Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Cricket and the discussion over the Twenty 20 Lottery
Twenty20 cricket is often described as being a lottery. Is this a fair description? Does it do the game justice?
Cricket is one of the oldest games on the planet. As with every great sport it seems (cricket, tennis, golf) the English invent it and then the rest of the world beat them at it. It's just a matter of time.
The same thing happened with cricket's newest form of the game - Twenty 20. The English invented it and it was first showcased on the county circuit. Since its inception there have been two Twenty20 world cups with the victors emerging from the subcontinent - India winning in the inaugural event in 2007 and Pakistan emerging victorious in England in 2009. With the third twenty20 world cup in the Caribbean only a few days away it's time to make a few predictions on the potential outcome of the tournament...
Here's the thing. The cricket purists of the game don't like Twenty20 that much. There is a perception that Twenty20 cricket tips the game even further in the favour of the batsmen and against the bowler. Furthermore, many suggest that the shorter format of the game reduces it to a bit of a lottery. In just 20 overs either side can win and it just comes down to who can ride their luck the most.
Now I'd be the first to admit that I love test cricket. For my money it is the pinnacle of the game that should be the measure of any cricketer. But at the same time there is great beauty in the Twenty20 game. Bit hitting makes those people that don't even consider themselves cricket fans stand up and take notice. We've seen a level of excitement in the game that looked like perennially waning. T20 cricket has seen the advent of some of the most innovative shots to ever be seen - the most notable is of course the Dilscoop, but we've also seen the constant evolving nature of both the reverse and conventional sweep. It's all testament to how multi faceted cricket is and just how great a game it truly is.
But is it really that much of a lottery? There's a school of thought out there to suggest it isn't. Here's why. Spin has played a prominent role. Bowlers actually win matches as well as batsmen (whilst their figures don't look good in conventional terms). And finally, teams that have more matchwinners in their sides over the course of a tournament tend to go further.
Of course there is a flipside, but can we truly call Twenty20 cricket a lottery?
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