T20, cricket for those who don’t like cricket, will thrill us for three weeks: The Tribune India

Rohit Mahajan

The old cliché ‘glorious uncertainties of cricket’ seems so grossly inadequate for our times – it was coined in the heyday of Test cricket, after all. Imagine, if the authors of the old cricket test thought it was “gloriously uncertain”, how would they have described the maniacal unpredictability of T20 cricket?

T20 cricket is the victory of oblivion over memory for one simple reason: it produces such an overabundance of memorable moments, in just three hours, that nothing out of the ordinary stands out. The proliferation of T20 leagues has made six hits a common occurrence throughout the year.

Javed Miandad’s last ball against Chetan Sharma in 1986 is etched in the memory of those who watched it in Sharjah or on TV at home. But, since last year, do you remember how Pakistan lost the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup? The incredible three sixers of Matthew Wade – a batsman far inferior to Miandad – against Shaheen Afridi, a bowler far superior to Chetan Sharma? Remember?

Oldies remember the dashing Salim Durani hitting sixers on demand – in Test matches! Yet his record shows he only hit 15 sixers in 50 Test innings over 13 years. Hitting a six was an event in those days, when the limits were further out and the bats were smaller, lighter. The lands are now smaller, the borders closer – and the bats are monstrous.

Chris Gayle hit 18 sixers in a Bangladesh Premier League game in 2017 – 18 sixers in 90 minutes, three more than Durani has hit in his entire career! Afghanistan’s Hazratullah Zazai holds the international record for six hits, including 16 against Ireland in 2019; for a ‘big’ team the record is 14, by Andrew Finch against England in 2015. But the banality of such astonishment made it forgettable, in just another example of manic striking.

The spirit of the times

Perhaps wickedly, a 2011 research paper referenced the rise of T20 cricket with a catchy title: “Cricket for people who don’t like cricket?: Twenty20 as an expression of the cultural and media zeitgeist” .

In today’s age, where people have too much to do and too little time to do it, Test cricket seems anachronistic. T20 cricket is also the revenge of the less talented against the super talented – when the game is abbreviated, players of modest abilities stand a chance, just as a math idiot can achieve the same grades as a genius if the exam is easy. questions. It was for this reason that, say, the now-unnamed Paul Valthaty was able to outplay some of the biggest names in IPL 2011.

It works the same for teams – the shortness of play bridges the skill gap. West Indies, the most successful team in T20 World Cup history, with two crowns, were knocked out of this year’s tournament after losing to Scotland and Ireland. Sri Lanka, champions of the Asian Cup, lost against Namibia. Six different teams have won the title in all seven editions of the T20 World Cup so far, and any of the top nine teams can claim it this time around. Brevity turns the T20 into a lottery – well, almost.

When great cricketers and commentators get too excited about T20 cricket, one suspects they want to hype, because that’s what they get paid for. In 2010, Yusuf Pathan hit a 37-ball century in the IPL. Shane Warne, the captain of Pathan, said: “I played cricket for 21 years and saw Sachin Tendulkar as the best batsman I played against as he murdered attacks and hit them all over the place. the park. But today was the best run I have ever seen. Good! Pathan sleeves are now just anecdotes.

The T20 mantra is “watch it, enjoy it, forget it” – but never rate a team or player too high or too low based on this format. Let the tamasha begin!

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