Consider an international cricket tournament with the best T-20 sides from all top cricket nations playing. Add to it foreign players, coaches and cheerleaders. Sounds mouthwatering? (cheerleaders just happened to be before mouthwatering) Well, think again!
In a classic case of killing the hen which lays the golden egg, the ICC has (arguably) played the card called overkill. True, a miniature version of the great sport which finishes quicker than Bollywood movies (with a climax, moreover) was a terrific way of filling up the stadiums again. While people might prefer to catch Tests and ODIs at home from time to time, popcorn cricket with its grand packaging naturally seemed a more attractive proposition to urban Indian.
But, as so often happens, too much of anything is bad. (A day after Diwali, I reckon most sweet toothed Indians will nod in agreement.) If an IPL with its jam-packed schedule was not enough, a T-20 world cup followed almost immediately. And before you could say 'Enough!', the Champions' league T20 was on you.
For all of 20-20 cricket's brevity and entertainment quotient, it always had its critics amid the purists. The joys of cricket included, among other things, the art of building an innings and
plotting a batsman. Both these arts are now, for all practical purposes, redundant. Though it requires its own skill set and is often exhilerating to watch, it is at best a complement to its father and elder brother (Tests and ODIs, if you are on a sedative).
And the sooner the ICC realise this, the better for the game. Infact, amid all the noise and hoopla surrounding T-20, Test cricket might actually gain in the process. Cricket fans, almost fed up with the incessant torrent that has become 20-20, might just welcome the refreshing sight of the whites when normal service is resumed. Until then, however, I will just switch channels when I see players in almost shining outfits look to make a baseball out of cricket.