Cricket – From Fifty/50 to Twenty/20

India’s lackluster performance in South Africa is the talk of the season now, not only in the media but also in the Parliament and this poor performance by Indians in some way denied the attention to the start of a new era of Pro20 cricket in India. It was India which kick started the South Africa’s cricket journey after being banned from International cricket for some 22 years. And it is the turn of South Africa now, to do the favor by hosting the first Twenty 20 match against India on December 1, 2006.

Even the current shorter version of cricket (One day International) is much more time consuming than other popular sports like Football, Formula one , Tennis, Hockey or Rugby. In this fast paced world, spending a whole day watching sport is too much to ask for. So I feel the move to Twenty20 format is a welcome step as it ends within 3 hrs. This will give the game the much needed popularity across the globe and can help in spreading cricket to more nations.

Also One day cricket is at its entertaining best in the first 15 overs and in the last 10 overs only. Most of the game gets boring in the middle overs. Even the ICC’s introduction of power play didn’t help much, as most captains opted to finish it off in the first 20 overs itself. Again if you take the bowlers, they are best fit to bowl 5 overs without a change. In a Twenty20 match they don’t have to preserve some energy to comeback and bowl another 5 overs towards the end of the match. So this will help quickies like Lee, Akthar to bowl every ball with extra pace and energy without worrying about injuries as they will not be overloaded with extra overs.

Top batsmen need to adjust more to this format now, as the whole team itself will have only 120 balls to play for, which in an ODI a single batsman would have faced to reach their centuries. Players like Jayasuriya, Afridi and Lara have already proved to the world what they are capable of doing in just 20 or 30 balls. Now the entire team have to follow their strategies and should create more such stars. As far as India is concerned Sachin, Shewag and Dhoni can match up with anyone in Pro20 and are capable of winning the match, provided they are in the best of their forms.

Well it is no doubt, that this Twenty20 format will make the game more batsman dominated, as they will be given the green signal to throw their bat around right from the word go, A special rule, Bowl-out in the Twenty20 cricket gives bowlers opportunity to comeback and decide the fate of the match, if the scores are tied at the end. This new rule is similar to the penalty shootout in soccer, here bowlers from both sides bowl at the wicket without any batsman and the side which takes more wickets will be the winner. Well the concept of bringing penalty shootout like thing to find a result, instead of using some mathematical formula is good, and it will definitely add more excitement to the game, but why this penalty shootout without a goalie concept? Wouldn’t it be more interesting if a batsman is also allowed and a four/ six/ wicket/ Not played by a batsman, deciding the winner.

One of the biggest losers if this Twenty20 format succeeds will be the BCCI, as they will have only 150 minutes to sell it to the media which is just one-third of time for an ODI match now. That may be the reason for their strong opposition when the ICC decides to take on grating official status to Twenty20, but in the end India have no choice but to accept as they were voted out 10/1 at the ICC meeting earlier. Well it’s another story that they are now thinking of bidding for 2013 Twenty20 World cup. Even when the match is 8 hrs long all we see is the same five or six ads getting repeated for the whole day. Instead of boring the audiences in the time between overs with repeat ads, marketers can now concentrate on creative ideas to reach the people’s mind within the 3 hrs they got.

Will this shorter version of the game be more attractive and entertaining than a ODI to Indian cricket fans? Will Twenty20 become the Twenty first century’s cricket? Let’s wait and see.


  1. Very Nice…..New Dimension in Cricket….Hope this will Turn Good….A nice blog


  2. I don’t think selling for media is the reason why BCCI rejected the proposal for 20-20 match.

    The real reason is, in the current version where 50 overs is the limit, india oftens plays only for 20 overs. They might be much afraid that if the version itself turns 20 overs a side, india will end up playing only 5 overs.


  3. Siva Rajendran says:

    Wow.. What a start to the India’s Twenty20 journey. Winning by six wickets in their first match itself, that too against South African’s who already have experience in this Pro20 format.

    Great win guys.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Audiences are much more likely to stay engaged and watch an entire 20-20 match from start to finish. ODI’s are often so long that the outcome is obvious from early on.

    Advertisers can be assured that they are reaching out to a bigger audience even though there are less spots available overall. For large tournaments, organizers can hold 2 matches in the same day.

    Sanctity of the game be damned; audiences love huge batting performances. 20-20 markets the game to its strengths. A bowlout doesn’t really swing the game in the bowlers’ favor, it just makes ties more interesting. It has little to do with the skill of a bowler.

    As for lack of creativity amongst advertisers, that’s entirely their fault. 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    yeah. good win for India. But then SA had no pollock, no nel and no ntini. Still kinda shocking that India got to win a match……finally.

  6. Siva Rajendran says:

    Anonymous – Thanks for the detailed comments.
    Ananth, Thanks for your comments.

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