October 7, 2011

Twenty20 is cricket too

Why is the format looked down upon? The skills it calls for are different from those in Test cricket, but they're skills all right
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In recent times, from newspapers and message boards, in informal conversations, I had begun to get the feeling that 20-overs cricket was the root of all evil in our game; a seductress out to tempt all the nice young men who otherwise would have worshipped in temples. And when I said I liked 20-overs cricket, I got curious responses.

"No, you don't!"

"That's Mickey Mouse cricket".

"So how much do they pay you to say that?"

I have always wondered why it has to be one or the other. Dravid or Tendulkar? Rap or classical? Pizza or dosa? Brazil or Argentina?

I'm sorry but I like both Test cricket and 20-overs cricket. And the one-day international. I realise they demand different skills but I am unwilling to create a hierarchy of skills. Because we have been brought up believing one form is superior, or that the skills it demands are superior, it doesn't necessarily imply that other skills are trivial. Some of us were conditioned to look down on people who weren't good at mathematics but were brilliant on stage. We weren't allowed to respect different skills equally. If you understood why the quality of mercy was "twice blessed", you were okay, but if you didn't understand the relationship between vapour density and molecular weight, woe upon you.

I fear we look at Test cricket and 20-overs with similarly prejudiced eyes. We grade them, we create our own class system, because that is what we were conditioned to do. But over two days in Chennai and Bengaluru, I saw performances that made me sit up and question this rigid adherence to a hierarchy of skills.

In devilish humidity in Chennai, and on a sluggish track, albeit one freshened a bit by dew, David Warner put up an extraordinary display of power-hitting. He made 135 not out off 69 balls against an attack that had three frontline bowlers who had made their country's World Cup team, and one who would have had he not been injured. Warner didn't resemble a blacksmith at any point, got runs when others struggled to get them; and when tired, hit a ball onto the roof of the stadium and beyond. If batting in 20-overs cricket was so easy, there would be many more innings like that one; if making a 20-second commercial was so simple, there would be many great ad filmmakers.

Warner played cricket shots, he timed the ball beautifully. He worked on a different definition of risk, maybe, but he did all that with a level of skill that was breathtaking to watch. How many contemporary cricketers can consistently deposit good balls over the boundary rope? If leaving a ball is a sign of good judgement - and it often truly is - hitting a good ball over long-on should be too.

And then, a day later, I was at one of the great matches I have seen. On an excellent batting surface, a group of tough Aussies who played hard and loved a scrap scored 214 for 2. They didn't smash every ball out of the park. In fact, Daniel Harris hit 17 boundaries before his first six, and almost all of them were in a lovely arc from extra cover to midwicket. Then, two outstanding talents, Callum Ferguson and Virat Kohli, timed the ball as well as anyone can, ran hard between wickets, and deposited balls over the boundary with great nonchalance. They weren't hitting the ball 62 metres, it was more like 80. And when 214 looked like it would be overhauled (a feat as unthinkable as South Africa chasing 434), Shaun Tait bowled fast and straight and knocked batsmen over. None of it was easy. And to add to the drama, a six was hit off the last ball to win the game.

I can hear people saying: but they didn't have to face any chin music, or deal with the ball seaming on a green top. Yes, batting in those conditions requires great skill, but you don't have to be good at everything. There isn't a hierarchy that goes down from sublime to respectable to crass. You don't have to know the precise calculations behind the working of the Large Hadron Collider to teach physics to 17-year-olds well enough. You don't have to understand dark matter or play Tchaikovsky at 10 to be respectable. Twenty-overs cricket requires slightly different skills and not everyone can be good at it either.

I enjoyed the World Cup, loved seeing the intensity with which England played Test cricket, and for many reasons have enjoyed watching the Champions League T20. Unlike in a good marriage, you don't have to love only one.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bks123 on October 10, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    Today's T20 is an unfair contest. What the hell is this? Power-play, free hit, 1 bouncer in an over and blah blah all in favor of batsmen and then you give them a national highway where a mishit goes over the rope in a 60 m ground. Give our bowlers a fair chance. Otherwise, no one will want to be a bowler, which is the real threat of T20 game. What is the difference between a dirk nannes or a bhatkal in that b'lore feather-bed? If hitting six only matters then play 11 batters. I think T20 gets boring after you watch a few matches. And the never ending IPL is the most annoying aspect of T20 cricket. It not only makes our top players injured but also makes them reluctant to play international games. In my opinion, play only club T20, reduce IPL to half of what it is now, don't play T20 internationals except the WCT20. Jio test cricket.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on October 9, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    Harsha, here are two reasons to detest T20 cricket: it has killed the deceptively-calm face of cricket. Two, over the past three years, it has evidently injured highly-skilled cricketers (de Villiers, the most recent instance) with its attritional demands, even if one accounts for the poor scheduling. Let's face it: if it weren't for the money, so many cricketers (and coaches) wouldn't have been flocking to play T20--their hearts were once in Test cricket. Neither would commentators have gotten so excited. So let's, at least, concede T20 for what it actually is, and stop pretending that the stakeholders (cricket boards, media, analysts) care for the public or the sport. A money-spinner and short-term gains for young minds -- that is what T20 is. I want to see how many of the well-paid T20 cricketers of today will have enduring careers before I sing praises of this glamorous format.

  • AidanFX on October 9, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    One of my issues with it is you bowlers primarily get wickets when batsman are playing attacking shots. You don't have much of the dynamic in tests and even to some extent One days with players playing and missing outside off. It is different in this regard. 20/20 has its place but can never over take Tests.

  • JohnnyRook on October 8, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    @shrikanthk, I guess. we both are saying same thing. Only time will tell whether it is better or for worse. However, I personally know a couple of Ranji players and trust me, they don't earn a lot. Also an average career guy makes more money as his age increases. FC players have to retire from game at 35 and start in "real world" careers as newbies.

  • cheguramana on October 8, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Well said Harsha.The overdose of cricket since the World Cup ended in April had turned me away from cricket for a while. It dint help that India's performance in England was really too painful to watch. I chanced upon watching the CLT20 and was quite amazed at the batting prowess on display. Whether it was Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli or Warner, you simply have to applaud the performance of these cricketers. Its certainly not just blind slogging. But T20 cricket can be improved. Bowlers need a more level playing field. (1) A greentop occassionaly for a T20 match perhaps ? (2) Abolish the 'free hit' concept, I think its too humiliating for the bowlers (3) No runners for batsmen (is this one already implemented ?) (4) more relaxed rules on bouncers.

    I think more people will appreciate T20 more as new skills learnt here get transferred to ODIs and Tests- and this will happen !

  • shrikanthk on October 8, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    johnnyrook: You're wrong out there..... I've been told that Ranji players make well in excess of what most software developers make in their early-mid twenties earn. BTW, this debate wasn't about the "whether X deserves his salary amount of Y" anyway. I never said that his Ranji wage is "fairer" than his potential IPL contract next year. All I'm saying is that T20 riches are a sign of changing times. It is pointless to argue whether it is for better or worse.

  • getsetgopk on October 8, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Harsha, to be honest with you, T20 cricket never would come close to test cricket or even ODI's. Anyone who follow cricket knows this, I know this and you too know this very well. T20 maybe be the baseball version of cricket but its not real cricket, you wana call it cricket well fine, each to their own but you do sound like a salesman for BCCI when you say its cricket too.

  • Herbet on October 8, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    I too watched RCB v SA and thought it was crap. How many fours were scored off edges through slip, how many catches were dropped, how many miss hits went for 6 on the tennis court sized pitch, what chance did the b have with a seamless ball on that pitch? Come on, it was crude rubbish. Gloryifying all Chris Gayles sixes is a bit like being impressed if Lionel Messi scored 20 goals at the next world cup, nut the goals were twice as big and a goaly was only allowed for half the match

  • JohnnyRook on October 8, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    @ shrikanthk, A Ranji player earns a lot less than an average software developer. Rahul Sharma might get $50k a month from some big shot businessman in next IPL auction. It may be too high for his calibre. He may not deserve that much. But it is still a lot fairer than him getting barely 200$ a month if he stays just a Ranji player.

  • Juddy58 on October 8, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    For once I do not agree with Harsha! T20 is not cricket, period! Test cricket and ODI's, yes! They do test the skills of a player but T20, no way! And the comparisons he has mentioned do not work here! For every good shot you see here, there is another shot which you would not see a hundred miles around a cricket stadium! Skills, what skills?? It is a zero risk game. If a players gets out playing some outrageous shot no one blames hims because its part of the game. If a bowler goes for 60 runs in his 4 overs its par for the course. It is better for people to go to a movie house and get entertained for three or four hours. Do not sully the good name of cricket.

  • bks123 on October 10, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    Today's T20 is an unfair contest. What the hell is this? Power-play, free hit, 1 bouncer in an over and blah blah all in favor of batsmen and then you give them a national highway where a mishit goes over the rope in a 60 m ground. Give our bowlers a fair chance. Otherwise, no one will want to be a bowler, which is the real threat of T20 game. What is the difference between a dirk nannes or a bhatkal in that b'lore feather-bed? If hitting six only matters then play 11 batters. I think T20 gets boring after you watch a few matches. And the never ending IPL is the most annoying aspect of T20 cricket. It not only makes our top players injured but also makes them reluctant to play international games. In my opinion, play only club T20, reduce IPL to half of what it is now, don't play T20 internationals except the WCT20. Jio test cricket.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on October 9, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    Harsha, here are two reasons to detest T20 cricket: it has killed the deceptively-calm face of cricket. Two, over the past three years, it has evidently injured highly-skilled cricketers (de Villiers, the most recent instance) with its attritional demands, even if one accounts for the poor scheduling. Let's face it: if it weren't for the money, so many cricketers (and coaches) wouldn't have been flocking to play T20--their hearts were once in Test cricket. Neither would commentators have gotten so excited. So let's, at least, concede T20 for what it actually is, and stop pretending that the stakeholders (cricket boards, media, analysts) care for the public or the sport. A money-spinner and short-term gains for young minds -- that is what T20 is. I want to see how many of the well-paid T20 cricketers of today will have enduring careers before I sing praises of this glamorous format.

  • AidanFX on October 9, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    One of my issues with it is you bowlers primarily get wickets when batsman are playing attacking shots. You don't have much of the dynamic in tests and even to some extent One days with players playing and missing outside off. It is different in this regard. 20/20 has its place but can never over take Tests.

  • JohnnyRook on October 8, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    @shrikanthk, I guess. we both are saying same thing. Only time will tell whether it is better or for worse. However, I personally know a couple of Ranji players and trust me, they don't earn a lot. Also an average career guy makes more money as his age increases. FC players have to retire from game at 35 and start in "real world" careers as newbies.

  • cheguramana on October 8, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Well said Harsha.The overdose of cricket since the World Cup ended in April had turned me away from cricket for a while. It dint help that India's performance in England was really too painful to watch. I chanced upon watching the CLT20 and was quite amazed at the batting prowess on display. Whether it was Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli or Warner, you simply have to applaud the performance of these cricketers. Its certainly not just blind slogging. But T20 cricket can be improved. Bowlers need a more level playing field. (1) A greentop occassionaly for a T20 match perhaps ? (2) Abolish the 'free hit' concept, I think its too humiliating for the bowlers (3) No runners for batsmen (is this one already implemented ?) (4) more relaxed rules on bouncers.

    I think more people will appreciate T20 more as new skills learnt here get transferred to ODIs and Tests- and this will happen !

  • shrikanthk on October 8, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    johnnyrook: You're wrong out there..... I've been told that Ranji players make well in excess of what most software developers make in their early-mid twenties earn. BTW, this debate wasn't about the "whether X deserves his salary amount of Y" anyway. I never said that his Ranji wage is "fairer" than his potential IPL contract next year. All I'm saying is that T20 riches are a sign of changing times. It is pointless to argue whether it is for better or worse.

  • getsetgopk on October 8, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Harsha, to be honest with you, T20 cricket never would come close to test cricket or even ODI's. Anyone who follow cricket knows this, I know this and you too know this very well. T20 maybe be the baseball version of cricket but its not real cricket, you wana call it cricket well fine, each to their own but you do sound like a salesman for BCCI when you say its cricket too.

  • Herbet on October 8, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    I too watched RCB v SA and thought it was crap. How many fours were scored off edges through slip, how many catches were dropped, how many miss hits went for 6 on the tennis court sized pitch, what chance did the b have with a seamless ball on that pitch? Come on, it was crude rubbish. Gloryifying all Chris Gayles sixes is a bit like being impressed if Lionel Messi scored 20 goals at the next world cup, nut the goals were twice as big and a goaly was only allowed for half the match

  • JohnnyRook on October 8, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    @ shrikanthk, A Ranji player earns a lot less than an average software developer. Rahul Sharma might get $50k a month from some big shot businessman in next IPL auction. It may be too high for his calibre. He may not deserve that much. But it is still a lot fairer than him getting barely 200$ a month if he stays just a Ranji player.

  • Juddy58 on October 8, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    For once I do not agree with Harsha! T20 is not cricket, period! Test cricket and ODI's, yes! They do test the skills of a player but T20, no way! And the comparisons he has mentioned do not work here! For every good shot you see here, there is another shot which you would not see a hundred miles around a cricket stadium! Skills, what skills?? It is a zero risk game. If a players gets out playing some outrageous shot no one blames hims because its part of the game. If a bowler goes for 60 runs in his 4 overs its par for the course. It is better for people to go to a movie house and get entertained for three or four hours. Do not sully the good name of cricket.

  • NGayanP on October 8, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    The first article I've seen that appreciates all three forms of the game. The thing is each format is enjoyable when they are being played competitively. Its good to see close matches of any format, especially after a one sided summer of tests (barring the Zimbabwe matches, which to their credit lasted 5 days).

  • shrikanthk on October 8, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    johnnyrook: I'm fine with most of what you've to say. But the bottomline is that these are value judgments, which are invariably subjective. Back in the 1930s, a leg-spinner as prolific as Tich Freeman spent all his adult life taking wickets for Kent (often exceeding 200 per season). He didn't make a fortune out of it. But that didn't dissuade from playing cricket. His attitude towards cricket was probably akin to that of a bank clerk towards his job! Today, a Rahul Sharma will probably play a very small fraction of the amount of cricket played by Freeman and in the process make a fortune! Surely a sign of changing times. But is it a sign of progress? Not necessarily. Who are we to claim that Sharma's IPL compensation is somehow a fairer assessment of his "skills" than his Ranji wages? I'm not taking a stance here. Just accepting things the way they are. Let's do that, instead of trying to "justify" T20 riches by ascribing virtues to it that don't exist.

  • Praxis on October 8, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster, test cricket has been dying for quite a while now, its still dying, and just as you predicted, I think it will keep dying in the near future too.

  • Rahul_Vasudevan on October 8, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    I don't have a problem with international T20.The following are the issues with club T20 cricket: 1. Private ownership: Owners are not in the game for charity 2. T20 skills gets higher pay than first class skills.This can compromise first class cricket in the long term. 3. Players play club cricket inspite of the heavy international calendar and as a result gets injured and becomes unavailable for international cricket or RESTS from it 4. Players retire prematurely from intl cricket or don't play them at all.

    No one is talking about Irani Cup but some club cricket that only the owners and players are interested in.

  • JohnnyRook on October 8, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    @ shrikanthk. 1) Nobody would deny that Test skills are harder to acquire. However I think, T20 skills would be very hard to maintain. Pollard most likely will fizzle out soon. He can't maintain the longevity Dravid, Kallis, Ponting & Sachin have displayed for so long. 2) The thing you mentioned about lesser talents is actually a positive point in favor of T20 and against tests. You have heard of Raju Bhatkals and Dab Smiths bcoz of CL. They are not internationals. First Class Cricket is a lot less marketable than CLub T20. Before T20, they had to live fairly average lives which was not a justice to so many hours they had put in practice risking injuries and heartbreaks. 3) Mastering a tough skill is one thing, it being interesting/feasible to watch is other. Consider an outrageous example, Someone masters a great skill of dancing with wild polar bears in Antarctica. But viewers will have to spend a lot of money and time to see his skill display. Can you fault them for not watching him

  • deepak_sholapurkar on October 8, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    I agree 20-20 too needs skills, but what people are not liking is reduction in competativeness of bat and ball 1)In 20-20 why boundaries need to be shortened?, its allowing hitters unfair advantage. Boundaries should be similar in all the format's of cricket 2)Very flat pitches providing advantage to the batsman 3)Power play with only two fielders outside is also affecting. 4)Sudden rule change's in 20-20(CL T20 Mumbai allowed 5 oversea player, last IPL second round of matches we never knew who is playing whome and why). Its making 20-20 like non serious(Tamasha) cricket.

    So in summary, 20-20 has become too easy cricket with batsman having all the privileges and bowlers with no scope. So even though some players are playing great cricket but they will looked down by the public.

  • shrikanthk on October 8, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    @johnnyrook: No right-thinking person will grudge the money made by T20 stars. It's just a quirky reality that one has to accept. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if T20 as a format lasts longer than first-class cricket. But it simply doesn't follow that T20 is as demanding a format as cricket of the first-class variety (of which Tests is only the international variant). Nor does it follow that T20 requires no skills! Ofcourse it does. But those skills are easier to master and also more prevalent than the skills demanded in first-class cricket of the highest order. How often do you find a batsman surviving 10 hours in a test match? Maybe once a year, if you're lucky. But how often do you see a fifty scored at a strike rate more than 200 in a T20 game? Quite often. Also, no one can deny that T20 does accomodate lesser talents. Would we have ever heard of Daniel Smith or Raju Bhatkal had it not been for T20? No. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. But don't ascribe virtues to it that don't exist

  • SG70 on October 8, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    It is truly disappointing that veteran commentators like Harsha are saying saying things like T20 is a respectable form of cricket.

  • Meety on October 8, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    As far as I'm concerned T20s v Tests is a bit like a Big Mac v a nice Rump Steak medium well done with a sauce of your fancy. Yep I like Big Macs (T20s), but I savour a nice steak, I remember where I've had by best ones (other than mums).

  • RohanMarkJay on October 7, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    Its looked down with good reason Harsha. That said like the 50 over contest it does have its great charm. To a genuine cricket fan all cricket whether Test, 50 over or Twenty twenty is great. Like the 50 over it does guarantee a result its very frantic with Batsman taking outrageous risks that they wouldn't dream of taking in Test cricket or even 50 over. I think a cricketer in twenty/twenty has to have a wild west cowboy mentality. However I think 20/20 would be far interesting if their were better bowling attacks around like they were in the 1990s and 1980s. For example I would like to see how in 20/20 Batters would go against a 20 over blast from the great west indies bowling attacks of the 1980s, or Pakistan waqar and wasim or in the 1990s McGrath and Warne. No doubt the bowlers would get clobbered but it would be an interesting battle. Only thing is bad habits from 20/20 could creep into other cricket. I always thought 20/20 is cowboy cricket.Batters.bowlers have to be quick draw.

  • Nampally on October 7, 2011, 21:27 GMT

    All 3 formats of Cricket demand skills of different kind, as you rightly stated. Not many have the skills of Gayle, Warner or Harris. These guys can smash the ball at their will.India's Kohli has adopted to this format with relative ease and has scored runs at strike rate of over 150!.It requires superlative eye- body coordination to score at strike rate of nearly 200. In ODI the skills demanded of batsmen is to keep the high strike rate over a longer duration. The smaller ground, fielding bowling restrictions also aid faster scoring.Knowing these facts, India should be the first country to have 3 different teams to 3 formats.Why are the Selectors not doing it? Ojha, Rahul Sharma & Ashwin must be in the XI in ODI's along with 2 seamers - say Kumar & U.Jadev to economize runs.Then batsmen like Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Pathan, Rahane, M.Tiwary, can outscore the opposition. It does not reqquire a rocket scientist to understand - economical bowling + high strike rate batsmen

  • Precioustar84 on October 7, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    Name one Indian batsmen that plays all 3 forms to perfection? No Indian batsmen can play greatly in Test or ODI matches even if they are great at playing T20s. My pont is you cannot become great test players out of T20s and if you are paid more in T20s than some players will not care so much about tours. I do like the format but too much hype given to T20s ruins other formats of the game. Dravid is the perfect example of what players need to think like. He chose to make 1 format his priority - Test cricket. Dravid realizes that he cannot play all formats to perfection and thus, must choose his priority. If you want newcomers to get the attention then let them play in IPLs and make that as a platform for future selection. Don't involve those who already have made it into the national Team India than opinions might change about T20s. What IPL and T20s teach is that why play longer version when the PRIZES are better in shorter versions? It doesn't become about having skills or not there.

  • siddhap on October 7, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    Just as you like watching T20, Test and One day internationals, there are people who do not like to watch some form of the game. So we should respect the likes and dislikes of individuals. I agree with you that it does not have to be one or other, but it can certainly be one none some or all

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 7, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    As a Canadian it's easy for me to appreciate and enjoy T20 cricket because it's like baseball. You can ONLY relate to my opinion iif you are an American or Canadian. I do like test cricket but I think it's not feasible for every person to enjoy test cricket from a time perspective. Test cricket will surely die out in the near future and that is WHY it's important for the ICC to schedule MEANINGFUL series. They need to to get rid of T20 at the international level and also cut down on the number of useless one day games. Give more importance to iconic series like the Ashes, India vs ANY country because Indian crowds and viewers bring money into the game. The CLT20 has to be EXPANDED to include domestic teams from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe. Lastly, PLEASE get rid of the funny intros from future CLT20 competitions.

  • m_ilind on October 7, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    T20 is just a game of sloggers. There is no room for classical batsmen in T20. As a bowler, you get limited chances to show your skills. Fielding and fitness is supposed to improve, but it wasn't evident on India's tour of Eng. In other words, success in T20 cannot elevate a player to the other two higher formats.

  • McGorium on October 7, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    To add to my point: There *is* a hierarchy of skills, regardless of Harsha's assertions to the contrary. We revere skills that have been accrued over years of hard labour, perseverance, and devotion to the art. Sometimes even that is not enough. One does not need to understand Quantum Electro Dynamics to teach physics at a high-school level, true, but the folks who do understand QED are often the ones who push the boundaries of our understanding of science, and ultimately, more valuable to society. Katy Perry might make more money, but nobody would ever equate her with Mozart. Of course Perry needed some skills to succeed: looks, half-decent voice and a good music production label, and lots of luck. How many of us really think of Michael Bevan or Ajay Jadeja when we talk about great batsmen? Enjoy T20, no issues with that. Just don't tell me that biffing the ball with abandon is at par, skill-wise, with constructing a test or even ODI innings. The luck factor is too great in T20.

  • McGorium on October 7, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    This is a clever piece of chicanery from Harsha. The issue was never whether T20 is bad for the game. The issue is, and always was a pernicious manifestation: the IPL. The IPL is an advertising engine disguised as a cricket game. All sport need sponsorship, but hardly any legitimate ones are designed around maximizing revenue. With the IPL, you have everything that can be branded, branded. A sponsor for every shot save a forward defensive, millions of "awards" at the end of the match each designed to give the sponsor visibility, "strategic" time-outs... you get the picture. IPL is designed to use cricket stars to get eyeballs so that companies can try to sell you stuff you don't need. Can you imagine wimbledon with a DLF maximum matchpoint? Everything you do in life requires skill... I'm sure it takes a lot of smarts and skill to be a successful prostitute or drug dealer. Are such skills useful to society? Are these the skills we are trying to promote in the game?

  • puccamumbaikar on October 7, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    T20 requires only 1 skill - slog batting for the entire team. Whereas Test cricket requires multiple skills from each individual team player. You need multi-faceted players in your Test team. In T20 you need to load up your team with pinch hitters and not be too worried about strategy other than lofting the ball out of the ground. The bowlers show their skills only as an exception not as a requirement. As an MBA graduate you are well-qualified to understand the (very very sarcastically) subtle differences between the two types of resources. It is this subtle difference in the skillsets inherently required in Test cricket that make it superior to T20. Why? Because (and I take this example for the sake of metaphorical comparisons easily understood by non-engineering cricket fans) its like comparing a McDonalds burger-flipper to a Parisian restaurant chef. Though fast food is prevalent and enjoyed by many it does not require multiple skills in the team to deliver a good burger.

  • anshu.s on October 7, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    Vry Good article Harsha, spot on I think it's not lowering of skill that bothers people it's there irrational fear dat club cricket will take over from nation v/s nation playing each other..... i think this year's CL has been fantastic to watch....level of power hitting,close contests....besides tournament like these or IPL,Big bash etc are a gr8 platform for youngsters to make a mark n get noticed by the media n public n also for older cricketers who never got a chance to play for there national teams or got recognition a chance to shine .....

  • ansram on October 7, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    T20=100m dash; Test cricket = marathon race; The former needs brute strength and explosive power, the latter is all about endurance. These are different skills but both can be enjoyed.

    The problem with T20 is that it provides little variety. Most matches get decided in 20% of the overs bowled. The moment a T20 match begins you know the score is almost always between 120-160. Occasionally there is 200+. Look at ODI, you could see anywhere between 150-350. In test match, the unpredictability is even higher, you could score 500+ or some times less than 100. The variety is simply missing in T20. No T20 match can ever come close to a well fought test match on a wicket that has something in it for both the bat and the ball.

  • S.Alis on October 7, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Give support to bowlers and that will make T20 fun. I totally agree with Raja.Khurram comments.

  • srivatsan on October 7, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    Harsha have you really gone nuts?. T20s are the exact reason why India got pummeled in England. It's just a needless distraction and it might work well if 1-2 matches are played during a bilateral series but IPL/CL and World Cups dude you've got to be kidding.

  • lazyplayers on October 7, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Harsha, T20 is of course cricket. But the pitches like the one we have in Bangalore is not cricket. next thing you want to do is to boundary ropes inside and make the 30 yards rope as the boundary, so that a 4's and 6's crazy country like India should attract more crowds.

  • SDHM on October 7, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    I prefer tests, but I'm not against T20 at all - it's the circus that goes on around it I can't stand. Here in England it manifests itself in the truly awful, village fete style attractions that go on around the ground when a match is on and the D list celebrities that sometimes turn up at the matches, while in India it comes in the form of those hilariously bad team theme songs, the sponsored sixes and catches and those rubbish intros (I won't dignify them with the word poems) that are read out at the start of the current CL games. It's this pervasive naffness that I can't abide - I mean, is a bouncy castle or cringe-worthy song really going to draw in new fans? No, the cricket on show has to do that, so let's concentrate on that please.

  • Raja.Khurram on October 7, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    IMHO, T20 can be made more classy by two simple changes: 1. Make grounds bigger. 2. Make supporting pitches

    This will result in batsmen trying to use their skills to get runs rather than relying on power hitting every time. More mis-hits will fall in the ground and the genuinely skilled batsmen will stand tall in the crowd of hitters.

    Moreover, the bowlers will have more freedom of bowling aggressively as they will know that the batsmen cannot heave them across for 60 feet boundaries any more. The spinners will try to lure the batsmen in their traps and the T20 cricket will be much more balanced.

  • Nagu on October 7, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    @Mautan--From Chennai,with love?? Your "correct" batsman definition becomes incorrect with the addition of Badrinath and Vijay ;)

  • cric_fanatics on October 7, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    this is plain HYPOCRISY...what warner did 2 days ago...RAINA has been doing for 3 years...but then it was never considered a skill..no articles admiring him..in fact he was called a slogger..everything a aussie does is geat for an indian...this is precisely the mentality that new india is challenging..but harsha is not willing to realise it...morover..what ferguson did ...virat did better than that and UNDER PRESSURE and with an injured finger..realise the diffrence.

  • NewYorkCricket on October 7, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Nothing wrong with 20 overs. However I think they should reduce the number of batsmen to 7. That way bowlers will have some incentive to bowl aggressive and take some wickets. The risk-reward of attacking bowling is really skewed in favor of the batsmen. I am tired of watching really good fast bowlers bowling 3-4 slower balls. Spinners are bowling defensive lines. The idea is to reduce the duration of the game NOT the quality.

  • Kumar_dude on October 7, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    I agree with Harsha but T20 is a game where slogging is given more preference.Yes I agree that not all cricketers slog.We come accross some unconventional shots like "Dil Scoop" which is disgusting to watch for those who really follow the game so closely.

  • windiesyouth.12 on October 7, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    excellent article....all 3 forms of cricket can co-exist and as Harsha rightly says each demands a different set of skills but everyone cannot master all of these skills....however i do feel t20 should be domestic only

  • JohnnyRook on October 7, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    @srriaj317, It is all economy mate, There are not enough people willing to pay to watch Darvid or Laxman trying to bat out the session in test matches. There are enough people willing to pay to watch Pathan and Raina hacking sixes. So it will continue just like in every other wake of life. Do you see Oscar winners like Pianist or Hurt Locker making anywhere close the amount Pirates or Transformers kind of movies make. Thats the way it is. Live with it. You are free to buy 5 days tickets of the test match even if you intend to see only 1 day. Or take a leave from office for all 5 days and watch it on TV. That should help Test players earn more money.

  • bigjobs on October 7, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    test cricket is no doubt the ultimate test of players skill and should remain as the pinnacle of the game while i enjoy any sort of cricket ithink that t20 is overdone and so many of these games are meaningless and one game just seems to blend into another legends will not be born from t20 while there are great skills required in all forms of the game im not sure t20 in long term will help the overall standard of the game bowlers are largely cannon fodder flat pitces short boundries will do nothing to improve the standard of bowling in longer forms of the game i also wonder if its a good thing that young players will have more desire to play for a t20 franchise rather than their country having said that players also have the right to earn a good living for their skiils and the entertainment that they provide like everything in life its getting the balance right

  • Pundrick on October 7, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    The problem with T20 is poor balance between bat and ball. Batsmen are less fearful of loosing wicket and hence the advantage.

  • JohnnyRook on October 7, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    @Ben1989, shrikanthk, Abadvani - Which one is greater, a gold in marathon or a gold in 100m dash. For you marathon gold may be greater and for somebody else 100m dash gold. Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder.

  • mautan on October 7, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    There is a reason why everyone can comfortably say that T20 is inferior 'quality' of cricket, Harsha. If you look around, most of the good test batsman ( or rather correct batsman) who are generally considered 'complete' batsman, can do well in T20. Jayawardene, Tendulkar, Kallis, Dravid, Hussey, Sanga, Gambhir, Badrinath, Vijay, Marsh etc. They have all adapted, and so can Cook, Bell, Trott, Chanderpaul etc.The point being if you were to reverse the situation and put the T20 'stars' like Raina, Yusuf, Afridi, Yuvraj, Warner, T Suman, Manvinder Bisla and the likes against Dale Styen or Muralitharan in first class or even ODI game, they sometime hardly look cricketers even! I remember even Chetan Sharma once slogged a hundred in a ODI..the fact is, with 100 T20 matches to play and full licence to swing, 50% times the shot does come off. Really, the skills too are not different,they are just inferior. If you reduce the game to 10-10, you would still feel it is about skill? Or chance?

  • ultimatewarrior on October 7, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    @ Sir_Freddie_Flintoff - Ian Bell is great batsmen, I found a great joke of the day...

  • mritunjai on October 7, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    Harsha has got it, and many like me know it that T20 is where the future of cricket lies. T20 will help us find stars in the new countries like Afghanistan. If cricket has to spread, T20 is the only way. We hardly have 4 countries who can put up a decent test team. And even in a cricket crazy country like India, we have double supporters for T20 compared to other formats.

  • mgurudatt on October 7, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    yes tests and t20 can both be liked

  • SaneVoice on October 7, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    There are more people watching T20s than test cricket and that's why it generates more money. Is it too hard to understand?

  • RohanBhalerao on October 7, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Forget about the debate!!! I just bow down my head to your writing Sir!!! I can't express in enough words how good u write! This is hair-standing stuff!!!

  • Shubham- on October 7, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    excelent article! Few people who just know to criticise would differ. Else every1 would agree.

  • mgurudatt on October 7, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    i agree harsha the three formats can co-exist the 50-over world cup was the most well covered tournament i've seen

  • SaneVoice on October 7, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    ste13 - T20 is not a lottery. It is just that the duration is shorter and there is a lesser chance of a team making a comeback. CLT20 too is of a shorter duration than IPL and that's why it's difficult to judge the best team from it. The same goes with football and we see huge upsets in world cups which also has a similar format. Nobody suggests that football should be played over 5 days with 20 players being rotated for 5 hours each day!!

  • venky2010 on October 7, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Hi hArsha,

    Like we have different kind of music, differnt varities of food and different seasons of weather. All good things are going to stay.

    If test, ODI and T20's can produce quality, non-boring and exciting cricket. That is all any entertaining sport can bring to table.

    Let teams play hard, produce quality cricket matches, boards create sporting wickets....format does not matter.

  • there_or_thereabouts on October 7, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    The only two problem that I have with T20 is that it's much more closely related to baseball than it is to cricket, and is therefore horribly, stultifyingly, deadly dull. Apart from that it's great.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on October 7, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    " Because we have been brought up believing one form is superior, or that the skills it demands are superior, it doesn't necessarily imply that other skills are trivial." Excellent Harsha. It is very true. Not only for cricket but everywhere. Coming back to cricket, The T20 is good. The bad thing abot T20 is the amount of T20 matches being played. It sucks the same amount of (mental) energy what 5 days of test cricket can do to a cricketer. With its hype ,people expectation and with franchise high demand it can overburden the cricketer. We need less T20 cricket to keep players fit for all versions of game and hence keep all forms of the game interesting.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on October 7, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Yes, you're right. T20 cricket does require skills -- as does playing baseball or poker or snooker or darts. But it takes a completely different kind of skill compared to test cricket. So, you can't say David Warner is a great "batsman", just like you would say Rahul Dravid or Ian Bell are great batsmen. You have to say Warner is a great "T20 batsman", and Dravid is a great "Test batsman". If you pass both as great cricketers, test cricket lovers like me will take issues with that.

  • ste13 on October 7, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    fully agree with VKPune - T20 is a lottery, there is not enough overs to make a distinction between a better and worse team/player. Suppose Virat Kohli scores 81 of 45 balls - does it mean he played brilliantly? And if he gets out after 3 balls- is it bad innings? I think not, in the first case he was just more lucky. Is Aravind scoring the last six in RCB/SA game a batting hero? No, he just had a luck. T20 is obviously entertaining and much more entertaining than test cricket, but this is because of gambling, luck/bad luck elements rather than skills and great abilities of players. This is show cricket not sport cricket. I would still be far to criticise the format. Talking about death of test cricket because of T20 is nonsence. If nobody wants to play or watch test cricket, it should die, you can do nothing about it. Still, believe this will not be a case.

  • Paddle_Sweep on October 7, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Nobody is denying that T20 is not cricket or does not require skills. But the problem is overcricket and IPL/Champions League have affected Indian team's performance in test cricket and that's the core issue. The issue is not whether T20 is a cricket or not. Stop attacking non-issues.

  • santanuXI on October 7, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    T20 often is not like the 'cricket' we loved to watch. Sometimes it is closer to baseball. And I would also agree with many commentators that in the long term, IPL may cause harm to Indian cricket because the talents required in T20 and Test matches (even in 50 over matches) really do not match but lure of money in IPL would be difficult to resist for budding cricketers. But whether it is comparable to bhojpuri film or not, T20 is enjoyable. Cricket as a sport has this problem of 'long duration' and T20 addresses the issue. And I also like IPL beacuse of the simple reason that sports should not always be mixed with nationality or patriotism. If pact schedule is the issue, then why blame only IPL, why not reduce the international commitment as well. IPL does benefit our domestic players too.

  • sumitF on October 7, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    please dont make cricket a debate issue. Cricket is a sport. there is never a low quality sport and high quality sport. you need both food and water to b alive. Test and T20 are both good for cricket. its on us not 2 bury Test cricket and stil enjoy T20. thankx harsha. grt article.

  • Sheela on October 7, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    Someone had already commented. Let this also be added. Boundaries are shortened combined with field restrictions, pitches which are slaughterhouse of bowlers etc. puts bowlers at greatest disadvantage. Does slam bang and blind risky hitting with all disadvantages for bowlers be called cricket. Hardly. One more request to the authorities. Let them frame rules specifying minimum boundary lengths of reasonable distance of say 75 meters. In T20, 60 yard seems to be boundary length and so where is the fairness.

  • AidanFX on October 7, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Don't deny its place; but there are things that irritate me about it the way the IPL operates. I reject the notion is is on par with Tests. The recent NSW game where they bowled the opposition out for 135 and lost 5 early wickets in the chase was an example of how sometimes it can be a bowlers game. I also think of Tait ripping through at the end when it looked like the Indian team were cruising to an easy victory. However at the end of the day bowlers only bowl four overs. This for mine is where Tests have supremacy. You can not watch the art of spin bowling used in its proper manner in four overs. Watching the best fats bowlers against opening and middle order batsman is mini game within the larger 5 day game itself. Tests do have supremacy over 20/20 (yes I do enjoy it) know one can persuade me otherwise and I am glad Argus said the Aus team better make it the pinnacle of cricket again. Even 50 Overs cricket has many aspects 20/20 lacks.

  • srriaj317 on October 7, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Appreciating T20 and enjoying that format is totally fine and acceptable! No'one's against that. The real problem lies in how the players get compensated between the formats. Hacks like Yusuf Pathan and Raina get paid in millions to do - yes, hacking. Legends and players with real talent like Dravid, Laxman, Ponting who revel in Test matches get paid a max of $2mn a year. Average test players who are better than average T20 players get much lesser than that. A state contract in Oz fetches you 60k a year while an IPL contract guarantees more than 100k for a month. People now look at hacks reveling in T20 and now call them 'the real deal'. The future generation of cricketers are suffering in mental application and technique in the real format because of these. It is fine to enjoy T20 Harsha - but just tell us how you are going to solve the resulting problems.

  • DilipR on October 7, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    'nice young men who otherwise would have worshipped in temples' ! lol. but i beg to differ. you see as many wild heaves as you do cricketing shots, it disregards batting technique and completely disrespects those guys called bowlers who put in so much effort to perfect their art, stay fit, injury free, only to come in and get smashed all over the place. we may also be on the verge on seeing new fielding positions invented- right behind the keeper on the boundary line ! No beautifully played or well timed shot can go there and you see balls ending up there evry other over. and since you are also married to cricket, maybe you have to appreciate all forms of it! : )

  • amit1807kuwait on October 7, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    T20 is a format which can only be termed as a glorified version of street cricket. And while everything has a place in life, it is unfair that a form of cricket which requires lesser skills should compensate most. Test cricket is the highest form of the game and will remain so. To equate T20 with test cricket or to put it on the same pedestal is nothing short of blasphemy. We expect better than this from you Harsha. A very disappointing article.

  • cricarnab on October 7, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    Very well put indeed. I still do not take T20 seriously, but I can assure you that CLT20 has been my entertainment over a cup of tea aftyer I get home from work, and that I truely did enjoy watching the matches, which are roughly twice as long as a football match. For that, I will always be thankful.

  • Shhy on October 7, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    @AbAdvani - That is what Harsha is asking, why should he choose between the two when he can enjoy both. I think you didnt read the article properly.. Is there any rule that we should like only one aspect of a thing?? I like both North Indian food as well as South Indian food.. Who are you to tell me i should choose only one?? Similarly there are many people who enjoy the thrills which a T20 cricket provides and the class and concentration which the test cricket delivers.. We enjoy both forms equally..

  • Mastmale on October 7, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Very valid points Harsha. But the problem is not that T20 and Tests cannot be enjoyed at the same time. A cricket lover would truly enjoy both. The problem is the growing obsession with T20 and its preference over Tests by many up and coming players. And we cannot blame them. T20 has the money and the media with it. And who would want to slog for 5 days in the sun when you can play for 3 hours and get much more amount of money? It is this imbalance that needs to be addressed. For we cannot have only a world full of artists, we need Einsteins and Newtons too. And it is the Einsteins and Newtons that have the more profound impact on the world rather than the Picassos and the Warhols.

  • teju666 on October 7, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    Your comparison of Test/T20 with academic/stage skills is completely out of line. I would have rather you used the mass appeal Bhojpuri film industry (no offence intended to fans/artists) with the more refined cinema from Kerala /Bengal as a parallel of T20/Test. As some readers have pointed out, skills in one form dont easily translate into the other and that is the difference. T20 can have one night wonders like RCB's Karthik. It will survive on the antics (i refrain from using the word 'heroics') of an obscure player who has a lucky 15 min at the crease. Special T20 skills are being developed and we see those being applied in other formats with good results. The different skills are being acknowledged, recognized and paid for handsomely. But refrain from bringing them to the same platform as higher cricket skills which we have appreciated for decades and which for some are much harder to develop than T20 skills

  • FallsDown on October 7, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    Okay, Twenty20 is cricket. But this refusal to create a hierarchy of skills sadly seems motivated by the writer's employers (an ongoing trend with this particular writer, unfortunate for his writing and commentary used to have such great promise).

    If the purpose of this article is to say that occasional T20 games (and I don't mean low-quality eyesores like the IPL but one with world-class - or atleast somewhere beyond maidan-class - players like the ICC T20 or to a lesser extent the Champions League) are to be enjoyed, then I am with you. But if it is to put it on par with Test Cricket in terms of skills, quality, temperament, etc. then I should start to think for myself - "what kind of salary from the BCCI will be enough for me to forget about the incalculably superior test format and indulge in Harsha/Shastri/Gavaskar kind of T20 hyperbole?" Hmm...I think Rs. 3.6 crores a year would do :)

  • sudolabs on October 7, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @tradetekbiz : well dude, winning a 100meter runing gold medal in olympics is as great as winning a marathon gold medal. I love this article. Harsha is my alltime favorite commentator . Ravi shastri sucks though.

  • SrinivasanR on October 7, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    My primary discontent around T20 is around how it is managed and administered. Do you think we really need 200 T20 matches a year? I don't think so. We could say that T20 is improving test match skills for players, it is amazing how Kieron Pollard would want to play for Mumbai Indians than the West Indies. The IPL and the Champions League are full of conflicts of interest. the Champions league T20 is supposedly trying to create something like the similarly named tournament in soccer. Now where in Soccer, do you see one player belonging to 2 teams playing in the same tournament and choosing one of them. The club system doesn't work, if you have players playing in so many tournaments. This is why we now have collateral damage in the form of players being injured at a drop of a hat. Yes, T20 is cricket, but it is harming other forms of cricket because of the way it is being managed, primarily by the BCCI and the other members in general.

  • AbAdvani on October 7, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Harsha -if you had to chose between rewarding who climbed the first kilometre of Mt.Everest in the least time or who conquered the Mt.Everest (in all its totatlity) first -who would you chose ?

    If you were asked to choose only one of the two options -between Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, who do you pick as your favorite cricketer, what would be your answer ? Mind you, you can only pick one of the two as your answer and there is no room for a diplomatic answer :-)).

  • srivatsacertain on October 7, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Great work Harsha! Yes, we've always been unable to appreciate the "other" skills of life! The same talented batsmen who can leave good balls on a green surface can't pull a Warner or Harris or even an Arun Karthik! Am glad this column has finally come! Gratitude!

  • VKPune on October 7, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Thanks Harsha. Once again very good article.But I still believe the best form of cricket is test Cricket and T20 is slambang or hit and miss or fluke. I mean the entire game is fluke. How consistant is david warner? can you guarantee a similar innings from him? Its just about going out there and throwing your bat at everything. It basically suits the lesser talented cricketers to get a lot of fame quickly, one six here one good over there ..thats it.in test cricket you are terribly exposed and tested. I fear for future of Indian cricket, whith all the youngsters going for quick fame. I mean Virat kohli was jumping up and down for everything. I wish he shows the same passion when playing for India..Its rubbish this T 20..

  • Akshay_mehta1 on October 7, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Another great article Harsha, have you ever tired to get a job with BCCI ?? we need you in main stream cricket administration badly......

  • jmcilhinney on October 7, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    I, too, enjoy all three forms of the game although, as long as it's a good game, I think the longer the better, i.e. I'd rather watch a test than an ODI and an ODI than a T20I. I think that one of the main reasons that traditional cricket fans look down on T20 is not because of what happens on the field. T20 is seen as a money-making venture by many, myself included. Fewer people were paying to watch cricket so T20 was a way to generate more interest from people who weren't really cricket fans. T20 is as much about the excitement as the cricket. If that helps to finance the continuation of test cricket then I'm prepared to live with it. More problematic I think is the fact that many young players will concentrate on T20 skills to the detriment of their development as a traditional cricketer. Growing up "clearing the front leg" and then trying to learn proper footwork later is hurting test cricket, and maybe Indian test cricket the most. That is, I think, the traditionalists main issue.

  • Doogius on October 7, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    As usual, a nice piece of advertising for your employers. If I can translate the 'don't need all the skills' to tennis, we could have the forehand championships because backhands are 'boring' and you don't need that skill. Of course, the journos would support it as 'real tennis' :) Makes me wonder if you actually ever played any form of proper cricket Harsha - I doubt it.

  • Sandman5five on October 7, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    It is not that Twenty-20 is not cricket. It is. It requires skill, yes. Different kind of skills. The problem is with us. When we expect cricketers with Twenty-20 skills to set the stage on fire in Test Cricket. Another problem is the disproportionate rewards that a Twenty-20 cricketer gets versus a Test Cricketer. The biggest problem, though, is the timing of the IPL.

  • shrikanthk on October 7, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    This piece is a classic example of "inverse snobbery" - the bane of late twentieth century culture.

    Okay. 20-20 is entertaining. More accessible. More democratic (in that it accomodates lesser talents). Nobody denies that. Not even Gideon Haigh! But it doesn't automatically follow that it demands as wide a range of skills as the 4-day/5-day game!

    I love watching an exciting 20-20 game, just as I enjoy guiltily a Yash Chopra film. But I don't try to defend these guilty pleasures by arguing that Yash Chopra is as great an artist as Orson Welles!!

    But that's the problem with modern commentators. It has become unfashionable to call a spade a spade. Disabled people can't be called "disabled" anymore. They're "differently abled".

  • MattBlake on October 7, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Nah, sorry. Every 20/20 match I watch seems to come down to a batsman making 15 not out at the end via three nicks past the keeper. I'll stick with test cricket thanks.

  • RD270 on October 7, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Nobody ever doubted that T20 or ODI required skills. Both of these formats have made the game richer (both financially and on the field!). Better and fitter fielders and runners between the wicket to name a few.

    But the big difference is in the value placed on a wicket. Until the day the Warners, the Pathans and the Raina's are able to translate their ball hitting skills into the longer form of the game there will always be scepticism about them.

    On the other hand SRT, Dravid, Ponting, McGrath, Warne, Kumble have proven that from longer to shorter can be done.

    On a different note, where did this about turn come from Harsha. Just before the WI tour missed by so many of India's top cricketers you were in favour of cricketers taking time off and now you are not? Do you sway seeing which way the wind blows?

  • sharanidli on October 7, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    I appreciate this article for how brave the premise is.

    Its bold enough for someone of Harsha's stature to say: "I enjoy T20 too"; but, its another thing to even refuse to acknowledge the presence of a hierarchy and therefore, implicitly, place T20 on the same pedestal as test cricket.

    I do not agree with the statement (I would have said: "I think T20 requires a set of skills too, but Test Cricket is the ultimate test"), but I am glad you said what you said the way you did! Brave, straightforward piece-- something we don't see enough from mainstream commentators anymore.

  • tradetekbiz on October 7, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    Twenty20 is cricket too, really? Well, running from my front door to the mailbox is running too just as they do it in a marathon! 5th grader writing a poem is poetry too, just like walt whitman writing a poem is poetry! it too requires skills! I can keep going, but hopefully you got the point.

  • YogeshKamat on October 7, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Brilliant article... and one that I was hoping would come much sooner than now.. to be honest I thought Mr. Bhogle or Mr. Manjrekar would stick their neck out and say that T20 too is Cricket and need not be frowned upon.. something similar that had happened to ODI's during Kerry packer.. and i thought this would happen during last years IPL or the likes when most of the domestic Indian talent began performing well along with the Stars of "Proper Cricket" i.e. Kallis, Sachin, DeVilliers, and so on.. but better late than never.. its at times annoying to keep hearing Legends of the game talk T20 down... jst because Kallis and a few more have seamlessly trasnfered their skills from Tests to ODI's.. doesnt mean everyone can.. n similarly its not fair to discount a talent like Raina or Pollard, jst because they havent replicated their heroics in the longer version.. Neways.. to each his own.. Gr8 gng Mr. Bhogle... nice to see a Genuine Cricket Lover..

  • Ben1989 on October 7, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    good article & yes they do involve different skills, but not brought up to believe test cricket is superior, it is superior! I've only started to become a true die hard cricket fan in the past few years & use to like short form better, but now I understand the game, it's clear Test cricket is superior. Test match cricket is the pinnacle, most challenging & BEST form of the game, look at Hussey's century in the 2nd test of recent SL series, the humidity was insane & Huss was still pushing for every run, sweating profusely & then come straight on to field a few hours later after dropping 5kg I think it was. Whilst they provide a different excitement, Test cricket is challenging every aspect of the game & person (mental etc.) if I were offered to pay $10 to watch a t20 match or $50 for one day of test cricket, I would be paying the $50 for test cricket every day of the week (providing not on a flat bed of course!!)

  • rightarmover on October 7, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    Lovely article Harsha. I think this should be placed into the Inbox of every cricketer/fan regarding our great game in general

  • uglyhunK on October 7, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Long time coming. Unfortunately there are only a handful of rational people. Rest are guided by irrational crap in their head. How difficult it is to understand that it takes skill to be successful in T20 ?? I mean, do we need to be super smart to deduce that ?

  • boris6491 on October 7, 2011, 3:13 GMT

    Thanks Harsha for echoing my sentiments. I've always enjoyed T20 cricket, it's dynamic, it's exciting and it's different. Too much of one thing is never good and that perhaps is where T20 cricket attracts much criticism. The CLT20 has shown that T20 cricket can be exciting and it need not be through run fests on flat wickets with short boundaries (although one of the great matches, which Harsha mentioned above, was on such a ground). T20 cricket need not come at the expense of ODI or tests. We see drab and mundane tests and ODIs all the time, would someone prefer watching that to a well matched and tight T20 contest? I doubt it. I love the other two formats of the game, but like Harsha, I question why I can't love T20 as well.

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  • boris6491 on October 7, 2011, 3:13 GMT

    Thanks Harsha for echoing my sentiments. I've always enjoyed T20 cricket, it's dynamic, it's exciting and it's different. Too much of one thing is never good and that perhaps is where T20 cricket attracts much criticism. The CLT20 has shown that T20 cricket can be exciting and it need not be through run fests on flat wickets with short boundaries (although one of the great matches, which Harsha mentioned above, was on such a ground). T20 cricket need not come at the expense of ODI or tests. We see drab and mundane tests and ODIs all the time, would someone prefer watching that to a well matched and tight T20 contest? I doubt it. I love the other two formats of the game, but like Harsha, I question why I can't love T20 as well.

  • uglyhunK on October 7, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Long time coming. Unfortunately there are only a handful of rational people. Rest are guided by irrational crap in their head. How difficult it is to understand that it takes skill to be successful in T20 ?? I mean, do we need to be super smart to deduce that ?

  • rightarmover on October 7, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    Lovely article Harsha. I think this should be placed into the Inbox of every cricketer/fan regarding our great game in general

  • Ben1989 on October 7, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    good article & yes they do involve different skills, but not brought up to believe test cricket is superior, it is superior! I've only started to become a true die hard cricket fan in the past few years & use to like short form better, but now I understand the game, it's clear Test cricket is superior. Test match cricket is the pinnacle, most challenging & BEST form of the game, look at Hussey's century in the 2nd test of recent SL series, the humidity was insane & Huss was still pushing for every run, sweating profusely & then come straight on to field a few hours later after dropping 5kg I think it was. Whilst they provide a different excitement, Test cricket is challenging every aspect of the game & person (mental etc.) if I were offered to pay $10 to watch a t20 match or $50 for one day of test cricket, I would be paying the $50 for test cricket every day of the week (providing not on a flat bed of course!!)

  • YogeshKamat on October 7, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Brilliant article... and one that I was hoping would come much sooner than now.. to be honest I thought Mr. Bhogle or Mr. Manjrekar would stick their neck out and say that T20 too is Cricket and need not be frowned upon.. something similar that had happened to ODI's during Kerry packer.. and i thought this would happen during last years IPL or the likes when most of the domestic Indian talent began performing well along with the Stars of "Proper Cricket" i.e. Kallis, Sachin, DeVilliers, and so on.. but better late than never.. its at times annoying to keep hearing Legends of the game talk T20 down... jst because Kallis and a few more have seamlessly trasnfered their skills from Tests to ODI's.. doesnt mean everyone can.. n similarly its not fair to discount a talent like Raina or Pollard, jst because they havent replicated their heroics in the longer version.. Neways.. to each his own.. Gr8 gng Mr. Bhogle... nice to see a Genuine Cricket Lover..

  • tradetekbiz on October 7, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    Twenty20 is cricket too, really? Well, running from my front door to the mailbox is running too just as they do it in a marathon! 5th grader writing a poem is poetry too, just like walt whitman writing a poem is poetry! it too requires skills! I can keep going, but hopefully you got the point.

  • sharanidli on October 7, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    I appreciate this article for how brave the premise is.

    Its bold enough for someone of Harsha's stature to say: "I enjoy T20 too"; but, its another thing to even refuse to acknowledge the presence of a hierarchy and therefore, implicitly, place T20 on the same pedestal as test cricket.

    I do not agree with the statement (I would have said: "I think T20 requires a set of skills too, but Test Cricket is the ultimate test"), but I am glad you said what you said the way you did! Brave, straightforward piece-- something we don't see enough from mainstream commentators anymore.

  • RD270 on October 7, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Nobody ever doubted that T20 or ODI required skills. Both of these formats have made the game richer (both financially and on the field!). Better and fitter fielders and runners between the wicket to name a few.

    But the big difference is in the value placed on a wicket. Until the day the Warners, the Pathans and the Raina's are able to translate their ball hitting skills into the longer form of the game there will always be scepticism about them.

    On the other hand SRT, Dravid, Ponting, McGrath, Warne, Kumble have proven that from longer to shorter can be done.

    On a different note, where did this about turn come from Harsha. Just before the WI tour missed by so many of India's top cricketers you were in favour of cricketers taking time off and now you are not? Do you sway seeing which way the wind blows?

  • MattBlake on October 7, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Nah, sorry. Every 20/20 match I watch seems to come down to a batsman making 15 not out at the end via three nicks past the keeper. I'll stick with test cricket thanks.

  • shrikanthk on October 7, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    This piece is a classic example of "inverse snobbery" - the bane of late twentieth century culture.

    Okay. 20-20 is entertaining. More accessible. More democratic (in that it accomodates lesser talents). Nobody denies that. Not even Gideon Haigh! But it doesn't automatically follow that it demands as wide a range of skills as the 4-day/5-day game!

    I love watching an exciting 20-20 game, just as I enjoy guiltily a Yash Chopra film. But I don't try to defend these guilty pleasures by arguing that Yash Chopra is as great an artist as Orson Welles!!

    But that's the problem with modern commentators. It has become unfashionable to call a spade a spade. Disabled people can't be called "disabled" anymore. They're "differently abled".