Monday, September 7, 2009

Twenty20 Tests matches in the offing ?

Now that Sachin Tendulkar has come out with a new proposal to save the 50-over format, cricket administrators may give it a serious thought.

There is no doubt that the advent of Twenty20 cricket has made the ODI format of the game appear a trifle boring, particularly in the middle overs. The slam-bang nature of T20 ensures that most of the matches head towards a nail-biting finish. The same cannot be said of ODIs.

Tendulkar's views have already thrown open a debate on whether the International Cricket Council should tinker with the 50-over format to make it more interesting. Like always, the cricketing fraternity is divided.

Strangely, when T20 was introduced, many felt it would sound the death knell for Test cricket. But it now seems the traditional format is in no danger of extinction.

But even before the champion batsman publicly spoke of the need to split the ODI games into two innings, the move of starting a Twenty20 Test match had already been set into motion by some cricket experts.

Many former Indian players are not averse to the idea though some of them question whether it would suit the needs of spectators, who have lapped up the slam-bang version for its quick results.

The new format has been mooted by cricket experts and  broadly envisages a Twenty20 match in two innings of 20 overs each. In other words, the match will have four innings like in Tests but would be restricted to a total of 80 overs (40 for each team in two innings).

The idea of two innings mainly stems from the fact that it would give an opportunity to top players, who fail in the opening essay to make amends in the second innings.

Moreover, the proposal has innovations like each team would be allowed to make two substitutions in the second innings.

Although the proposal has not been formally submitted to the ICC, many Indian cricketers like former captain Chandu Borde and Syed Kirmani have supported the idea. Others like former captain Ajit Wadekar, Sandeep Patil and Erapalli Prasanna are not sure whether it will work.

"It (proposal) sounds interesting and worth experimenting. Also if one team does not do well in the first innings it has a chance to do well in the second. Not a bad idea, but it would be better if it's tried out at a lower level, at the club or state level, to see how it works, but it definitely looks to be an interesting concept," Borde said.

Sandeep Patil, a former India cricketer and coach, said it was necessary to take the views of the sponsors, teams and players before proposing such a format.

"It's the ICC's take. First of all it has to be seen whether it's logical. A lot of money is involved and it's
important to take the views of the sponsors, teams and  players.

Former India stumper Kirmani wanted his modifications in the format.

"It will become little laborious and spectators will not be able to get the result in quick time. The present T20
format can be played in two innings of four 10-overs-a-side in a match which would mean the team that opts to bat will play the first 10 overs and then the rivals and the same is repeated for the second time," he suggested.

Prasanna, however, was not in favour of introducing such a format.

"It should not be done as the sheen of the format is taken away. The present T-20 format is comparable to Fast Food at McDonalds," he said.

Former India captain Ajit Wadekar is worried that stretching the match to 80 overs could take interest away from the game as the spectators would have to wait longer for the results.

"It will lose its sheen if played in two innings a side. The present slam-bang style is the reason why more spectators watch the matches. If people are to wait longer for a result, the charm of the format is lost," he said.

The ICC, on its part, said that such proposals are referred to the Cricket Committee, which decides whether they can be sent for further deliberations.

"The process is that the proposal is discussed by the Cricket Committee first. After deliberating on the issue and if it wants the proposal to go ahead, it is moved to the Chief Executive's Committee and ultimately to the Executive Board which is the final decision making authority of the ICC," an ICC spokesman said.

Picture: PTI

No comments: