Tom Moody, the Sunrisers Hyderabad coach and former Australia allrounder, has said that players' skills have improved dramatically over the years in T20. Moody pointed to the emergence of unorthodox, aggressive batsmen such as Glenn Maxwell and said that players of his type were not to be seen in the early years of the shortest format.
"There is no doubt. It has changed enormously," Moody told ESPNcricinfo. "We have seen over the last seven years of just the IPL, for instance, a number of players develop their skills dramatically. We did not see the Maxwell-type cricketers in year one, two or three. We all remember the first innings in Bangalore when Brendon McCullum made a remarkable start to the IPL [with an unbeaten 158 off 73]. But that was more conventional cricket as we know it - the traditional sweep-slogs and hitting down the ground."
While McCullum's innings still remains the second-highest ever in T20s, Moody said hitting had become a lot more unconventional now, with newer scoring zones being uncovered by powerful batsmen such as Maxwell and David Warner. "Now we are seeing these reverse-sweep slogs - not just reverse-sweeps, but reverse-sweep slogs - that are going well in front of square right down to backward square. We have got Warner doing exactly the same sort of thing.
"We saw the other night Warner play a late cut right-handed against a quick. To think that was ever going to happen in year one [of the IPL], you'd be laughed at."
It wasn't only the batsmen who had developed their skills; Moody said the bowlers had done the same, and added that the process of change would continue as players sought to keep ahead of competition. "What we have also seen that is interesting is the bowlers suddenly also emerge and change their thought process as they have to keep up with the game. The disguise of slower balls has also improved. It is not just the standard slower ball that you see coming in these days. Most bowlers have to have two varieties of slower balls… the wide yorker we have also seen. So there have been a lot of changes.
"I still think it will continue to grow in that way because to be successful you need to keep moving. If you keep still you will be left behind. Both batsmen and bowlers will be very aware of that and coaches too for that matter. They need to keep moving and trying to find new ground to challenge their opponent."