It doesn’t seem like too long ago that Twenty20 Cricket was just a rare party like concept of our summer game.
This is not the case now.
Back in 2005 when the Blackcaps played Australia at Eden Park in the first ever Twenty20 international, the concept of the game was short, fast, and entertaining.
It was a new idea, and even more importantly, only something that happened once or twice a season, and it was a terrific success.
Now days there are Twenty20 Cricket World Cups, domestic Twenty20 leagues including the IPL and Champions League which take place on a yearly basis, and everywhere you look Twenty20 forms of cricket are becoming much more frequent.
Money is big in T20 cricket, as is corruption.
It could be argued that Twenty20 cricket has opened the door for for some of the minor associate nations as well, giving players in that under developed cricket countries an opportunity to be picked up by big IPL or BBL teams and given the opportunity to perform on the world stage.
There is also much more Twenty20 specific talent being looked for by cricket scouts and selectors the world over.
We sat next to Lance Cairns during the opening weekend of Georgie Pie Super Smash while he was scouting for NZ Cricket.
Twenty20 would have seemed a laughable concept of the game back in his hay day.
In Australia and England in particular, the international side for Twenty20 cricket seems to be its own operating enterprise as you often see specific coaches and specific players who get selected only for the handful of Twenty20 games that Australia play throughout their home summer each season.
The current series against South Africa was a good example of this.
Players that some cricket fans who tuned into Nine’s Wide World Of Sport cricket coverage wouldn’t have ever heard of before.
In Australia’s case in most Twenty20 internationals, only a handful of players who are regular ODI starters feature in the T20 side, and hardly ever does a test cricketer make an appearance these days accept for the recent case of Shane Watson. To kick off this summer, Aaron Finch captained the team, while Wellington Firebirds’ big signing Brad Hodge suddenly left the Georgie Pie Super Smash to become the batting coach for Australia’s Twenty20 unit.
When did you last see Mitchell Johnson play T20 cricket for Australia apart from in a World Cup?
But this exciting but not so much new form of the game has given certain big time players a foot in to international cricket early in their careers. It was only a few years ago that David Warner stormed onto the scene in T20, now days he is a regular test starter for Australia.
Otago Volts regular Ryan ten Doeschate is a good example of a cricketer who applies his trade all over the world and almost exclusively in the T20 form of the game.
Or how about a player like Quinton de Kock, a batsmen who can seemingly perform at both ODI and T20 level with decent results.
To a Martin Guptill, who showed just this past couple of weekends during the Georgie Pie Super Smash that T20 cricket can allow him to break the shackles and play what is clearly his natural game, leading to back to back scores past 50, including an unbeaten 84 against Otago, at a time where negative faithless Blackcaps fans were calling for his dismissal from the international level all together.
In many ways it is a shame that the concept of Twenty20 cricket has changed to a more standard business like form of the game compared to what it was back in 2005 and 2006.
Back then Twenty20 used to feel like cricket’s special event, something to bring a different audience than the traditionalists, and something that sides would do special things for to mark the occasion – the Blackcaps a good example of this when they wore the classic Beige uniforms and then later on some of the classic old school shirts from the early to mid 90’s era to mark these special Twenty20 occasions.
Twenty20 is more constant, and in a little ways not quite as impacting on the younger generation of fans especially that it once was. It is just another form of the game now, and some already believe that cricket needs a little bit of a change up or something big and new to garner more interest.
The latest experiment is the day/night test matches, trailed in the First Class scene in Australia this week.
Twenty20 is here to stay however, and this blog understands that buyers are rumored to be setting their sights on NZ Domestic Cricket associations.
The hope is to turn the domestic T20 game on these shores into an IPL/Big Bash like concept with big money behind it.