The dramatic entry of the twenty twenty cricket into the Indian cricket scene and the apparent success made me write this piece.
Many large cities of the country boast well built spacious stadia exclusively meant for playing cricket. The spectator capacity varies from 35000 to 100,000! Except for a few days in a year most of these facilities remain unutilized or underutilized. With the introduction of 20/20 cricket, most of these stadia have come alive with spectators jamming the stands. Imagine over 50 matches held over a three months time! It is a win win situation for the players, the corporate backers and the paying cricket crazy public. These matches have thrown open the doors of riches to many players who have had no hope of making it to the national squad and to many ex players who are past their prime and many players from other countries who for one reason or the other fine themselves free to take part in these matches, Needless to say that money plays a very important role in motivating these players to play in these matches, hereafter called as Indian premier league! India’s darling, M.S.Dhoni reportedly was bought by a corporate house for 6000,000 rupees! For those who want to know what it is in dollars, the going rate is 40 Rs per dollar. The glitz and glamour is provided by film stars and business tycoons who have made use of this opportunity to become more visible and sell their wares.
Now let me come to the bad part of the show
Test cricket as we know now, played over five days with bowlers and batsmen trying to excel in the traditional manner of play, seem to be on its way out. The days of the square cut, the drive are over. The spectacle of a fast bowler running up to bowl with three slips and a gully waiting for the edged catch, may not be available for the next gen of cricket lovers. In 20/20 there is no place for the slip, he is needed to guard the boundary to catch the lofted pull or punch. The days of Tedulkars, Dravids and Gangulys will give way to others who will master the art of innovating new array of strokes and the batsmen will rule the game. Money bags and not the discerning cricket lover will dictate how this game is going to be played and who plays it. Genuine lovers of the game will find it tough to understand the new and changed rules of how the game is played. This shorter version which is over in 120 minutes with guaranteed result and short lived excitement is prime time viewing and going by the ratings, all other channels have taken a beating. Why watch the important news channel when the 20/20 match is on?
The ugly part
The spectacle of batsman trying to scoop the ball over the wicket keeper’s head and getting applauded in the bargain! The sight of a batsman rising on his toes and coming down on a ball like hitting a golf ball with a pitching wedge! Such an ugly sight but effective stroke in getting runs! The sight of the ball disappearing over the square leg boundary from a ball pitched ouside the off stump! Blasphemy. Then there is less than acceptable sight of men and women behaving like demented dervishes, in the stands and of players spitting allover in the playing area in the full glare of the TV cameras. But then, these are changing times and who will listen to the lamentation of an old fool like me!