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Crickets Confusing New World Order

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Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

The sad irony that the IPL’s winner's trophy has the map of India featuring prominently on it and yet it will be won in South Africa sums up the confusion of crickets new world order as the proliferation of Twenty 20 competition erodes the traditions of the game. 

Since the introduction of Twenty 20 in 2003 in the UK, the game has grown exponentially with the fans and also commercially. 

It’s little wonder. 

The condensed version of the game is fast paced and therefore better works on television, assisted by the glitz that has been built into the game, see the IPL as an example. 

But in the mad rush to cash in on this new phenomenon, the cricket world is at risk of being pulled apart by the divergence of interests, competitions and versions of the game, adding to the confusing calendar that for casual fans was already hard to follow and lacked coherence before Twenty 20 came along and multiplied the number of fixtures and competitions around.  

Not only do we have the IPL, easily the most successful of the Twenty 20 competitions, we also have the rival Indian Cricket League (ICL) and the proposed American Premier League not to mention numerous domestic leagues and one off competitions.  

Then there is the Champions Twenty20, a competition based on football’s UEFA Champions League in which the leading teams from domestic Twenty 20 leagues across the globe would meet, which was another victim of the terrorist attacks in India and has been postponed for a year.

This groundswell of change has not only drastically increased the number of competitions around but also given the ICC a mighty headache in attempting to control and regulate such competitions while maintaining the integrity of the more traditional forms of the game.

They also have the difficult if not impossible task of trying to create an international calendar that can accommodate all forms of the game, if they want to that is, their opposition to the American Premier League and ICL pointing to another problem associated with this sudden development, the backroom fighting for political control of these various competitions.

It is a messy situation and it has been caused by the mad rush to cash in on the success of Twenty 20 with little consideration given to the long-term health and stability of the wider sport. 

The Ashes, the traditional test series between England and Australia that begins in July will be a welcome change from the onslaught of Twenty 20 or ‘new’ cricket, a reminder that the game is about traditions and the actual game. 

With three versions of the game and so much change in so little time the cricketing landscape has changed enormously and it has never been so over complicated.

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