fear for the future of test match cricket. I want it saved.

    Firstly stating the obvious:
    - test matches desperately need good wickets to make interesting cricket. Pitches that have good pace, bounce and carry for the duration of the match. The recent 2nd test in Wellington a good example. Two mediocre sides served up an excellent 5-day match.

    - I am all for experimenting with high-octane 4-DAY test matches: starting on Thursday finishing on the Sunday. I am sure the administrators can modify existing regulations without making the format contrived.

    - (deluded perhaps) we need the West Indies to rise again.

  • Comment number 80.

    Absolutely. Test cricket must be preserved. It offers an alternative to the culture of instant gratification. I am sufficiently optimistic to believe that, 500 years from now, when T20s are forgotten and laughed at, when Ovid is still widely read, Homer and Plato discussed, and Americans considerably refined ;), we will still be looking with a sense of nostalgia on Don Bradman's 309 in a day.

  • Comment number 81.

    I appreciate what Aggers is saying, but I think he is wrong about the county structure needing to stay.

    In the late 1990's the ECB missed a trick when restructuring the league, I was playing for a very strong club side at the time and we were all hopeful that they would open up a competition that could see us up against county side either in a league or in a cup.

    We may not have won it, but a good cup run for us would have been great. A cricket competition that was open to all through qualifying would be fantastic, just 10 years to late for me to have a realistic chance of playing in it!

  • Comment number 82.

    For me real cricket is Test cricket. Other forms of cricket are preparations or preludes to Test Cricket. The four day, three day, odi and t20 are various forms of cricket to prepare oneself to play or enjoy real cricket. Sometimes we tend to confuse ourselves by taking the practice stuff or such matches to be real cricket.

    I read some one saying “cricket is played as much in the players minds as it is with willow and leather. If you take away the mental factor then you lose a huge part of the game”. I think that is well said.

    Cricket gave us some interesting personalities in our country. Batsmen like Chandu Borde, the late Dilip Sardesai, Wadekar, Sunny, Chauhan, Anshuman, Vengsarkar, Mohinder, Vishy, Azhar, Sachin, Saurav, Rahul, Laxman and so many others were not the hit-and-run-type of cricketers. Methodical play, discipline, dedication, patience, tactics and concentration were the virtues they displayed when at the crease. Their footwork for offence and defence and rich repertoire for wristy strokes, hook shots, strokes all around the wicket when on front or back foot, were a treat to watch. Sachin, Saurav, Rahul and Laxman have served Test cricket with distinction and are very much there. They have a strong responsibility to keep Test cricket alive and kicking.

    There have been legendary bowlers in our country as well. The spin quartet of Pras-Bedi-Chandra-Venkat use to mesmerize the opposition with a variety of slow and tricky stuff. Then came Dilip Doshi and now we are blessed with the peerless Anil Kumble. A contest between a top quality spinner and world class batsman is sheer entertainment of the highest order. India did produce a world class fast bowler in Kapil Dev who through his batting and bowling could win and draw Test matches on lively wickets overseas and even on dull strips at home.

    IPL's T20 is a form of entertainment where one sees well known, less known and unknown cricketers rubbing shoulders with film stars, businessmen, politicians and cheer leaders accompanied by fireworks, music and pocketing handsome cheques.

    T20 could be a good beginning to popularize cricket in countries where it is not or less known.

  • Comment number 83.

    As Basebal, Cricket can become popular in USA, just like MeCdonald and Burger King are popular. All depends on advertisemnt. 20/20 can be more popular then Baseball as an individual can stay on the crease for longer time and be seen on TV for longer time.

    To introduce cricket in USA prior to every televised baseball match they should show 6/6 over cricket competition between two cricket teams.

    Test Cricket days are gone because it is actually two one inning marathon matches, completely unnecessary. Some people enjoyed Ashes and concentration. One could have 3 inning for each team 7 day match also which would need much greater concentration on every ball, specially if one team is 1000 runs ahead of other team in 6th inning and still 3 days to go.

    Test cricket is a Joke because after 5 days still ends up in a draw and they calle it accomplishment. All spectators loose time no fun for them. Time is the most expensive commodity now a days.

    Another cricket game I would lie to see in which you have 4 wickets behind the batsman and no one can be given LBW that would be the greatest fun.

  • Comment number 84.

    Good comments by all but I do have a serious issue with test match cricket and the 'purists', as they call themselves.

    Sure, test match cricket is the ultimate test. What a load of nonsense. if test match is a true test of the ability of a cricketer then we would not find bowlers scoring double hundreds and hundreds, e.g, Jason Gillespie and Anil Kumble. mind you, these two are some of the worst batsmen to have ever graced a cricket field. As far as I am concerned, even a little 12 yr old girl can score a test match hundred, after all, all they have to do is block the ball indefenitely till they get some ball thats short and wide.
    We have seen numerous times batsmen blocking the ball and not hitting it, just because its 'test match cricket'. e.g, Kallis, Atherton and Dravid, these players block the ball and score 10 runs in 90 balls and think it is some great achievement. How is this a test of a cricketer?
    Batsmen like Kallis, Cook and Dravid take great pride in plodding and defending and scraping a century after some 300 balls. How boring.
    When it comes to 20/20 we see batsmen like kallis and Dravid fail because they just cant score quickly and adapt. Now, dont they fail the test of 20/20 which in actuality is more demanding, since the batsmen are trying to hit every ball out of the park instead of aimless plodding around and bowlers are looking to pick wickets with every ball.

    i am a cricket fanatic but after having watched 20/20 i consider test match cricket to be a collosal waste of time. I really hope that test match cricket is scaled down or done with completely. It is high time that the 'purists' understand that cricket is a commercial sport and test match cricket is a crowd drawback instead of a crowd puller. Or the purists can go play cricket by themselves and enjoy some crumpet at tea time.

  • Comment number 85.

    come on ICC, take the bold step and stop test match cricket.
    if England and Australia consider test match cricket to be the ultimate test then they should continue playing and not impose it on anyone else.

    lets face it, nobody has the time and patience to watch a slow untalented batsmen like Jaaaaaaaques Kallis graft a test match hundred in 2 days when you can have batsmen like Brendon Mccullum and Hussey bludgeon a bowling attack in 20 overs, and score a hundred by the way.

    and I do not aggree that 20/20 is purely a batsmens game. bowlers have an equal chance of getting wickets since the batsmen are trying to hit virtually every ball. Check Sohail Tanvir of Pakistan who just picked up 6 wickets for under 20 runs in a recent 20/20 game.

    test match cricket is boring. people who say that psychological advantages and all that nonsense come into play have no idea what they are talking about. nobody wants to see a batsmen duck bouncers, leave balls and block the bad balls just to gain some silly psychological advantage. the ones that do so are cheating us at the end of the day.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think Aggers is angry that the epicenter of cricket has shifted away from England and Australia to the Sub-continent. His heading says it all.

    how is it 'dangerous'? lol

    Who are you really testing by playing 5-day boring cricket Aggers? the audience I suppose. Definetely not the batsmen, if they can block 100 balls to score 10 runs doesn't that say something about the quality of the player and how much they respect the audience. Similarly, when bowlers bowl that silly leg-stump length to restrict batsmen from scoring who is getting cheated at the end of the day.

    I will never watch test cricket again and I will do my level best to campaign for its end.

  • Comment number 87.

    Agnew's concerns are not out of place. Just imagine the reactions of the likes of Agnew on seeing the first automobile being launched "the horse cart must be saved". Or when the mobile phone was launched "The good old wired telephone must be saved" :-))

    Being conservative is a birthright. Or perhaps, it is a birth-wrong :-))

    Newton calls this "inertia". It is natural. And it can only help improve the newbie, and no, the newbie will not stay contained - or constrained.

    Should test cricket be protected? If it were as good as some people expect it to be, why would it need protection? It is the survival of the fittest. Let test cricket compete on its fitness - for this day and age. Let's not try to create a "reservation system" insisting on a percentage of cricket being mandatorily test cricket. Such a protection scheme would be akin to insisting that a percentage of traffic be reserved for horse carts.

    About the stiff-upper-lipped brits being out of the IPL, they have only themselves to thank for. Cricket clearly does not anymore require blessings from it's old, weary (not to mention cash starved) inventors. They are free to join in, especially, if they know how to play the new game. In 20 overs. The 5 days of test cricket have given way to the 20 over examination. Grow up. Get real.

  • Comment number 88.

    i still do not understand who is being 'tested' by playing 'real test cricket'. how can a batsmen be tested if he is not required to score runs.

    If you want a test of stamina and endurance you should submit these cricketers through a long distance marathon or some kind of triathalon like running, swimming and fighting. batting for a hour, then drinks, then lunch, then drinks, then drinks, then tea (with crumpet) , then drinks and stumps(bed rest) is hardly a test of someones stamina and endurance. its a joke and should be nipped in the bud before it becomes too dangerous. i pity the cricketers who will have to play boring real test match cricket now. i think everyone knows that there is no real test in 'test' match is high time that stubborn commentators like Sunil Gavaskar and Tony Cozier understand this. by the way, has Cozier even held a cricket bat before?

    If you can't hit the ball in cricket you shouldn't be playing. anyone can defend the ball Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaques Kallis, even my 12 yr old sister can.

  • Comment number 89.

    My prediction for the upcoming ENG-NZ, WI-AUS 'test' series.
    +poor crowds
    +low television audience
    +painfully slow centuries(which may seem tough, but remember people are doing the same in 20/20 now).
    +boring crowds
    +boring matches
    +boring teams
    +tea with crumpet

  • Comment number 90.

    To all who follow the great god T20. Watch your wonderful spectacle and leave the proper cricket followers (and there are thousands and thousands) to follow Test cricket. Test cricket is memorable. T20 is gone in a flash. One of the best things about cricket is its history. Some would do away with this simply because of the IPL. The purest form of One Day cricket I always thought was the one which revolutionised the game back in the late 1960s i.e 40 over matches. These were played on a Sunday and took little over 4 hours to complete (and yes there were some who didn't like it then but you'll never appease some people). 4 Day and 40 over cricket for me every time but that'll never happen now. Shame.

  • Comment number 91.

    you must be an angry Englishman.
    the fact is, people just dont like test-cricket. i think your estimate of a few thousand fans seems about right. the bottom line is, test a.k.a boring cricket is losing fans at a rapid rate because of the fact that it lasts 5 days and no-one really has the time for it.
    besides, no one cares about batsmen scoring hundreds in boring cricket anymore since any donkey can actually do it.

    in case you do not know mr. bob. cricket originally started off as a one-day event but then got prolonged to 4 days because other batsmen wanted to bat and besides, they had time to waste all day talking nonsense and drinking tea while having crumpet.

  • Comment number 92.

    Testmatchforwho claims to be a cricket fanatic but reveals in his/her comments everything that's wrong, not with the game, but with some of the "fans."
    Cricket can do without "fans" who think that Test Matches are a colossal waste of time and that Test Match centuries can be scored by Girl Guides and donkeys. Ever faced a really fast bowler?
    Some people's idea of a good night out is to get drunk in half an hour on three pints of superstrength lager followed by a punch-up in the carpark. Instant sensual gratification without even knowing what really happened. That's all 20/20 is, in cricketing terms, after all. Luckily other people have a bit of class.
    As for campaigning for the abolition of Test Cricket, perhaps Testmatchforwho should also campaign for the burning of the British Library. Get a life. Some people are perfectly happy reading The Sun, but don't spoil it for everyone else.

  • Comment number 93.

    thank you for your comments Frodoforpres. It is much appreciated.

    Having played cricket pretty much my whole life I think i reserve the right to call myself a true 'fan' of the game. I highly doubt you may have even held a cricket bat before, mabye in soft ball.

    During my younger days I was a true fan of test match cricket, even watching all 5 days of a match on tv. however, as I became older and wiser I realized that test match cricket is nothing but a colossal waste of time. What brought me to this conclusion? mabye it came by watching all those monotonous test matches on tv and seeing batsmen plod around for hours and days just to score a hundred... these batsmen also make it seem as if they did something which no one else has been able to do by the way they celebrate when they score a test match hundred.
    In 20/20, on the other hand, a batsmen has to really work hard to earn his century. bowlers are top class, looking to restrict batsmen from scoring and fielders are athletic and lively unlike in test cricket.

    If you can really test someones skill by playing sissy test cricket then you are the one who is being taken for a ride. if you are sincere about testing their endurance and skill then please subject them to a long distance marathon or some kind of triathalon instead of dressing them in whites and making them hover around in a field all day like cows.

    mabye instant gratification is not good enough for you so you have to sit and watch 5 days of boring cricket to be 'gratified'. i feel sorry for you and your wife.

  • Comment number 94.

    Thankfully " Testmatchforwho" some of know what we are talking about - remember a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
    Test Cricket is the best form of all and to attain the heights of being selected to play for your country you have to have attained a high standard of cricket in County games of various types but one thing I can assure of 20/20 could be deterimental to the game if it was taken too seriously
    I have watched all forms forms of the games and must admit seeing sixes crashing into the hoardings is exciting but its manufactured!
    There are only a few genuine strike batsmen in World cricket who can " take apart " a bowling side and they can't do every time! ie KP , Freddie for England and one or two others around the other Test teams but if that's what you want support Baseball
    However, how many times have you seen a world class bowler like Warny taken apart! - not many I can assure you, and he usually got them out eventually
    Yes I know its a sign of my age but please do not introduce spoonfed, plastic, cheerleading, dancing, multi-coloured swap top cricket over here! Please!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    absolute nonsense from bob178.
    " but one thing I can assure of 20/20 could be deterimental to the game if it was taken too seriously" .
    - is this a fact bob178. if it is so, please give some facts to back it up. sorry, your word is simply not good enough.
    sorry, i do not like baseball. baseball has 4 bases. no 6, no 4, 3 batters per innings. a lot different from cricket u crumpet eating tea drinking purist.
    how many times have you seen warne deserve a wicket in tests? not many times. that clown is a media-hype. he got wickets by playing tests against teams that could not play spin very well, like England and Bangladesh, not forgeting S.Africa. and most times he picked up a wicket was when batsmen were trying to hit him out of the park. sure he has been lucky, but aren't we all sometimes.

    mabye watching a bunch of aussie beer drunk hooligans hurling a beach ball around a cricket stadium is your idea of a great cricket culture.
    as for k.p for england and freddie......these two guys have a long way to go before you can compare them to the likes of Gilchrist, Sanath, Tendulkar and Hayden. K.p has played a few games and though he shows a good attacking instinct he is far too inconsistent to be labelled in the same bracket as these other greats. Flintoff has not performed in almost 2 years and his past performances are nothing spectacular. a few good innings may make him a great in your 'purist' mind but not in the wider audience of cricket enthusiasts.

    by the way, noone is interested in introducing 20/20 to where you live (whereever you may be). if you are from England, then you should realize that it was the English that first created the 'monster' 20/20. if you are an aussie, I don't really can watch your aussie rules football and streak during halftime at boring test cricket matches.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    testmatchforwho - the expression "only opens mouth to change feet" seems entirely apposite when reading your contributions to this blog. You clearly have the inside track on the Bopara story however - I imagine that I among many other readers had failed to spot RB's "cunning plan". To paraphrase your last contribution - you are clearly an idiot pretending to be a cricket fan!

  • Comment number 98.

    I don't agree with the above comments about 50-over cricket.

    From where I sit, I don't really go for 20/20 except for the brief adrenalin rush that I would get from a football match and that's not what I watch cricket for. However, being a full time worker with a young family, I can't devote time to the full 4-day county matches, much as I'd love to. I keep up with the score on the internet and TV when I can, but that's all I get.

    I do, however, go to as many one day matches as I can as it gives me a compromise between the longer subtler more tactical form of the game and the amount of time that I can spend on it.

    If people think that 50 over cricket is unpopular, then how do they explain the sizeable crowd at Trent Bridge last Sunday. Despite the rain and the vagaries of the Duckworth Lewis target on a game with several interruptions, many of then stayed until the end.

    All forms of the game have their place the one day game is for people like me who want a day at the cricket to be just that, a DAY at the cricket, not just a couple of hours

  • Comment number 99.

    geraldswine- your comments are worthless and do not even address any of the important issues that i noted.
    read the bbc article before you comment on my response 'geraldswine'. the bbc article is vague and seems as if it was written by bopara himself. i am not really sure about his motives but it could be to gain some sort of favor with the selectors especially after the patriotic Englishman 'Pieterson' turned down offers to play in the IPL and was hailed as a national hero by some elements of the cricket media. those who do not want to play in the IPL should not be forced to do so...they should play sissy test cricket and drink tea while having crumpet.
    it does seem suspicious that no other media has reported this 'fake news' apart from bbc. no international media either geraldswine. with something like a week to go before the boring sissy series, bopara may be hoping for a recall by adopting the anti-Indian tone, which seems to be quite popular amongst some nazi-like elements in the media these days.

    Ravi Bopara offered a 6 figure sum to play in the IPL.. thats just sheer nonsense. I would not even play him if he paid me to field him.

    first of all mate, you are not even English, you are just an Indian pretending to be an Englishman.
    Secondly, I dont think we should believe this nonsense about Bopara being offered money to play in the IPL by an 'unnamed franchise'. I would rather hear it from the horses mouth, or the franchise themselves. It is difficult to believe Bopara, who after all is nothing short of a very basic cricketer. He is neither a good bat nor a good bowler. If he has been offered a 6 figure sum then Colly and K.P must have been offered millions. Also, haven't the franchises themselves spent all their money on signings as far as I am concerned.

    If Bopara has been offered a 6 figure sum then I should be getting a call pretty soon.
    I think this is quite suspicious, particularly the timing of all this. this could be a fake news report generated by the BBC or others to mislead the public into thinking that the 'Indian' Bopara has suddenly become a patriotic Englishman.

    nonsense. We must get to the bottom of this.

  • Comment number 100.

    There is room for both 20/20 and full five-day test matches.

    20/20 is the kind of pazzazz that lures people (and kids) to our lovely game. Test cricket is the next step up, the man's game, the game for brains and patience, where the swing-and-miss brigade get found out quickly. Sporting chess compared with Chinese checkers - it's supposed to be played thoughtfully, and wonderful scenarios can unfold if you take time to find out what is going on.

    And if it's a question of skill, I'd like to see a specialist 20-20 team try to play a test match, whereas 5-day specialists can hit a ball as fast and as hard as the next man... it's easier for a test player to play with wild abandon than for a 20-20 boy to get dug in.


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