Cricket Round Table: Twenty20 - Cricket's Saviour or the Sport's Downfall?

Jon Naylor@jonnaylorSenior Analyst IJune 27, 2008

This week's round table saw the cricket section take up a debate that has sparked controvery across the sporting world. We asked our writers:

Twenty20 - Cricket's Saviour or the Sport's Downfall?

With the massive popularity of the shortest format of the game, some purists have been concerned about T20 taking over Test cricket as the sport's leading discipline. Others, however, have believed that Twenty20 will propel cricket to the world stage.

This is what our experts had to say about the new-found popularity of Twenty20 cricket.

Shyam Parthasarathi: Cricket's Saviour

People who suggest that T20 would bring cricket's downfall are wrong.
Cricket has been revolutionized this form of the game. It is exhilarating, needs separate skill sets from the other forms of the game and most importantly; it is entertaining.

You only had to be in India during the Indian Premier League to understand the euphoria surrounding the game. This is what could take cricket to the next level in terms of worldwide appreciation for the game.

Many people think that this will mean the end of Test cricket but I think that T20 will only improve tests, in that more results could be seen in the 5 day matches.
I am convinced that this form of the game is going to bring new fans into cricket and that it could well make the sport a world-beater. Whether people like it or not, T20 cricket is here to stay.

Long John Silver: Both have their place
T20 it is like fast food: it's very addictive, very tasty, young-ones love it and you can eat it on the move. It's sort of like a one night stand: not always good for physiological health, but necessary once in a while. Think of it like cricket's Mickey-D's!

However, what it's not is a contrast. It isn't a lovely Italian dinner with dry red vino (rigatonni pasta with grilled mushrooms, tiramisu, cappuccino and an elegant glass of Chianti). Not everyone will like it, but it's a true example of how a connoisseur would like food.

It's inherently different. You can't take your date to Mickey-D, but can sure take her to an Italian dinner. It's a metric thats used to test ones tastes, anything but a one night stand.

So, we need both sometimes. An occasional Mickey-D quarter pounder and, on some lovely evenings with your special her, an Italian dinner and then ...(lets leave the rest to imagination).

Salaar Shamsi: Cricket's passage to a global audience

I personally rate T20 as a form of cricket which provides entertainment. As far as entertainment value is concerned, I strongly believe T20 Cricket has overtaken Test Cricket and ODI Cricket.

The advantage that T20 cricket has besides the entertainment value is that it is quicker. It allows cricket to be compared to other sports like football and field hockey, in which a single match last for 90 and 70 minutes respectively.

Test Cricket goes on for five days, ODI Cricket lasts for upto 6-7 hours per day, T20 cricket lasts for up to 120 minutes and I think this will help the game attract a global audience.

I think lesser known cricket nations such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Russia might get involved in cricket sooner or later due to the attraction of T2O cricket rather than Tests or ODI's.

As far as T20 being considered a danger for Test Matches, I think if T20 prospers,Test Matches might not be affected because the bigger nations will still watch and play 'Test Cricket' because it is the classic version and true test of the game.

I think the money issue needs to be controlled and T20 cricket will not hurt Test Cricket at all.


Smash Legends: The sport's downfall

I have nothing against T20 per se. What I do object to is the stupid sums of money that are now flowing through the game as a result of this non-cerebral version of the sport.

With more and more cricketers wanting to earn the big bucks in India and with Sir Allen Stanford, we could see youngsters adapting themselves to suit T20 as opposed to grooming their talents towards the pinnacle of the sport - Test cricket.

I seriously believe that if these trends are allowed to continue, then cricket will become a trashy, watered down, Americanised version of the game we have all grown to love.


Jon Naylor: It's good in small quanitities

I loved the IPL. I elected a side to support and followed the league avidly to its conclusion. The only problem I had with it was the lack of English players in the league, something that the ECB seriously need to address.

If the players earn stacks of money for entertaining and bringing the sport to the masses, then they're doing nothing less than other major sportsmen of the current era. However, the money that the major governing bodies earn from this discipline need to channel it into Test match funding as well.

I think that England's recent ODI series with New Zealand has shown there's plenty of life in the old one-day dog yet. I'm yet to see a boring match this time around.

I think that if T20 can propel cricket to a global audience it can only be good for the sport. And I'll be there sitting in the front row, as long as Test cricket remains untouched and the highest level that cricketers aspire to.


What do you think? Will Test cricket suffer at the hands of T20? Please comment below.

Want to contribute to next week's Round Table? Send an email to and I'll put you on the mailing list.


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    Root tells England fans to 'keep the faith'

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

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    England Cricket

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    Ed Osmond, Reuters
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