The idea of a 100-ball cricket is nothing but a laughing stock.
English Director Andrew Strauss’s proposal of 100-ball cricket came under fire from every direction in the cricket fraternity in the last few days. The cricket fraternity has been outrageous to the sweeping new proposal by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
As per the new proposal, ECB revealed plans for an eight-team, 100-ball competition. The game will consist of 16.4 overs each, with 15 overs of six deliveries and a solitary over of 10 deliveries. The point is, why is the focus being turned away from spicing up Test cricket to creating a fourth format altogether. This game already has three formats, won’t a fourth format complicate things rather than simplifying it?
Strauss while emphasising the importance of this format said, “What we’re trying to do is an appeal to a new audience, people that aren’t traditional cricket fans. We want to make the game as simple as possible for them to understand.”
One also needs to bring into account the amount of cricket being played. Players are wearing out, they are being made the burden of beasts. It’s true that T20 cricket has set the stage on fire, it has been on a roll across the globe. Since its inception, T20 has been the talk of the town. With franchise-based T20 leagues finding its feet, the format has been the centre of attraction. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the future of Test cricket is now in jeopardy.
In a BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme Straus said, “T20 has been unbelievably successful and it has established a very strong audience now. We want that audience but a different audience as well, who perhaps would like things slightly different. That’s the driver behind this idea.”
“T20 has become a longer and longer format of the game. It is more than four hours in a lot of parts of the world. We want kids to be able to go to bed earlier and it is worth saying it is going to be on terrestrial TV. We want the more casual audience.”
If the Director of English cricket can stand for such an asinine idea then the writing is clearly on the wall for Test cricket. How is a 100-ball format better than the existing 120-ball one?
However, many former cricketers opposed the idea including former England bowler Chris Tremlett. He was dead right with his words. In a Twitter post he wrote, “As if the general public didn’t understand cricket enough in the current formats, we go and add another one. Not sure what’s wrong with 2020 and why we’re trying to get funky. The longer form of the game is what needs spicing up, not the shorter form.”
Behind the facade of naming a brand new fan base, what they are essentially doing is pissing off the long-standing niche audience. The older audience, the cricket audience, the audience that’s been watching cricket for while now, the established audience, they are starting to feel that the sport is losing its very essence, which is the problem here with so much tweaking and tinkering. And what Strauss has said is, that we want to make it very simple. How imprudent are the people you are catering to, that you have to break down the game into tiny little pieces rather than enjoying the intricacies of it?
The other thing is that, his reasons are basically a classic argument for all the bad cinema that is produced, for all the bad books that are written and now for all the cricket that will be played. The argument that we are giving people what they want, the point here is you are in a position to shape the consciousness of the people, but instead, you are choosing to pander to their stupidity.
And what next? Will they even introduce even a 5-over game to make it more electrifying? Instead of introducing new formats, in my personal opinion, more importance should be given to Test and ODI cricket. The joy of test cricket is just irresistible.
One also needs to take the balance of the game into account. A bowler’s life becomes more miserable with the number of overs being reduced. The fact that all 10 batsmen can bat irrespective of the format gives them the liberty to go all guns blazing, the balance is heavily tilted in batsmen’s favour.
The game has seen enough changes in the recent times. The game will lose its charm and become more complicated if new formats keep popping up every now and ten. A line needs to be drawn. As of now, the whole idea of 100-ball format is nothing but a futile alteration of T20 cricket, when the existing format has been gaining an astounding response. What will the response be? Only time will tell the difference.