May 26, 2009

Who needs first-class cricket?

Why the success of the IPL may mean that domestic cricket could lose its value as a stepping stone to the Test platform
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Most cricket clubs have a few older players still good enough for first XI selection who nonetheless prefer to muck about around in the second XI, usually on the grounds that it's time to "give the kids a go", although often as not because they like the easy runs and cheap wickets available when playing slightly beneath one's class. Did the second season of the IPL give a foretaste of a similar phenomenon in the global game?

Eight of the Australian team appearing at the Oval against West Indies on 6 June for the ICC World Twenty20 will be there because they are their country's best players. Three will be there because Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne are not playing, having demonstrated in South Africa that if they are overripe for Test selection, they still ooze juice in Twenty20. For champions Deccan Chargers and semi-finalists Chennai Super Kings respectively, Gilchrist and Hayden hammered a total of 1067 runs at a strike-rate of 148.2; Warne took 14 wickets at 26, gave away just 7.3 an over, and threw himself around in the field.

The trio looked, moreover, to have worked the format to their advantage, perhaps because South African conditions asked more questions of cricketers than the benign and controlled environments of the first season - which, all in all, actually made for some very interesting viewing in the cricket breaks between the advertisements.

Hayden was unrecognisable from the stumblebum who shuffled out of Test cricket to the sound of his own feet in January; Gilchrist was entirely recognisable, as international cricket's most electrifying hitter for the last decade. And not since Rififi has there been a bigger heist than the Rajasthan Royals' comeback against Mumbai Indians at Kingsmead on May 14, with Warne winkling out Ajinkya Rahane, then Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar, and finally throwing the ball to Munaf Patel for that larcenous final over.

Age and endurance might have been a problem had Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne been pitted in a longer format, but Twenty20 is a basic form of the game, so players with good basics prosper - see also Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. So ask yourself, who do you think opening bowlers in the World Twenty20 would prefer to bowl to? Hayden and Gilchrist or David Warner and Brad Haddin, good cricketers that they are? And who would a batsman sooner back himself against? Warne or Nathan Hauritz?

Okay, so it won't happen: Australia's selectors are as likely to borrow Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne from the IPL as a Pakistan team-mate is to borrow Shoaib Akhtar's protector. The reason is, of course, that the three are officially "retired" from "all forms of the game". But that is actually all. To clarify the situation, I enquired with Cricket Australia a few weeks ago about whether Australian players had to be chosen from within the ranks of Australian domestic cricketers. The answer took a little while coming back, but it was a no.

Where "unretired" players were concerned, it could be a little more complicated: for instance, for the purposes of the calculation of provident-fund entitlements (the superannuation scheme for Australian players, which operates on a sliding scale favourable to those with more games), the player would apparently be considered to be starting his career again rather than resuming after a break. But the inference of the reply was intriguing: that, theoretically, nothing prevented David Warner playing only for Delhi Daredevils and Australia - he need not play for New South Wales. Nor, it implied, was there any impediment to, say, Phillip Hughes devoting himself full time to banana farming at 25, and only coming to town for Test matches and to represent the Chittagong Challenge Rider Kings or whoever has been added to the IPL by 2014-15.

If you were a West Indian, how would you be feeling towards the Test cricket that your captain regards as such servitude? Would you perhaps be just a little envious of your pal Dwayne Bravo's Mumbai-Indians payday?

For Australians the IPL seems a distant affair, on television at an ungodly hour, involving a kaleidoscope of uniforms and a cacophony of commentary, and competing for attention, none too successfully, with the clamourings of the various football codes. Yet the gravitational pull it is exerting on cricket here is no less significant for its subtlety. Already there has been one instance of an Australian-born player jumping the queue to national selection because of IPL feats, in the form of Shaun Marsh, who aside from back-to-back 70s against South Africa last summer hasn't quite substantiated his Kings XI Punjab reputation. A potential long-term development might be a gifted Australian under-19 player talent scouted by an IPL franchise, coming thereby to the attention of an English county or a South African province, and presenting for national selection having bypassed his country's first-class structure altogether.

How much, meanwhile, would Andrew Symonds be looking forward to the prospect of starting next season back in the Sheffield Shield, having partaken of the lotuses of IPL but missed out again on Ashes selection - probably his last chance? The disaffected player once had no choice but to accept the bad with the good. But why mess around with Snakes & Ladders if you can simply play Monopoly?

Among the players of the Test-playing nations, of course, Australians are better off than most. The baggy green is lined with crisp green. If you were a West Indian, however, how would you be feeling towards the Test cricket that your captain regards as such servitude? Would you perhaps be just a little envious of your pal Dwayne Bravo's Mumbai-Indians payday? And look 10 years hence; who will wish to be playing international cricket over the age of 30 if it becomes an inhibition on one's earning capacity, as indeed members of Gayle's team in England already appear to regard it, and if Lalit Modi is as good as his word in mooting a second IPL tournament every year?

These are among the questions that the irresistible rise of IPL continues to pose, and the influence it promises to wield, while remaining, of course, as we're incessantly reminded, simply an Indian "domestic" tournament - albeit shaped over the last six weeks in South Africa, even more than last year, chiefly by the talents of players from other countries. This ICC World Twenty20 is one thing; by the next, chances are, cricket will look different again, with the imponderable being not who might be there but who might not.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • skks on May 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    The implication of this article seems to be that IPL ( or is it the T20 format ?) is not the best place to groom future cricketers that would play for national teams . This is an unnecessary worry - if thats the case the players who took the short-cut ( i.e. IPL) to national team wouldn't perform well in the long run which would make the national selectors look at the First-class pool again.

  • TwitterJitter on May 28, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    Number_5: To add to my earlier point, it is good that Poms and Aussies follow Ashes passionately and it will be good for test cricket when many other teams take a few of their test series as seriously. I don't go out of my way posting comments on Ashes thread saying "Who cares about Ashes?" because it is lame and meaningless for me to post such a comment on a series between Aussies and England. You never found it lame to post such comments on a IPL thread and so you will get to hear what others think of Ashes too. Also, the reason IPL gets more coverage on cricinfo is because the website hits go up drastically during IPL and overall 70% of hits to cricinfo comes from India(65%),Pakistan(7%) and USA(5%). Poms(2.7%) and Aussies(1.6%) together account for 4.3% of this website hits. If you don't beleive me, go to alexa.com and search for stats on "cricinfo.com". So cricinfo covers topics its readers would like to see.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 28, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    Perhaps, first class cricket, T20 cricket and international cricket complement each other.But if a person was asked, what makes a person more interested, the IPL, or the T20 world cup, then what would the answer be? T20, first class and test cricket are completely different disciplines, and those who take part in these disciplines, use completely different attitudes and approaches to cricket. What I would like to ask is, why not get more funds into test cricket, and one day internationals? There is no comparision between a nailbiter of a test match, and a similar T20 match. The test match affords more to the viewer, than the T20 match. To the player, the IPL is more attractive, because of the pecuniary benefits. But he risks loosing his identity as an individual, if he indulges in team hopping. The ICC World Cup is not cricket's premier tournament, for nothing.

  • Sriram.Dayanand on May 28, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Yanni, Rififi is a classic heist movie made by Jules Dassin who was forced to leave the U.S.A during McCarthy's communist witch hunts. It has what is considered the definitive hesist sequence, a masterful 30 minutes where not a word is spoken during the entire "act". Just a gem of a movie and the grand-daddy of all the "mission impossibles" that came later.

    Anyways, I was delighted to see Gideon refer to it, one of my favourite movies in his excellent (as always) article.

  • sap1979 on May 28, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    @ Number_5 its true no one outside australia and the english upper class care two hoots about ashes. Barring 2005, which was an aberration without the likes of Mc Grath I may add, have almost been mediocre to say the least. All ashes does is give the aussies a free pass to rake up precious ICC rating points. Its about time ashes is reduced to a best of 3 contest.

  • TwitterJitter on May 28, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Number_5: Outside of Australia and England, not many really care much about Ashes. It may be unfathomable for you to comprehend but it is true. There may be casual followers given all the hype, but most people in other countries will follow their own teams if they have a series scheduled at the time. You can keep throwing around words like "tainted view of India cricket fans" but that it is not going to change the facts. Indians follow their teams games passionately along with IPL. I am sure you don't care much for games India plays in or IPL for that matter as you mentioned earlier. So, I am not sure why you are so surprised that not many other than your two nations care about your bilateral test series. It is natural. That is why throwing around sentences like "who cares about IPL" on this forum is lame and meaningless because no one expects you to just like you shouldn't expect us to watch yours.

  • bludayvil on May 28, 2009, 2:49 GMT

    @Number_5: No, the Aussies are not the only ones who care about the Ashes (I do and I'm not a Pom either). But do you really want to argue whether the IPL or the Ashes generates greater worldwide interest?

    I call myself a purist, but am willing to acknowledge when a Test cricket fan like me is in the minority.

  • Number_5 on May 28, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    Once again the passion of Indian cricket fans has tainted their view of the game. BangaloreKid do you really think the Aussies are the only one's who care about the Ashes? Get you hand off it mate....

  • RebeloRocky on May 27, 2009, 18:07 GMT

    Cricket is the ultimate winner in any format of cricket. No Sachins, No Laras and No Gillies

  • lvrplfc4l on May 27, 2009, 17:09 GMT

    Yanni, "Rififi" is a 1955 French movie made by blacklisted American director Jules Dassin. Traffaut called it the "best crime film I've ever seen" and it won Dassin Best Direct at the Cannes Film Festival that year.

  • skks on May 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    The implication of this article seems to be that IPL ( or is it the T20 format ?) is not the best place to groom future cricketers that would play for national teams . This is an unnecessary worry - if thats the case the players who took the short-cut ( i.e. IPL) to national team wouldn't perform well in the long run which would make the national selectors look at the First-class pool again.

  • TwitterJitter on May 28, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    Number_5: To add to my earlier point, it is good that Poms and Aussies follow Ashes passionately and it will be good for test cricket when many other teams take a few of their test series as seriously. I don't go out of my way posting comments on Ashes thread saying "Who cares about Ashes?" because it is lame and meaningless for me to post such a comment on a series between Aussies and England. You never found it lame to post such comments on a IPL thread and so you will get to hear what others think of Ashes too. Also, the reason IPL gets more coverage on cricinfo is because the website hits go up drastically during IPL and overall 70% of hits to cricinfo comes from India(65%),Pakistan(7%) and USA(5%). Poms(2.7%) and Aussies(1.6%) together account for 4.3% of this website hits. If you don't beleive me, go to alexa.com and search for stats on "cricinfo.com". So cricinfo covers topics its readers would like to see.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 28, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    Perhaps, first class cricket, T20 cricket and international cricket complement each other.But if a person was asked, what makes a person more interested, the IPL, or the T20 world cup, then what would the answer be? T20, first class and test cricket are completely different disciplines, and those who take part in these disciplines, use completely different attitudes and approaches to cricket. What I would like to ask is, why not get more funds into test cricket, and one day internationals? There is no comparision between a nailbiter of a test match, and a similar T20 match. The test match affords more to the viewer, than the T20 match. To the player, the IPL is more attractive, because of the pecuniary benefits. But he risks loosing his identity as an individual, if he indulges in team hopping. The ICC World Cup is not cricket's premier tournament, for nothing.

  • Sriram.Dayanand on May 28, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    Yanni, Rififi is a classic heist movie made by Jules Dassin who was forced to leave the U.S.A during McCarthy's communist witch hunts. It has what is considered the definitive hesist sequence, a masterful 30 minutes where not a word is spoken during the entire "act". Just a gem of a movie and the grand-daddy of all the "mission impossibles" that came later.

    Anyways, I was delighted to see Gideon refer to it, one of my favourite movies in his excellent (as always) article.

  • sap1979 on May 28, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    @ Number_5 its true no one outside australia and the english upper class care two hoots about ashes. Barring 2005, which was an aberration without the likes of Mc Grath I may add, have almost been mediocre to say the least. All ashes does is give the aussies a free pass to rake up precious ICC rating points. Its about time ashes is reduced to a best of 3 contest.

  • TwitterJitter on May 28, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Number_5: Outside of Australia and England, not many really care much about Ashes. It may be unfathomable for you to comprehend but it is true. There may be casual followers given all the hype, but most people in other countries will follow their own teams if they have a series scheduled at the time. You can keep throwing around words like "tainted view of India cricket fans" but that it is not going to change the facts. Indians follow their teams games passionately along with IPL. I am sure you don't care much for games India plays in or IPL for that matter as you mentioned earlier. So, I am not sure why you are so surprised that not many other than your two nations care about your bilateral test series. It is natural. That is why throwing around sentences like "who cares about IPL" on this forum is lame and meaningless because no one expects you to just like you shouldn't expect us to watch yours.

  • bludayvil on May 28, 2009, 2:49 GMT

    @Number_5: No, the Aussies are not the only ones who care about the Ashes (I do and I'm not a Pom either). But do you really want to argue whether the IPL or the Ashes generates greater worldwide interest?

    I call myself a purist, but am willing to acknowledge when a Test cricket fan like me is in the minority.

  • Number_5 on May 28, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    Once again the passion of Indian cricket fans has tainted their view of the game. BangaloreKid do you really think the Aussies are the only one's who care about the Ashes? Get you hand off it mate....

  • RebeloRocky on May 27, 2009, 18:07 GMT

    Cricket is the ultimate winner in any format of cricket. No Sachins, No Laras and No Gillies

  • lvrplfc4l on May 27, 2009, 17:09 GMT

    Yanni, "Rififi" is a 1955 French movie made by blacklisted American director Jules Dassin. Traffaut called it the "best crime film I've ever seen" and it won Dassin Best Direct at the Cannes Film Festival that year.

  • Shreyas_441 on May 27, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Gideon - why does cricket have to be a game sans money and a self sacrificing regime which has to be exemplory for all sportsmen/women. if a cricketer earns a buck why does it hurt you and me...if one loves test cricket one should play test cricket...one ca't comment on what one wants to see on television or the stadium. cricketers will play what they want to play, if you don't like it switch it off and watch something else.

    I strongly feel that you should not try to demean cricketers who are making good money out of the IPL or cricket in general. they have a talent and they are professionals, let them do their job.

  • Yaanni on May 27, 2009, 15:07 GMT

    "And not since Rififi has there been a bigger heist......."

    The author mentions some "Rififi" here. I tried google but dint find anything related to it. Can any one please help me on this, what does it exactly refer to? Some daring bank heist or something?

  • NeilCameron on May 27, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    1983worldcup: The writer's use of the word "basic" in the context of the article refers to a player's skills. It is not a term that disparages the players you mention, but praises them.

  • sambo31 on May 27, 2009, 3:30 GMT

    great article Gideon! people may complain about it, but in my eyes cricket really could be going that way!

  • TwitterJitter on May 27, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    Paullie, Give it up mate. Gilchrist, Hayden, Symmo, and Warney are a huge huge upgrade over Haddin, Warner and whomever spinner you put up in ICC T20 that it is even funny that someone is criticizing that point from Gideion. I bet a team of Gilly, Hayden, Warney, McGrath, Langer and a backup domestic squad from Australia will thrash your current Aussie team in T20 by miles that it won't even be a fair competition. Dirk Nannes, the Victorian star bowler got taken to cleaners both times by Gilli that we had to pity Dirk. These are once-in-a-generation players with massive talent and cricket brains too. Although you hate to face them as an opposition, you appreciate what they offer much more once you see them playing for your team. The current Aussie crop does not intimidate any good team like SA, India, or Pakistan. It will only get worse once Symmo and Mike Hussey leave.

  • TwitterJitter on May 27, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    To Number_5 who said, "majority of Australian cricket fans couldnt give a rats about the IPL". I agree. It is just like Indians and the rest of world could not give rats about the Ashes. But mate, you might want to ask Australian players if they don't give rats about IPL? Some of them might say that they don't give rats about Australian fans. Cheers!

  • gzawilliam on May 27, 2009, 2:32 GMT

    That article is just plain stupid. To think that the IPL can be a stepping stone to test cricket is absurd. Hopefully there are systems in place to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Test cricket is about consistency. And its funny to see the only players that were consistent in the IPL this year were test or former test players.

    We need to strengthen all the first class competitions in all countries to improve test cricket not let an influx or sloggers come into test cricket with no respect for the longer format.

    We have seen how well these so called Dynamite twenty 20 players have done in the longer format. Like David Hussey and david warner they struggle because good quality test pitches come up now and then. Not these flat airport runways that teach players you can slog anything if you have a good eye.

    Try and do the same thing in sri lanka in a test series facing Mendis and Murali. See how far it get you.

  • __PK on May 27, 2009, 2:29 GMT

    What an appalling start to the article - claiming three Australians will only be playing in the T20 World Cup because Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne aren't. They're getting runs/bowling well against sides padded with barely first class standard Indian players, playing under unfamiliar conditions, while the CA contracted players are playing opposition. Gilly wants to know whether bowlers would prefer bowling to him or Haddin - why not ask the guy who rolled him for an Orbison in the IPL final? But congrats for the truly tasteless joke about Shoaib Akhtar's protector. Your mum must be very proud.

  • Number_5 on May 26, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    "For Australians the IPL seems a distant affair... and competing for attention, none too successfully, with the clamourings of the various football codes." never a wiser word has been said.

    Dont be under any false illusions, the majority of Australian cricket fans couldnt give a rats about the IPL.

    Test cricket will forever remain king down under, but equally the T20 (not just the IPL) will change the way cricket is structured around the world.

    Test cricket is the ulimate Test of cricket ability..and to suggest just because T20 (and the IPL) generates a stack of cash it will make the ashes "fade away" as per Pratick comments demonstrates the differing "demands" of the cricket market around the world.

    Substance will always rule over style in the long run.

    Bring on the Ashes!!

  • dustydog on May 26, 2009, 22:30 GMT

    You suggest that first class cricket won't survive. Your premise was that: "Most cricket clubs have a few older players still good enough for first XI selection who nonetheless prefer to muck about around in the second XI...etc" I believe that nothing has changed, yes in the first-class game some players enjoy stepping back, but often they help coach youngsters (the likes of Jones and Sellars did it at Mowbray and enjoyed promoting youths like a certain R Ponting) they don't always do it for self-gratification. Hayden hardly covered himself in glory in his last full season of Test and first class cricket ... especially the latter. The IPL allows a quick fix for players, whether new to the shop window or past their sell-by-date, surely it is much easier though to live on your past abilities in the short term than create something lasting in such a limited timeframe. First class cricket will continue to create Test legends, and IPL will be glad of it ... and exploit this for its profits

  • superkings69 on May 26, 2009, 20:17 GMT

    Really nice article. But the anecdote invloving Shoiab Akhtar was comical, in his expense.

  • Spiritofcricket07 on May 26, 2009, 19:36 GMT

    Test cricket is for old people. It will soon face extinction. Let's be honest. There is no way the next generation will watch a game for 5 days when it has a chance to end up in a draw.

  • 1983worldcup on May 26, 2009, 19:26 GMT

    Gideon, I always read your pieces just figure out how much venom an individual can spew. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid did not take 600+ wickets, 10000+ runs with "basic" skills as you seem to indicate. The league has not been just about Hayden, Warne and Gilly and their "superlative" skills as opposed to "basic" skills of some other Indians as you seem to indicate.(Don't get me wrong - I have always loved to watch them except when they play against India :)). You also seem to indicate that IPL could even be a shortcut to the first class toil. That again is up to the individual boards and individual talents. Even your dear friend Gavaskar didn't toil in first class before he arrived in WI. It is just that it is likely work in case of special talents and not "basic" player as Shaun Marsh may or may not turn out to be. Just for change I beg you, pleeeese, write something positive about anything, anything will do, even a scientific analysis of O+ blood group will do, look forward, thanks

  • akp19 on May 26, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    As an avid cricket fan and follower, I am apprehensive of the fading of ultimate cricketing test, the "TEST MATCHES" under the vivacity of T20, so i would like to look at the T20 format/IPL apart from great entertainment value, as a good hunting ground of local talents, who are many a time were a untold story in the 20th century, players like Manish Pandey, Kamran Khan, Abdullah, Ashwin, Virat Kohli, T Suman under the guidance of Greats like - Shane Warne, Matt Hayden, MS Dhoni, Rahul, Kumble, can be turned into the icons as they were/are , and this would be a great asset for their respective countries. At this point, what i believe is T20 has to be optimally fitted into the cricketing fraternity and never take it as a replacement for longer versions of the game because Test Cricket should and will always remain the ultimate assessment of endurance, cricketing prowess, technique and fitness.

  • Bytes4Lunch on May 26, 2009, 19:01 GMT

    Oh Mr, Giddy-eon, when will you bring down the condescending tone towards subcontinental domestic tournaments. I am surprised you are even writing about IPL now, you have been in denial since the day it started. You coined the first season of the IPL in India as "benign and controlled environments", but somehow the second season in South Africa has been to your liking. I would have agreed to these statements made by another unbiased cricket journalist who understands the evolution cricket is going through. But you have been living in the stone ages when it comes to recognizing twenty 20. Wake up and smell the IPL !

  • kingofspain on May 26, 2009, 19:00 GMT

    20/20 has peaked and its appeal and success will diminish in coming years due to its being completely and utterly pointless as well as immediately forgettable.

  • mmoosa on May 26, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    The IPL is about the haves and the have nots-in the former category are the smiling faces and the latter plain sad and jealous ones(players,administrators,journalists) The players and fans love the IPL and 20 over cricket in general.Make no mistake the IPL in South Africa was the most significant breakthrough in its cricket history. 70% of the many many thousands attending had never been to a cricket match before-Modi has to be a marketing genius whether you like him or not. Is the idea of Shaun Tait bowling at close to 160kms to David Warner appealing or Warne to Hayden,Kumble to Tendulkar? At A PACKED Joburg or a packed Eden Gardens? Would you rather watch Andrew Macdonald (good medium pacer) bowl 10 overs for 12 runs against Bangladesh in a test? I love test cricket but it is the administrators who have hurt it and especially 50 over internationals by overcrowding schedules and rendering one dayers meaningless and predictable.Can Modi be blamed for that?

  • TwitterJitter on May 26, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    Good points. Australia is damn lucky to have the likes of Gilchrist, Hayden, McGrath, Warney, and Waugh brothers all playing at one time for Australia not to mention the likes of Symonds. It will never happen again for a long long time. These are all once-in-a-generation type players. You might have another Gilchrist or Hayden or McGrath but it is impossible to get all them in one generation playing together. As for overseas players playing better than domestic squad, isn't that the objective. To have these domestic players play with star calibre players and learn to play in big and tense games? I am sure over a decade new generation of domestic stars will come up. IPL is still a domestic competition. You don't feel it that way now because SPL and P20 have not started yet. Once all them start, you will see that each are their domestic competitions and CLT20 is a meeting point of domestic champions.

  • bugsnspikes on May 26, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    While everyone seems to be overtly concerned about Test match cricket, I haven't seen much being said about One-dayers. T-20 being a compressed version of ODIs, is more likely to wipe out one-day competition rather than the tests. These two formats belong to the same genre of cricket and the world may not be big enough for them both. Tests on the other hand are a completely different flavour of cricket and there will always be takers. The introduction of ODIs in the 70s did not kill the tests.

  • Nampally on May 26, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    The domestic cricket will still be the basis for the test selection irrespective of IPL success. Skills required of 20/20 format & test cricket are different. Even the field setting rules for the 2 formats & boundary lines are different. Shorter boundary in IPL and restrictions on out fielders promotes batsmen to go for big lofty hits most of them may be fly balls caught by out fielders in the test cricket.IPL's emphasis is on entertainment.Hence the batsmen improvise with unconventional strokes (paddle sweep,etc.) to get the score board moving.In 20/20 there are no drawn games because the emphasis is on total runs scored in 20 overs. These features enable each country to choose an entirely different team for 20/20. Australia could include Haydon,Gilchrist,Symmonds,etc. in their 20/20 format based on their form. YES, there is greater financial incentive to stick with IPL than tests for older cricketers. Representing their country in tests is a greater honour which appeals to most.

  • angs on May 26, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    Well written article...the author here makes some valid points where one might not play domestic first-class cricket to garner recognition...but he seems to be against the IPL or 20-20 cricket for that matter....whatecer be the reason...and whos says IPL is harming cricket..well the game is getting recognized worldwide...how much ever the purists hate it 20-20 and the IPL are here to stay.!!

  • mastercraft on May 26, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    IPL is fun and entertaining but there is a difference, say level of difficulty, in cricket at IPL and between international teams. IPL is, after all, a domestic tournament with lots of money. Its still too early to assume that most players who bypass league cricket on their way to national selection will certainly fail, there aren't as many examples YET. nevertheless, IPL is NOT a players test of skills for national duty. because in international fixtures, most of the time, the same player will have to face the best of other countries and not other counties or franchises. a country is a bigger talent pool to choose from. on a side note, i really like the comment: "why mess around with Snakes & Ladders if you can simply play Monopoly".. I think this should be quote of the month.

  • Pratik_vodka on May 26, 2009, 11:34 GMT

    i will be frank as well. It really doesnt matter anymore what some experts or cricket journalist think about cricket and IPL. IPl will be a success and may even take over so called pure form of cricket test matches, because Indian public wants it that way. We enjoy indian cricket and also some foreign player. So they will have to come and play for us even at thier countries national team cost because we want it that way and we will pay them to do so. If you want it some other way put your money where your mouth is. You want test cricket to survive but you dont want to watch it? stop being so hypocritical and just enjoy what IPL has to offer. IPl was played to sell out crowds in SA of all places and no one came to watch ... or no one even realised there was a Eng Vs WI test series going on. As i see it Test cricket if to survive has to get a vote from the indian audience. I wont be suprised if AUS vs IND be the epitome of all clashes and Ashes series is no where to be seen.

  • tomjs100 on May 26, 2009, 10:16 GMT

    The only reason Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne are particularly good at 20:20 is because they're excellent players who have been playing other, much more testing cricket for nearly 2 decades. Sure they could slot straight back in to test/odi cricket; but that isn't because of the IPL, it is in spite of it. The idea that less skilled, less experienced players could just play IPL and test cricket is absurd, and I'm sorry I wasted 5 minutes of my life reading your article and even contemplating the question.

  • mbogo81 on May 26, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    For many its turning out to be a case of sour grapes, as far as the IPL is concerned. One has to admit that a lot of the tournament is an over the top advertizing spectacle, in addition to stupid gimmickry, but do not try and take anything away from the skills that have been displayed throughout the tournament. Be it the batting, bowling, fielding or even strategy, its not 'all brawn and no brain' as someone else seems to suggest. If success in tests takes patience, technique, and 'brains', the T20 format requires high level of skills, maybe even more than tests, blasphemous as it sounds! There is no room for error, complacency, in any department and you have to think on your feet and be innovative when required. T20 is all about 'not taking things for granted' unlike other formats. In addition to all of this, its just amazing to see the level of camaraderie between players of different nations on the field, a blend of different styles of cricket...

  • Sampdoria on May 26, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    With all the IPL bashing going around - I agree it has broken off many traditional aspects of the game and indeed is about money.

    At the end of the day, it has been watched by many non-Indians whose country men are playing in these franchises and it has provided that degree of unpredictability which ODIs and definitely Tests rarely do. Mind you, this format may actually allow teams like Netherlands/Bangladesh/Ireland to actually reach the knockout stage hence making it more popular in non-test playing nations.

    How Domestic Boards are to deal with and choose players for Test Squads is their prerogative and people like Haigh should stop making hay of the IPL for it! :)

  • NeilCameron on May 26, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    There's no doubt that 20/20 cricket is here to stay, yet what is equally obvious is that Test and First Class cricket are NOT going to go away any time soon. We need to have a realistic attitude towards First Class cricket - it is not going to draw crowds or profits but it is essential in player development. Removing First Class cricket from the equation will inevitably lead to a fall in standards in Test, One Day and 20/20 cricket. First Class cricket is the place where techniques are honed, where psyches are hardened and where the stars of the future are developed. Throughout history, the international teams that have been consistent high performers in Test and One Day matches have had a solid, dependable and an almost always financially unprofitable First Class cricket structure.

  • Javed_Munir_Dar on May 26, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    There is a lot of difference between Test cricket and twenty20, if a player is successful in twenty20 it doesn't mean that he will be good for Test Cricket, Test Cricket is a quality cricket, it the supreme class of cricket, u have maintain the first class cricket

  • Krish_kkdi on May 26, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    The success of IPL 2 in SA has demonstrated that in more than one country you can get a reasonable crowd (more than test matches) to view international players competing each other. May be its time for the administrators to create cricket league similar to football in Europe, with say 3 one month window for test cricket. i would not discount a future of SA premier league, australian premier league, a champions league all on home and away basis, interspersed with windows for test cricket

  • Luxx on May 26, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    Personally I find the IPL format deeply uninteresting. The "cricket" has been devaluated and basically been reduced to a circus format with teams consisting of a random mix of famous overpaid mercenaries. This is the Packer Cricket Circus all over again, only with more money, more distractions and much much more primitive. The pendant in golf would be to have that sport reduced to a long driving contest. All brawn and no brain.

    In order to attract interest all the teams gets a sexy name to boost the players' ego. "Chargers", "Royal Challengers", "Superkings" and worst of all: "The Daredevils". The stench of Americanisation is overwhelming!

    I understand that the players are interested in the format. After all they have to think about their own economy and they can earn an unholy amount of money with very little effort.

    However, the IPL should never be associated with the word 'Cricket'.

  • m0se on May 26, 2009, 7:39 GMT

    Matthew Hayden something to the order that since he has nothing to do after the IPL, he's focused on the IPL and hence the good results. For players with international careers, it's another pit stop in the endless years of cricket. A sprinter will overtake a long-distance marathon runner if the time is short enough. Or, perhaps the players know that IPL isn't about winning or losing but about advertising and TV rights and razzmatazz - and hold their best for when representing their country rather than invest energy on a shiny but plastic structure build from money to make more money. The only people with something to play for are the people who have nothing to do after the IPL.

  • NicoliD on May 26, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    If a player has to play for that IPL team, that English County or South African Provence, the Australian National Team, and who knows what else, why do I want to follow his career from team to team to team in the course of a year, especally when the IPL team pitches a fit when his county wants preference when the seasons overlap. Internationals have stomped on domestic cricket from the start- now, the chance to cash in will destroy both. On the positive side, the IPL could easily expand to an 80 game season with these other competitions out of the way, and on flat pitch after flat pitch after even flatter pitch because they needed to sell out all 5 days of a test match, it'll be the only form of the game to get a result. And that's the saddest cut of all.

  • Vilander on May 26, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    As mush as i want them not to play (so IND can win)aAt the very least Gilly and Haydos not playing for aus in t20 WC is a shame,many fans would miss them. Any other t20 opening pair would be a little bit of a joke seriously.. retirement or no retirement the best have to represent a national team

  • gman15 on May 26, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    I feel its only the hardened test player that can play at the top of the order who can set the tempo for the innings,adapt to conditions & diff. types of bowling who will be successful. D. Warner, good nonetheless, has not exactly been a revelation since his debut. The players that bypass state cricket maybe successful as lower-order hitters who come in for a few overs at the end, but I don't they can control an innings, they are never going to be a Gilly or Hayden (who is a made cricketer not born). I also think 20/20 will improve Test skills, alertness, positivity and 4th innings run chases. Have a Test c'ship, serially to 20/20, use it to promote home/away tests in major test playing nations. Finally, I think the best-part of the IPL was the instant entertainment (mostly) and camaraderie between players of different nations, the IPL deserves credit for bringing this to the fore. The domestic Indians need to improve their fielding and not all Aussies are a godsend, only the best ones

  • iamherenowfear on May 26, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    players who manage to bypass their first-class structure and get a ticket to national colours thru the IPL have, as rightly pointed out by the author, have struggled. manpreet gony was a revelation last IPL but after playing a inconsequential ODIs against bang, was thrown into oblivion. warner was an interesting case. when he made his T-20 debut for aus, he still hadnt played first-class cricket for NSW.

  • vswami on May 26, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Frankly speaking many of us are sick and tired of your incessant personal barbs at the IPL. I know you hate Modi from the core of your existence and every time you write an article, you have to dig into the dictionary to cull out the choicest adjectives to have a go. No one has any right to dictate how another man must earn his wages, and how choices must be denied. What has been proven is that all this love for the Baggy Green above everything else is the biggest humbug sold by the players and journalists to the public, and which you are struggling to come to terms with. In the meanwhile, I cant wait for the third season of another intense, action-packed IPL while some journalists are still moaning.

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  • vswami on May 26, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Frankly speaking many of us are sick and tired of your incessant personal barbs at the IPL. I know you hate Modi from the core of your existence and every time you write an article, you have to dig into the dictionary to cull out the choicest adjectives to have a go. No one has any right to dictate how another man must earn his wages, and how choices must be denied. What has been proven is that all this love for the Baggy Green above everything else is the biggest humbug sold by the players and journalists to the public, and which you are struggling to come to terms with. In the meanwhile, I cant wait for the third season of another intense, action-packed IPL while some journalists are still moaning.

  • iamherenowfear on May 26, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    players who manage to bypass their first-class structure and get a ticket to national colours thru the IPL have, as rightly pointed out by the author, have struggled. manpreet gony was a revelation last IPL but after playing a inconsequential ODIs against bang, was thrown into oblivion. warner was an interesting case. when he made his T-20 debut for aus, he still hadnt played first-class cricket for NSW.

  • gman15 on May 26, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    I feel its only the hardened test player that can play at the top of the order who can set the tempo for the innings,adapt to conditions & diff. types of bowling who will be successful. D. Warner, good nonetheless, has not exactly been a revelation since his debut. The players that bypass state cricket maybe successful as lower-order hitters who come in for a few overs at the end, but I don't they can control an innings, they are never going to be a Gilly or Hayden (who is a made cricketer not born). I also think 20/20 will improve Test skills, alertness, positivity and 4th innings run chases. Have a Test c'ship, serially to 20/20, use it to promote home/away tests in major test playing nations. Finally, I think the best-part of the IPL was the instant entertainment (mostly) and camaraderie between players of different nations, the IPL deserves credit for bringing this to the fore. The domestic Indians need to improve their fielding and not all Aussies are a godsend, only the best ones

  • Vilander on May 26, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    As mush as i want them not to play (so IND can win)aAt the very least Gilly and Haydos not playing for aus in t20 WC is a shame,many fans would miss them. Any other t20 opening pair would be a little bit of a joke seriously.. retirement or no retirement the best have to represent a national team

  • NicoliD on May 26, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    If a player has to play for that IPL team, that English County or South African Provence, the Australian National Team, and who knows what else, why do I want to follow his career from team to team to team in the course of a year, especally when the IPL team pitches a fit when his county wants preference when the seasons overlap. Internationals have stomped on domestic cricket from the start- now, the chance to cash in will destroy both. On the positive side, the IPL could easily expand to an 80 game season with these other competitions out of the way, and on flat pitch after flat pitch after even flatter pitch because they needed to sell out all 5 days of a test match, it'll be the only form of the game to get a result. And that's the saddest cut of all.

  • m0se on May 26, 2009, 7:39 GMT

    Matthew Hayden something to the order that since he has nothing to do after the IPL, he's focused on the IPL and hence the good results. For players with international careers, it's another pit stop in the endless years of cricket. A sprinter will overtake a long-distance marathon runner if the time is short enough. Or, perhaps the players know that IPL isn't about winning or losing but about advertising and TV rights and razzmatazz - and hold their best for when representing their country rather than invest energy on a shiny but plastic structure build from money to make more money. The only people with something to play for are the people who have nothing to do after the IPL.

  • Luxx on May 26, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    Personally I find the IPL format deeply uninteresting. The "cricket" has been devaluated and basically been reduced to a circus format with teams consisting of a random mix of famous overpaid mercenaries. This is the Packer Cricket Circus all over again, only with more money, more distractions and much much more primitive. The pendant in golf would be to have that sport reduced to a long driving contest. All brawn and no brain.

    In order to attract interest all the teams gets a sexy name to boost the players' ego. "Chargers", "Royal Challengers", "Superkings" and worst of all: "The Daredevils". The stench of Americanisation is overwhelming!

    I understand that the players are interested in the format. After all they have to think about their own economy and they can earn an unholy amount of money with very little effort.

    However, the IPL should never be associated with the word 'Cricket'.

  • Krish_kkdi on May 26, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    The success of IPL 2 in SA has demonstrated that in more than one country you can get a reasonable crowd (more than test matches) to view international players competing each other. May be its time for the administrators to create cricket league similar to football in Europe, with say 3 one month window for test cricket. i would not discount a future of SA premier league, australian premier league, a champions league all on home and away basis, interspersed with windows for test cricket

  • Javed_Munir_Dar on May 26, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    There is a lot of difference between Test cricket and twenty20, if a player is successful in twenty20 it doesn't mean that he will be good for Test Cricket, Test Cricket is a quality cricket, it the supreme class of cricket, u have maintain the first class cricket

  • NeilCameron on May 26, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    There's no doubt that 20/20 cricket is here to stay, yet what is equally obvious is that Test and First Class cricket are NOT going to go away any time soon. We need to have a realistic attitude towards First Class cricket - it is not going to draw crowds or profits but it is essential in player development. Removing First Class cricket from the equation will inevitably lead to a fall in standards in Test, One Day and 20/20 cricket. First Class cricket is the place where techniques are honed, where psyches are hardened and where the stars of the future are developed. Throughout history, the international teams that have been consistent high performers in Test and One Day matches have had a solid, dependable and an almost always financially unprofitable First Class cricket structure.