Before we can truly appreciate the beauty of T20 cricket, one must reflect on its history.
[pullquote]In India, a team manager is called an “Enthusiast”.[/pullquote]
It all began with the ancient Babylonians, who in the 2nd millenium BC, invented the system of numbers we use today. One of those numbers was 20. By chance, it also aligned nicely with the term T20 that the ECB adopted for the first ever competition in 2003.
Initially, many cricket legends were critics of the chosen name, with many preferring Richie Benaud’s suggestion of “T22”.
There is still some conjecture about what the “T” stands for in T20. However, the ICC have ruled that it is highly unlikely it stands for Trescothick, Tredwell or Trumble. Most likely, the “T” is silent, much like Harsha Bhogle is about corruption in the BCCI
The game was not meant to be a competitor to Test or ODI cricket. It was in fact, intended only to shorten the game to around 3hrs. This was seen as a way to prolong the careers of such luminaries as Ranatunga, Cosgrove and Samit Patel.
The first T20 international was a serious affair held between Australia and New Zealand in 2005. To show proper respect for the format, New Zealand turned out in their traditional kit and Glenn McGrath bowled underarm.
England tend to be a powerhouse in the sport, currently ranked 8th out of all the 196 countries in the world. This compares favourably to their national sport of football, where they are ranked 12th. Note that their 2010 T20 World Cup win is their only ICC tournament trophy ever won. It sits alongside their 1966 Football World Cup Trophy in the Tower of London.
There are some notable statistics and intricacies worth mentioning in regards to T20.
Firstly, it is yet another format of the game in which Sachin Tendulkar has not made a triple century.
The format of the game encourages chucking of the ball and the throwing of both bats and games.
You can get caught by the police consuming drugs, but if your name happens to be Sharma or Parnell, you have immunity. We also learnt that if you let Harbhajan slap Sreesanth, he will cry on the field more than when caught for spot fixing.
James Overratedson averages over 30 in T20 Internationals with the ball.
In India, a team manager is called an “Enthusiast”.
In Australia, epileptics are discouraged from watching as the bails flash when removed.
The Indian domestic competition is played everywhere but in India.
There is a caste system in T20, with Pakistani and Sri Lankan players holding the role of untouchables.
Detractors of the format claimed that the game was cricket’s version of a home run derby. This argument was effectively buried when “slugging” was removed from the official statistical records of players. To further illustrate how ridiculous that assertion was, Cricket Australia chose to name its domestic tournament the Big Bash. Cricket South Africa went with the more salubrious Ram Slam.
Concurrently, critics also point to the fact that lesser known names are representing their country, therefore, degrading what it means to be a national representative. With caps being given to players like Jade Dernbach, Dan Christian, Zaheer Khan and Imran Tahir, it is hard to see how this argument stands true
So the T20 World Cup circus now moves to Bangladesh where the trappings of surf, sun and loose women await those who chose to holiday in Thailand instead.
Who will win? Not cricket.
So, please leave a comment and tell me what great pieces of T20 history I have missed.