by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (May 12 2009)
The purists hate it, but few can dispute that Twenty20 is currently the most popular form of cricket. It is a discipline that top cricketers need to master as it can be effective in other forms of the game as well. Recently we reported on a thrilling final day of the four-day match between Surrey and Middlesex at the Brit Oval.1
It turned into that type of run chase by the Twenty20 champions, Middlesex, who surely were best equipped to win such a match, but they found a way to fall just short, after having been put into a good position by the talented Australian Philip Hughes, Nick Compton and Eoin Morgan. They tried to end it early and kept losing wickets at crucial times. It happens in Twenty20, but in time players will learn to adapt that form of the game to other forms when the situation calls for it.
Twenty20 was invented in England, but after the last World Cup in South Africa in 2007 India beat Pakistan and the sub-continent took over. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) backed the Indian Premier League (IPL), but a rival emerged headed by former Indian great Kapil Dev, the Indian Cricket League (ICL). It was a private venture and players joining it were banned from representing their countries.
IPL head Lalit Modi adopted a tough stance against to try to crush it. The veteran Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf initially joined the ICL, left it for the IPL, but facing a lawsuit, was left without a team and forced back to the ICL. He is currently banned from playing for Pakistan.
Former captain Inzamam ul-Haq is also banned, but has retired from international cricket anyway and is outspoken in his criticism of the Pakistan Cricket Board and International Cricket Council. Inzi, as he is affectionately known, slammed them for picking three ICL based players for the Twenty20 World Cup only to drop them at the last minute. He pointed out that before big money came into cricket such tournaments went on regularly in Bangladesh and there were no bans.
Inzamam has a point and the ICL attracted some top names, such as Brian Lara, although the record-breaking Trinidadian batsman failed to make the expected impact. It consisted mainly of Indians and Pakistanis, but participation in the ICL had a huge impact.
Vangipurappu Venkata Sai (VVS) Laxman played in the IPL and wanted to replace Adam Voges as Nottinghamshire’s overseas player last year, but the BBCI adopted an aggressive stance and refused to allow him to sign for the county because it had ICL players. Nottinghamshire was seething about it, but worse followed as the Twenty20 competition between English and Indian teams was cancelled by the Indians for the same reason.
1See http://empower-sport.com/index.php?categoryid=1&p2_articleid=336 for a report of that match.