I am a traditionalist who thinks that the 5 day Test match is a great game. Like all cricket fans I can be engrossed by the struggle of ball against bat, when to the non cricket lover “nothing happens”. A long period of no or low scoring balls can be a fascinating contest. I can go home after a Saturday at the Test not knowing who will win, well satsified if I have seen great bowling and skillful batting. I like to see the game played in whites on a lovely English ground like Lords.
I am also someone who thinks change and the future can be exciting. I do not wish to live in the past. I find 20/20 cricket is simply the most exciting, adventurous, brilliant team game the world has so far designed. In just three hours you will probably see more than 300 runs scored, around 15 wickets taken, and drama on each ball. There are frequent dashed singles, attempted run outs, big hits, and aggressive bowling. There is an ad break in the middle, different coloured clothes, and modern crowd participation. I love it too.
20/20 is a different game. We may need specialists in the two different types of cricket. Knowing how to play the long game with solid defence and classic strokes may still be a good grounding for 20/20, but the cricketer will need to develop and adapt from that if he is to succceed. 20/20 needs a very different approach to stroke play, bowling line and length and to risk taking. 20/20 is unlikely to be a good training for Test cricket, where patience and temperament are so crucial.
There is a place for both games. Many more people will enjoy the thrills and spills of 20/20. Many 20/20 lovers will never grasp why some of us can go and see a whole day’s cricket, see not many runs or wickets, come away still without a winner and think we have had a good time. Those of us who do love the long game should understand the immediacy and pleasure of 20/20. It will involve many more in a type of cricket. There is room for both. 20/20 could become the type of cricket that the US wants to play, and could become a cult global sport if the cricket promoters get behind it. It certainly has plenty of commercial potential.