Twenty20 cricket February 4, 2010

Twenty20 founder warns of overkill

Cricinfo staff

Stuart Robertson, the ECB marketing man who devised Twenty20, has warned that too much of the shortest version could result in overkill. Robertson, who was the brain behind Twenty20 cricket when the ECB was looking to boost revenue and attendances back in 2000, also urged organisers to limit the format to domestic tournaments.

"Twenty20 was always designed as a game for counties or states or provinces and it was devised to address the declining audiences at domestic level [in county cricket]," Robertson, now Hampshire's corporate director, told AAP. "I don't mind Twenty20s being used as a curtain-raiser for an international series, to have one or two to whet the appetite for more cricket coming up, so long as they don't overdo it. If nothing else gives there is a risk of there being too much Twenty20."

Robertson believed Twenty20 was a good way to spread cricket into smaller nations. "After we [England] got over the shock of our national side being beaten by Holland, I realised that in the future if this is the game to take cricket into new markets such as Holland then it's absolutely brilliant," he said.

Despite the massive fan following that Twenty20 enjoys the world across, Robetson was cautious of big international names to cut short their careers to focus on lucrative tournaments such as the IPL.

"If international players are coming out of their careers a bit prematurely then there would be a bit of an issue with it," he said. "But if it's guys like [Shane] Warne and [Adam] Gilchrist and [Andrew] Flintoff, who are a bit injury-laden and coming to the end of their careers, and want to keep going in Twenty20 and get a bit of reward then that's fine."