A Storm In Our Midst - 20-20 Cricket.

Move over one-dayers; take a break five-dayers. With the shortage of time and the rush that people are in, 20-20 is a welcome change in the form of the game that we all love - cricket. It provides pure, fast-paced, adrenalin-pumping, nerve-wrecking, unadulterated, sheer entertainment.

It's good to see the greats of the game return to take the field in BCCI's brainchild - the DLF IPL T20. Were it not for this event, we would have probably never seen McGrath get pissed over inside edges, Tendulkar & Jayasuriya open the batting together, Warne bowl his flippers, Pollock bowl his economical spells...the list could go on and on.

It's a good response to Zee's Indian Cricket League. In fact, the ICL managed to get some mileage once BCCI announced it's Indian Premier League plans. Not that the ICL does not have players that are worth watching or a format that is any different from the current IPL series. It's the sheer media coverage that the IPL has received that has benefitted ICL as well. Overall, it's good for the game, and that's the bottom line.

Honestly, if you ask me, it was just a matter of time before this franchisee model took off. It's been done successfully in the US with the NBA, the Baseball Leagues, and even Ice Hockey. In fact, I was a bit surprised about the fact that it took so long for the BCCI to get this off the ground and they had to resort to this as a response to the ICL initiated by the Zee Group. Guess they must have had their own reasons.

To be very honest with you, my interest in the IPL was out of curiosity in the beginning, waned in the middle, and finally peaked with Tendulkar's return to the game. After watching a few matches in the beginning, I just felt that there was too much cricket going on and considering the fact that I am a service-class citizen, I found it a little difficult to ignore work every day for the next 2 months and concentrate on watching cricket. Suggestion to the organizers the next time around - take it easy...space it out...and for God's sake - don't force the poor guys to play in the summer heat of India in horribly humid and hot places such as Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, etc.

I wonder what the outcome of this new format will be on the cricket lovers all around the country and the globe in general. Is it going to draw crowds away from the one-dayers and test matches? Or, on the other hand, is it going to increase the viewership of the game of cricket? Will this format of the game (20-20) be adopted all over the world in all the leagues of the cricket fraternity? Will it tire out the existing international players considering the frequency of the games being played?

Looking at the kind of money that is floating around and is involved in this tournament along with all the glitz and glamour that has become associated with this format, am just regretful of 2 things:

1 - Is cricket being commodotized? These stars and starlets, with celebrities attending the matches...somehow, it's just not reminiscent of the skill and hardcore genius that should be involved in the proceedings of the game...there's just something amiss about the whole thing - things that I miss, especially cricket!

2 - Why wasn't I born a cricketer considering the kind of money that even an under-19 player is getting? People...sit up and take notice. You want your kids to grow rich - turn your kids into cricketers and damn good ones at that.
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