Monday, Apr 15 2024 | Time 07:47 Hrs(IST)
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Is T20 helping cricket get more popular or is it hampering cricket’s real beauty?

Twenty20 cricket is now wildly popular. Not just in the more traditional cricketing countries like India, England or Australia, but in other countries as well, where T20 cricket begins to flourish either as a sport per se or as an appealing betting market offered by all bookmakers, from the traditional betting shops to the more modern bitcoin betting sites. 

There is no doubt that back in 2003, when this new, short version of cricket was first launched, the sport’s history was about to change. New audiences were more easily convinced to explore and investigate the beauty of cricket. Old fans felt immediately being re-energized to re-engage with the sport that they might have abandoned to some extent, due to its long duration. 

With the introduction of T20, there came a number of changes in the world of cricket: from the type of competition (resembling more the soccer league style) to the growth of franchises and from the development of a cricket format, flexible enough to be prioritized for broadcasting rights or even included in the Olympic Games, to the ever-increasing talent pool, becoming feasible from the transferability of cricket to other parts of the world. These changes signaled a new period in the history of one of the oldest sports in the world. 

Undoubtedly, Twenty20 made cricket more popular across the globe. Central to the growing popularity was the contribution of the IPL, which now stands at the top of most valuable leagues in the world. T20 cricket made everything easier for the spectators, the audiences, and the fans of course. 

Cricket matches became easier to watch, easier to follow, more consumable, less boring, and much more entertaining and exciting because everything was compressed into a three-and-a-half-hour game. In addition, cricket fans were able to enjoy great cricket talent and skills showcased by players, especially as the shorter version of a cricket game required everything to be faster, quicker, and more dynamic. 

But it’s not only that cricket talent began to get largely unfolded, it is also that new kinds of skills started to be demonstrated on the pitch, making cricket a somehow different and diverse sport than it has been known. Batters and bowlers are required to develop cricketing skills to suit the new format. Players need to be more aggressive, more determined, and quick in their decision-making as they don’t have the time to stop and think and much more precise if they want to perform well in Twenty20 cricket. They need to do everything in fast-forward and this is far from what Test cricket has been all about. 

However, the perks of T20 overshadow any changes that may be considered core transformations to the sport. The fact that with this format, cricket can reach global audiences, introduce new cultures to the sport, and make the sport more accessible to people who are non-familiar with the game, often outweighs any concerns expressed by the more traditionalist views. 

There’s still a huge part of cricket’s fanbase that believes that Twenty20 is just messing with the real beauty of the sport. The changes fueled by the shorter format have nothing but affected the way cricket has been played for centuries. 

The whole beauty of cricket is not in the speed and striving for hitting and bowling. It’s in the accuracy, the temperament, the build-up of tension, the patience, the energy, and the endurance.

Longer formats enable these qualities, while shorter versions like T20 or even more T10 cricket give prominence to other features of the sport, which haven’t been quite attached to cricket from its very beginning or its origins. Shorter formats hamper the beauty of cricket, even if they get to make cricket more widely popular because they distort its essence and the very core thing that cricket is about. 

It seems that Twenty20 cricket - or the far shorter format, the T10 cricket - delivers other purposes than meets the eye. They are aiming at taking cricket globally, exposing massive audiences to the sport and making it a dominant betting market among traditional gambling platforms or even crypto betting sites. But they are messing with its core and its beauty - or at least, the beauty that cricket lovers see in the game. 

 

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