The ECB announced earlier this year a controversial shake-up to Twenty20 cricket. The alterations for this new format of T20 cricket include eight city based teams playing one hundred balls of cricket, this includes fifteen “traditional” six ball overs and a final ten ball over. This is twenty balls shorter than the pre-existing T20 game. Given that there was outcry over the consideration of a T10 league being introduced in England, these latest proposals have faced a massive amount of criticism. But is this just a case of people making a mountain out of a molehill?[pullquote]this new competition is the foundation of getting more people interested in cricket[/pullquote]
Breaking it down, the changes proposed aren’t really too bad. Let’s be honest, cricket isn’t a hugely popular sport in England anymore- considering it used to be our national sport. By introducing a new format of T20, it gets more people excited about cricket. The aim of these proposals by the ECB was to encourage more families to get involved watching cricket, hence why there is a massive emphasis on having the competition televised.
Look at the excitement surrounding big T20 competitions across the world, like the IPL in India and the Big Bash in Australia, this is the ECB’s aim to appeal to a bigger audience. Although the pre-existing T20 Blast in England is fantastic to watch, it doesn’t quite have the same mass appeal and following compared to that of India and Australia.
If the ECB had introduced something along the lines of a T10 format then that would hold reasonable grounds for argument as ten overs is far too short for a game of cricket. In my opinion, this new competition is the foundation of getting more people interested in cricket and ultimately helping to develop the game. Additionally, this new competition doesn’t aim to replace the immensely popular twenty over T20 Blast- which will still remain unchanged.
The ECB are considering introducing 10 over cricket, with fans labelling it “the final nail in the coffin for world cricket”. T10 sees the traditionally slow, flowing game reduced to a measly 120 balls, destroying aspects of it that have remained popular for half a millennium.
Rules honed over centuries to provide an even battle of wits between batter and bowler have been ripped up, with shortened boundaries and lengthy power plays leading journalist Saj Sadiq to declare the format “heavily in favour of the batsman”. T10 sees the intricate art of batting reduced to “see it, hit it” according to batsman Rille Rossouw, with England opener Alex Hales admitting he will simply “close his eyes and swing”.[pullquote]The slowly evolving and enduringly popular stallion of Test cricket shouldn’t be compromised[/pullquote]
T20 has already damaged test cricket, with England legend Geoffrey Boycott saying “the technique of batting is poor because, from an early age, counties are teaching batsmen Twenty20 shots” resulting in frequent batting collapses and shortened games. The introduction of T10 can only hasten this decline with England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan admitting that T10 will “impact the other forms of the game” and the time needed to introduce the format into an already hectic schedule likely to result in the vital proving ground of county cricket losing importance and being played less often.
The ECB should take heed of the story of a horse designed by a committee. The slowly evolving and enduringly popular stallion of Test cricket shouldn’t be compromised by the unnecessary creation of the camel-like T10.