World Twenty20 2007 - newspaper round-up September 25, 2007

'A stupendous festival of cricket'


Hundreds of Indian fans cram round a big TV screen to watch them take the World Twenty20 title yesterday © Getty Images

The inaugural World Twenty20 tournament has been exhilarating viewing. But opinions from players and commentators remain divided; split between those who are convinced the format is the natural heir to 50-over's ageing throne, and some who remain wary of Twenty20's long-term impact.

Gideon Haigh, the Australian author and cricket columnist, is one. Australia haven't embraced cricket's frolicking fest with as much fervour as we might have expected but there is no early-exit bitterness from Haigh. His concern is for the future.

"Through time, however, it is likely that the main beneficiaries will be commercial intermediaries," Haigh wrote in yesterday's Australian. "Cricket will make a great deal of money in the short term, money it has no obvious need for and will mostly waste, and it will be left a coarser, crueller, crasser game as a result. Now that the Twenty20 world championship is over, another proverb comes to mind: be careful what you wish for."

But even critics of the shortened format can't deny that this particular tournament was, administratively, far greater a success than the World Cup in the Caribbean. Jonathan Agnew, BBC's cricket correspondent, chose yesterday as the perfect opportunity to highlight the World Cup's failings and World Twenty20's successes.

"This is how a one-day cricket tournament should be," he said. "People are actually welcomed into the grounds here, you're not strip searched by men with rubber gloves, you can take in whatever you can take in a flag of whatever size you can take a bottle of water in.

"They've treated people with a bit of respect, a bit of dignity and they're not ripping them off. They've charged them little to get in - two or three pounds will usually get you into a game - and what a surprise, the grounds are full and there's a tremendous atmosphere.

"I hope this has been a lesson learned by the ICC that one-day cricket tournaments are fantastic, they're colourful, they're vibrant, they're everything they should be," he concluded. "But unfortunately, the last two World Cups that the ICC have staged haven't been."

Simon Briggs, in The Daily Telegraph, was even moved to question whether the tournament was "the most successful tournament in cricket history", while insisting it "certainly...produced the best final we have seen". A bold claim, but this format is sweeping everyone off their feet whether they like it or not, inducing superlatives left, right and centre.

Agnew: 'I hope this has been a lesson learned by the ICC that one-day cricket tournaments are fantastic, they're colourful, they're vibrant, they're everything they should be' © Getty Images

"The match was a compressed epic," Briggs gushed. "Like the famous World Cup semi-final of 1999, it proved that limited-overs cricket can be just as compelling as the full-scale game. When the pressure mounts, the players' temperaments are laid bare. And while the technique of smearing a six over midwicket may bear little resemblance to that employed in a classic cover drive, the skills involved are every bit as demanding."

Mike Haysman, the South African commentator, was so enthralled that he sees no future for the 50-over dinosaur. "The ICC can no longer ignore the popularity of the shortest form and needs to accommodate the wishes of their fanatical paying public," he wrote at the Supercricket website. "This injection is exactly what the game needs to rejuvenate the sport and whilst Test cricket needs to be protected and preserved, the relatively sluggish 50 over game can step aside and allow the new pretender centre stage."

Fazeer Mohammed, writing in the Trinidad and Tobago Express, agrees with Haysman too. "The competition has been packaged as any fast food should be: attractively presented for rapid consumption and instant gratification with no pretensions towards the proper nutrition that is needed to sustain the long-term health of the traditional form of the game."

The praise doesn't stop there. Over in The Independent. Stephen Brenkley described the event as a "a stupendous festival of cricket" while adding that "there will be those who still insist that this is not really cricket, that it is wham bam stuff for a modern generation. Let them go on thinking so." It was, he concluded, "something truly special".

But 50-over cricket isn't yet dead. And Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, brought the Twenty20's gushing praise to an abrupt halt today when he reminded everyone that "50-over cricket is the financial driver of the game."

But for how long, Malcolm?

Will Luke is a staff writer on Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Akshat on September 26, 2007, 15:27 GMT

    Very much. It was absolute fun and there were a number of exciting moments! India's every match was exciting.

  • Hussain on September 26, 2007, 9:32 GMT

    Yes I was very impressed by the 20/20 format with even the minnows caused damage to bigger teams but, you can't get rid of the 50 overs format because you are then ruining the bowlers career.

  • Sameer on September 26, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    I believe Cricket has become like Wrestling too ! Its simply scripted. Especially India v Pakistan games are totally fixed. Nevertheless, it feels great that your favorite wrestler wins. Similarly it feels great when India wins :)

  • Sweta on September 25, 2007, 23:24 GMT

    I work. 9 hrs at office. 2 hrs to and fro. half the day gone at work or for work. Then to watch a game for 7 hrs a day becomes tough. N guess what before getting employed i never used to miss a min of cricket. Well, inspite of that i could always find 3 hrs for my fav match. i wud not mind sleeping 4 hrs one day instead of 7 hrs and enjoy a cricket match in that time. I love one day cricket and m crazy about test cricket. But for me and many like me T20 has come as a lifeline. N who says its batsman friendly, for me it filtered ordinary bowlers from really good ones. N trust me bowlers wud find this experience very handy in the one day format.

  • Raghav on September 25, 2007, 19:57 GMT

    There is no doubt that Tournament was a big hit. The reason may be the number of cricket lovers in both nations and their emotions involved with the game. For any international cricket tournament India and Pakistan are the top of the attractions. As much they advance in tournament as great the tournament would be. Exactly the same happened in Twenty20 WC. Imagine T20 WC Final without India Pakistan, it wouldn't have been that great.

    Coming to ODI replacement in perspective of true cricket, I don't think 20-20 would replace ODI. Twenty20 is a fastfood cricket. No one likes to eat fastfood forever. Now and then it is fine. Twenty20 lacks technique and class which you can see in ODI and Test flavours. But, fastfood gave us great kick and that is why we are thinking of ODI replacement. T20 cannot be a serious game, its funfilled refreshment.

  • Iraivan on September 25, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    The tournament was fantastic, but I would like add my comments on various state government's offering money to their state players.

    If BCCI is private organization, why are the state governments spending people's money as prize money for a individuals those work a private company, which is BCCI??

  • Tush on September 25, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Great showing Indian and Pakistani teams! And South African authorities for planning & execution of this tournament.

    While I am of the 'purist' view that this is not real creat as it only a crack, smash, bang version, it is nonetheless entertaining. It may very well become commercially very successful. It may also bring new nations as TT could provide a quicker platform for "qualification". For the current countries participating in TT, it is a refreshing change for the fans from the near total dominance of Australian in regular cricket as has happened in near past.

    Just my 2 cents

  • Talal on September 25, 2007, 16:44 GMT

    I am a product of the 90s. Not so much around the time for the best Test Cricket and too iffy about 20/20. For me one-day cricket is something I have grown up watching not that I am the biggest fan of that format, I am the biggest fan of good, tigtly fought test contest. But unfortunately that doesn't happen two often. More than likely you'd being guessing the result around the 3rd day. I also like ODIs but not the one sided affair that we've been having all this year so I guess this 20/20 thing (cricket) if you'd want to call it that... was a welcome change....

  • Satya on September 25, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    yah! every indian cheers y'day.. really india heroes are proved their Guts in a major internationals.. through out the World blinks by seeing the dynamic power of young blood.. Atleast now BCCI should wake up and give more chances to the young chaps really they have the powers to make Big guns bend their heads.. Team India cheers up for a wonderful moment.. We are all proud to be part of India.. All the best for coming tours..

  • Raj on September 25, 2007, 16:20 GMT

    Lots of ppl are crediting the success of this tournament to Indo-Pak final clash and aussies not clean sweeping....but thats wat 20-20 has team was far ahead of others, not even aussies unlike the 50 over game.. and i beleive that, be it any form of cricket, it is more interesting if the equals clash rather than unequals.. i bet even the aussies would have enjoyed the border cup in 2003 in australia more than the ashes in 2005

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