May 10, 2010

ICC World Twenty20

What's hurting the ICC World Twenty20?

Aakash Chopra
The backdrop tells the story as Chris Gayle walks back to the pavilion, West Indies v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, ICC World Twenty20, Bridgetown, May 7, 2010
"I'm sure that the charm of the World Twenty20 won't be wasted on the followers only if the timings and the venue is more appropriate"  © Getty Images
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Why compare the ICC World Twenty20 tournament with the IPL at all? Anyone who knows and understands his cricket would give his right arm for the bigger, mature and more accomplished contest of the two. Of course, grumbles about the Twenty20 World Cup being a bit humdrum are growing. No doubt, the ICC version comes across as the plain-Jane of the Twenty20 format, especially after a dekko at the swankier IPL. The reasons though, could not be cricketing but purely commercial and logistical.

Timing The World Twenty20 is happening on the heels of the IPL, which is certainly quite an overdose of this format. However much you like the sport and the format, there's bound to be some viewer fatigue. Devout followers will still watch, but even they would choose their games. People who started following the sport only because of the IPL are most likely to give it a miss.

And it's not just the timing of the tournament but also the timings of the matches which are detrimental to its following. To cater to the Indian audience, matches start at 9.30 am local time. But is it fair to expect the locals and tourists to flock the stadium? For example St Lucia, where India played their league matches, is a small tourist destination. How can you expect the tourists to wake up and be at the ground at 8am for the morning match? With hardly any live audience the atmosphere in the stadium goes for a toss. Unfortunately even starting that early isn't solving all the problems. The second game starts at 11 pm IST and which means the match goes on till 2.30am. Regardless of how good the match is, most of the Indian audience will turn off their TV sets after midnight during weekdays.

Following Since the IPL is an Indian tournament with Indian players involved in every game, a decent turnout in every stadium is guaranteed. But that's not the case in the West Indies. Yes, they might come in droves to watch their home team in action, but one cannot blame them for not turning up to watch an India-Afghanistan game.

For me, another thing that is not exactly working for the World Twenty20's is that all the matches are day games. The idea of donning coloured clothing and playing with the white ball was to add to the visual appeal. And that appeal can truly manifest itself if the matches are played under artificial lights. While you can have an odd day-game in coloured clothing, having all the games during day time is a dampener.

What we should be talking about is the cricket, not the paraphernalia. Obviously, we've been somewhat blinded by the glitz. But if comparisons are inevitable, then the World Twenty20 sweeps it away hands down - firstly, there's no bigger honour than representing your country and no bigger charm than rooting for your country. Secondly, the quality of cricket played in the World Twenty20 is definitely a lot better than that of the IPL, for obvious reasons. The clash is always amongst the equals and you're always bowling to or batting against a quality bowler which is equal to quality cricket.

I'm sure that the charm won't be wasted on the followers only if the timings and the venue is more appropriate.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Keywords: Administration, World Twenty20

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Posted by Rupam on (May 24, 2010, 7:49 GMT)

Hmmm.... d quality of d IPL teams was clear wen none of d indian teams qualified for d semis of CLT20.... Itz only about d 4 foreign players, dey r running each team...

Posted by Rahul on (May 13, 2010, 18:15 GMT)

Well well...no one has watched the IPL, yet all of them know that there are advertisements between overs and within overs, dance and drama, bollywood etc..wonder if they have even seen the TRPs of the T20 WC vis-a-vis the IPL in their own country. All they need to do is check the figure and they will be surprised to know that IPL had a better TRP rating than the T20 WC in their own countries and I am not even talking abt India here..As for someone who mentioned IPL has no history whereas EPL has history, seems to lack comprehension and has a distorted view. One both sports are different and when football leagues came up a 100 years ago, even they would have had no history. So i fail to understand when people compare club football which has been around since the days of test cricket with the length of the IPL. As for those who criticise IPL of being a money maker..news for them..all popular sports in the world are money makers...demise of cricket in WI is due to money in the NBA,etc.

Posted by Bindhu Sindhu on (May 12, 2010, 11:58 GMT)

I agree 2 many indian commentators and ex players when commentating on a game act as if India is the only participant.

take last night. The indian-Sri lankan game. I was watching in england on sky tv. As the match got to the stage where sri lanka needed 51 off 30 balls, all the indian commentator could talk about ad nauseum and repetitivelly was "the magic figure of 143 which india need to keep sri lanka restricted to" and this "all important figure of 143" . I was like what the hell????!!!!! WHat What happened to describing the action that is actually unfolding in terms of the sporting contest and permuntations for everyone. The way the indian commentator was talking it was as if Sri Lanka were irrelevent, the sporting contest was irrelevent, sri lanka had no hopes of qualifying themselves!. I think it was harsha patel. Eventually the co commentator who was west indian lost patience & butted in 2 tell the viewer sri lanka werent thinking of 143 they were trying to win a close game

Posted by Kovac on (May 12, 2010, 11:22 GMT)

Champagne comedy, this article. Was it written in front of your PC, with your Tendulkas screen saver, sitting there in your MS Dhoni pyjamas? Wake up! Cricket is played outside of India. Much respect to your comedy, but zero to your knowledge of cricket. This World Cup has been a breath of fresh air in comparrison to the insipid and pointless IPL.

Posted by Sindhu Bindhu on (May 12, 2010, 11:20 GMT)

I used to follow cricket in the 1980's and early 1990's as a young boy. Somewhere around the early 2000's due probably to the overexposure of cricket and my inability to have a sky subscription.......I stopped following anything other than ashes series's.

I came back to cricket these last 2 years.20/20 cricket at first seemed to me an abhorration and vulgar distortion. But these last two years i have made an effort to watch the ICC t20 world cups and they have been tremendous events full of excitement and yes crickets nuances as well. On the other hand even though the IPL has aired for free in the UK it to me is a gross vulgar distortion of cricket. There are 2 good international players than 2 good indian players the rest are rubbish. The whole event has an air of indian smugness and contrived propoganda about it. The team names are ridiculous and the clubs have no history like say a man utd or liverpool or the clubs in the champions league or EPL. matches are boring 2 in the ipl

Posted by Looch on (May 12, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

Strange article Aakash, this has been a fantastic tournament, miles ahead of anything the IPL served up (I'm talking about the actual cricket been played as opposed to the bright and shiny peripheries)! Sorry Kasi, I read this blog before I was aware that it was for "Indians Only"! I'll have to remember that one the next time Ian Chappell/Tony Cozier/Osman Sammiudin are abused in the comments for some incorrectly perceived slight against some thing Indian. I was curious to see that you don't watch 80% of the world cup matches, for me, the whole point of the World Cup is to see the best team and cricketers in the world, the NZ v Pak super 8 game was tremendous and I enjoyed the whole match, but I don't support either team!! To Krishna, IPL maybe fun and lots of people say they watch it, but it is a substandard competition that is unable to produce quality players.

Posted by John M on (May 12, 2010, 2:45 GMT)

Personally, I had no interest in the IPL (just a lot of fake teams made up for marketing purposes) so I'm not watching two tournaments in a row. I don't find 20/20 cricket very appealing, but I do like to cheer for England, so I'm enjoying seeing them do well. As for the future, I don't much care when or where they stage events. 20/20 will never replace test cricket as a true test of skill, strategy and mental toughness. I'll leave the slam bam thank you ma'am stuff to those who can't appreciate real cricket.

Posted by Sunil Modi on (May 12, 2010, 2:25 GMT)

Super eights, three in three (we are talking losses here not wins) now India can get back and lick their wounds and protect their property from their own kind. In retrospect it might have been better if Bangladesh or Afghanistan came in to the super eights......No competition from India just like the IPL which I think will now be played by the Bollywood stars themselves.....

Posted by Taz on (May 11, 2010, 22:30 GMT)

The reason it's timed for the Indian Audience is simple, a majority of the sponsors for tournament are indian based, hence the reason why they want it on Indian prime time tv, so they can advertise their brand's back to there domestic audiences and globally at the same time to the rest of the world. Also add to that the Indian players have just come off the back of a 6 week IPL Tournament and the time difference between India and West Indies and it was too much to adjust for them. They are only human. I also get the distinct feeling from some of the Indian players that they are earning so much money in the IPL they aren't bothered what they do for the national team and that some of them don't want to serve under Dhoni any more which is a shame, as he is a very good captain and would have a very good team if they all supported him.

Posted by ravi on (May 11, 2010, 21:50 GMT)

I dont want to comment to Akash's post, but would certainly say one thing. Who ever argued Akash was wrong , never said whether the timings were fine for their respective countries or not. Not sure if everybody just wanted to blame IPL. And its not just for India, there are 3 subcontinentel Teams playing in World Cup. And i feel the timings right now are perfectly fine ,as one of the member said , this is the best solution for the Timings(At 09:30Am and 01 PM).All are premeditated to blame India and IPL. I am extremely dissapointed and probably feel some people did not like the ban on their teams for playing in IPL(I am sure that will not effect them at all, as the bigger thing is to play in World cup.)..And guys one more thing is being less number of matches has Luck as a great factor... Consider Pakisthan's entry into final..... Finally just wanted to say , i am just a passerby on this site, and just hurt after seeing so many absurd comments on India and IPL.Request you not to relate

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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