Cricket WT20: Time to ditch Duckworth and go back to the future!

Last night another cricket game was decided at the international level with less than 10 overs being played in the second innings of the match.

5.2 overs were all that New Zealand had to bat overnight to open their account against England in the WT20 tournament. I get that the Duckworth Lewis system is in place to allow for games to end with a result but maintain that to allow a result in a game to occur after only 5 overs is not in the interests of the game.

One of the things that fans of the shortest form of the game love is that it is a short game over in around 3 hours. In this way T20 cricket is akin to baseball for its time investment.

I think the cricket administrators need to take a leaf out of baseball’s book: in baseball where there is a rain delay and a game can not be completed, the players often return the next game to complete it or the game is recommenced at a later point, often when the teams are set to play again. Why couldn’t cricket, in the T20 form at least, take this approach?

Last night’s game would only have required about an hour to complete today. Also, consider this: the pitches in T20 are generally batter friendly and are not going to change much over night. In a tournament such as WT20 it is even easier to do this because, as there are games daily, the make up time from the day before could just be added to the start of the following day’s game.

This is nothing new in cricket either BTW: in the early days of limited overs cricket there was always a reserve day between games to alway for washed out fixtures to be recommenced (or commenced if the day was washed out).

Duckworth Lewis influenced results and games concluded after 5 overs are not good for the game. To me the solution is a no brainer: it is time for the cricket administrators to go back to the future and re-institute “spare days” OR make the game even more commoditised and allow scope for the game to be picked up on the following day in advance of that days fixture.

I am sure the players and the fans will love it and for the lessors of the stadiums will have the chance to recoup some of the funds lost by the previous day’s game finishing early. Everyone wins when the games are not finished in an artificially short time.

Australian in South Africa 2014: Is an S7 game good for cricket?

Australia and South Africa played out a seven over a side fixture in Durban over night with Australia the victor by five wickets in the last over the game.

Obviously I am happy that Australia was victorious.  I never tire of an Australian victory.  I wonder though whether the incessant focus on shortening the game is good for it.

The game has already been shortened into the commoditised form that is T20 cricket.  Allowing a “game” to be constructed over a minimum of 5 overs (which is the current playing condition) can not be good for the fans who have paid good money nor the players. There is an issue of player safety here: I understand that the players and team management of the teams had already agreed to abandon this game but were over ruled by the ICC; playing on a damp field for an hour and a bit can not in the players’ interests.

I am not a fan of the shortened form of the game.  I have been overt about that.  If we are to have this form of the game imposed on us then what actually constitutes a game must be considered.  30 balls for each team can not be a game surely.

Just a thought but if the game can not run for at least 10 overs a piece then it must be abandoned.  Equally, if the players and team management decide it is in the interests of the game that the game be abandoned then that decision must be respected.

T20 cricket is about the fans and getting more of them to the game.  Putting on a short display with players who do not want to play can not be good for them.

Cricket: And for something different … the T20 circus begins again

It will surprise no one that I am not they greatest of fans of the shortest form of cricket. In fact, I theorise that calling the T20 form of the game cricket is a misnomer because the skills of the game are so different from what we see in the long form of the game. Yes the players still bowl and bat and field but the lines that a bowled, the shots that are played and the fields that are set are so different as to be unrecognisable from the pure form of the game.

Another facet of the difference is the different teams that play the game at the top level. The best example of this is seen with the Australian team that has been selected for the three match T20 series due to commence in South Africa tonight. Only three players from the all-conquering test team remain in the T20 squad remain with the team in South Africa (Mitchell Johnson has been rested).

This series is basically a group of 3 practice matches before the T20 World Cup commences in Bangladesh later in the month. Darren Lehmann has already said that he will use it as such to give players game time before the tournament commences so it seems obvious that results are not at the forefront of mind for the Australians.

Australia, historically, has struggled for success in this form of the game and their record against the South Africans is indicative of this having only won 4 of the 11 encounters between these two countries. South Africa have been historically dominant at home winning 19 of 29 T20 internationals hosted by them.

The key for both sides looks, on paper, to be the form of each side’s spin contingents. With Bangladesh likely to throw up only spinning decks both sides have selected a plethora of spin bowling options. On a vodcast for a site I used to contribute to a couple of years ago I mentioned James Muirhead as a player to watch in the future and he certainly is that now that he is in the top squad in this form of the game. South Africa’s best spinner from the test matches was a part timer in JP Duminy and one expects him to get a lot of overs against the Australians along with Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso.

Nothing will beat the excitement of the test match series just completed, however this series will be one that both sides will wish to perform well in with the spoils of the T20 World Cup not too far away.