Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bring it on James!

In an article on cricinfo, James Sutherland of Cricket Australia suggests setting up a specialist Twenty20 team. I've seen some pro and some con arguments,

Sutherland draws parallels to rugby, where this works very well. And this is a very good comparison. What cricket and rugby essentially have in common is that you need a great diversity of skill in the different positions on the field and down the order. 7s rugby and Twenty20 are comparable in that you lose a dimension of the game. The rules are essentially the same, but the tactics are very different, so there is less diversity required in your player set up. (For those of you who don't know rugby: 7s rugby is played with 7 players, 15s is played with 15. In 15s you have 8 forwards (big, strong, not necesarily fast and agile) and 7 backs (fast, fast, agile, strong). In 7s, everyone is essentially a back in open play.)

Here is what 7s has done for rugby:
-The 7s team is typically a bit younger that the 15s team, since speed is so vital. Many of these play for 15s teams at club level, and many make the transition to the 15s team.
-The young players get a chance to play international rugby, before they are ready to make the 15s team
- Smaller nations can compete much closer with the more established nations. (In fact, Fiji is a world power in 7s rugby, but not quite there yet in 15s)
- There is a smaller threshold to playing, so more countries are getting involved

As for the argument about Twenty20 players forgoing their test careers: a typical age for a test debut is mid- to late twenties for a batsman. If they've spent a few years facing international bowlers on pitches all over the world before they were good enough to be selected for the test team, I don't see how that is a problem (as long as they still play first class cricket on a national level).

So I say bring it on! As a bonus, if you get a separate Twenty20 team they can trott around the world playing tournaments without disrupting the test circuit, and we can go back to 4 and 5 match test-series.

(Cricinfo article)


  1. An excellent blog, Ingo, you certainly put forward a strong case for separate teams for 20/20 and tests. The comparison with rugby is a good one, as Sevens provides a niche for players with a certain set of attributes that are perhaps not always required in the 15 man game. Similar to what you said, both Sevens and 20/20 can act as a new path to International recognition, and I'm sure in cricket if the separate teams idea was put into practice then there would eventually be players moving from one format to another.

  2. Flamingo,

    Very good post. I don't think it is a bad idea as younger players can get the exposure but the problem can be the next generation of players may just think of playing T/20 cricket as it is less-taxing and more money is involved. I see that Pollard just seems to be a T/20 specialist as he refused to play for the A team and is instead going to play for Somerset in the T/20 competition.

  3. I didn't think I was ever going to be a rugby fan, but having attended the Dubai Rugby Sevens for the last three or four years, I can say now that I certainly enjoy the sport! And it's not the sport itself, it's how they present it - the stadium atmosphere, music and cheerleaders make it awesome. Unlike T20 though, ads aren't repeatedly thrust in my face!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys!

    @grey, re. Pollard: Stuart Broad opted out of IPL in favour of working on the long format, and was rewarded with a brilliant test season last year. Duminy went into the IPL after a dismal season and refound some of his form there. So I think (even young) players can be trusted to do what is right for their developement as cricketers.

    But if anyone goes for the money and opts out of tests, then good riddance to bad rubbish!

    @Rishabh, isn't rugby fantastic? I haven't even noticed they had cheerleaders, but I guess I get to look at 14 fit men rolling over each other, so it's only fair there's something there for the guys too!

  5. I don't think it's a bad idea either, to be honest. I never got around to writing a post on it, but if I had done it wouldn't be as good as this so probably for the best.

    They wouldn't necessarily be foregoing their test careers, as you say. Some players will find they are suited to T20 but can't translate it to tests, but in that case they wouldn't have had a test career anyway.

    So rugby, huh? Aust v Eng in my home town today! Sadly, I am on the other side of the workd now so can't watch. We have Eng in round ball football instead. It'll do.

  6. Aw Sid, now I'm blushing. Yes rugby! I play hooker (since rugby forward is the only, only thing in the sporting world I am not too clumsy to do).

  7. I dont follow rugby or understand it, so I got very little of what you said. But it sounds better than what's going on with cricket right now!

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