Thursday, 13 January 2011

Test, One Day, or 20/20

As I have mentioned many times I don’t like cricket eh, oh no, I love it, haha. Anyway humour aside I do like to watch and even play cricket, it was a game I was not bad at as a child, but never played enough to get any better at. Hopefully that might change soon.

Digressing again, which form of cricket do I like the best, well that depends on who is playing? I will say I prefer the long game, Test Cricket is definitely the least popular because to most people it is boring, dull, and uninteresting, where nothing seems to happen for long periods of time and then after all this time, it can end up a draw. To me that is missing the point of Test Cricket. I see it as a chess match, a battle of wits and nerves, of skill and determination, as Kipling writes, “Can you keep your head when all around you are losing theirs”. You need to be mentally tough to play Test Cricket, and it’s also a lot to do with statistics, which I also like; highest averages, big scores, most wickets, etc, etc. If you are a professional cricketer, the pinnacle of your sport is to play Test Cricket for your country, if you are English or Australian, it is to play and win the Ashes. I know this sounds boring, but I find parts of test cricket, extremely exciting, nail biting at times. When England was on the verge of beating Australia, in 05 at Edgbaston, on the Sunday morning of the 4th day; believe me that was nerve-racking stuff to watch. We just managed to beat them by 2 runs.

One day cricket you could say is more exciting especially when you get down to the end, but there is less skill involved or should I say a different type of skill. I still like to watch it, but I am not enthused as much by the shorter format, as I am with Test Cricket. One day cricket like Test Cricket was started in England in the 70’s I think, but became popular down under when Kerry Packer started his own World Series Cricket. Since then we have had One Day World Cups, and though popular, to me it’s just not the same as Test Cricket. If you ever look at the one day game, the players who are only noted as one day cricketers are not held in the same high esteem as the best Test Cricketers. I have also heard with the introduction of 20/20, One Dayers may be phased out altogether. I think that would be a shame because it is a good stepping stone between the other two formats, the slow Test and the super fast 20/20. One of the most exciting and possibly the greatest cricket match ever played was in this format, South Africa v Australia; it was being shown on Sky. I switched it on by accident, the Aussies were batting and they scored 6, after 6, after 6, and racked up a World Record 434, at the time no team had went near to 400 runs in a One Day game. Then the South Africans came out to bat, and well they just went for it, they had nothing to lose, it was one of those fantasy games you make up as a kid, in which ever sport you like. In Britain you could say it was one of the ‘Roy of the Rovers’ moments. South Africa hammered the ball all over the park, scoring 6’s and 4’s just as easily as the Aussies, and in the last over they hit the winning runs scoring a new World Record of 438 beating the Aussies, it was an incredible match to watch. Nearly 900 runs in a day, quite unbelievable and something that will never happen again unfortunately.

Twenty/20 or however it is written, is probably one of the fastest growing sports and initially I thought might become one of the biggest sports in the world; and it still might. If test cricket is about control, and skill, then 20/20 is wham bam, quick exciting form of the game. Or at least it was to begin with, in the beginning there were a lot of big scores by eager batsmen, belting the ball out of the ground, the first 20/20 World Cup in South Africa was brilliant to watch because of this. Lots of 6’s and 4’s, US style razzmatazz, I honestly thought this would be the game to sell to the Americans and it still maybe, its far more exciting than baseball. The problem I found with 20/20 happened when the bowlers figured out how to stifle the batsmen, stopping massive scores as many 6’s and 4’s and making the game less interesting. Hopefully considering it is still a fledgling sport it will find a happy medium in the middle. Yesterdays 20/20 Australia v England was exciting, nail biting right down to the last ball, but the scores were mediocre. Still 20/20 is popular with the average sports lover, who does not want to sit around all day, it can be more family orientated, and may eventually become popular in countries that presently do not play cricket. Still it does not take away the fact that even though 20/20 players can now be paid vast sums of money, especially in the IPL (Indian Premier League) the best test cricketers sometimes prefer to miss it out knowing their legacy is made in the longer game.

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