Indulging the Twenty20 debate

I have been reading a lot these days about the so-called success of this format and how it may be the “future of cricket”.

Appropos the following posts:

Vision: Twenty20 (Or, cricket as it can be) — Smoke Signals

India ‘secures future of Twenty20’ — Mukul Kesavan

While all the above pieces are written beautifully, I am afraid I do not share their optimism. Not yet, anyway.

Twenty20 is such a craze today because India won the World Cup in this format.

All the chatter about “quality pitches”, “canny bowlers on equal keel with rampaging batsmen”, “triumph of youth and exuberance” is just a side-show. All this talk would probably have been inconsequential if the final was played between Australia and South Africa (as an aside, most of what Australia seems boring, but everything that South Africa does is boring).

For those of us who have been following cricket for the last decade and a half, it is time to question if we are cricket fans in general or Indian cricket fans. Do we really love the game or do we just want to watch India win ?

The average Indian cricket fan in the 90’s was afflicted by a dangerous virus: lets call it the “switch-off-the-TV-when-Sachin-gets-out” syndrome. Over the years, this virus has survived under various strains: “let-us-demolish-a-cricketer’s-home-when-we-lose-a-match” syndrome,
“let-us-criticize-the-team’s-performance-in-Parliament-instead-of-worrying-about-the-nation” syndrome etc. And it has done well…

So, let us not jump the gun on Twenty20. Its future (in India, atleast) depends on what happens in the next version in 2009.

In fact the above rant is superfluous. Mukul Kesavan himself has written the definitive piece on this …read here.

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