Does the newest form of cricket has in it what made T20 cricket so popular in a short period?
It was in English that Cricket, the Gentleman’s sport was invented and propagated throughout its colonies in South Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Australia. The game was originally played as Test matches that stretched over a span of 5 days. Then came the came the limited over version of the game, the One Day Internationals (or ODIs) that ran over a span 60 overs on each side. This format reached a conclusion the same day it was played, leading to its rising popularity. The ODI’s were further reduced to 50 overs, the form we are acquainted with today.
However, even this reduced format of cricket demanded an entire day of the spectators, a thing that was not always received with widespread acceptance. It was simply too much as compared to other sports like football or hockey that never ran over 2 hours even when you include extra time. A need for a compact version of the version was felt. The same culminated with the inception of T20 format of cricket.
T20s were shorter and got over in under 3 hours. But more importantly, their USP was the high entertainment value that they provided over a short period of time. With only 20 over to bat for, the batsman had to hit big from the first ball itself and the pressure sustained till the very end of the innings. As a result, the T20 format instantly caught fans attention.
Unsurprisingly, the first T20 World Cup was played just 2 years after the first international twenty-twenty match was played in 2005 (Between Australia and New Zealand). The emergence of Indian Premier League took the format’s popularity to a whole new level. With a valuation of over $5 billion, IPL is considered as one of the leading sports league in the world today, rivalling the likes of EPL and La Liga which were established over a century before IPL.
And now, after nearly 11 years of the first edition of Indian Premier League, a new buzzword is making waves in the cricketing world- T10.
The format is played for just 10 overs of cricket per team. Seasoned fans may find this proposition of cricket with a speck of scepticism. After all, how much amount of cricket can one expect in mere 10 overs? This reservation is natural since we felt the same when T20 cricket came around. But then, T20 did take the cricketing world by storm didn’t it?
T10 has more or less the same ingredients as that of T20 cricket. In fact, what we have seen of late, this could very well be an equally entertaining form of cricket than T20 is, if not more.
Take the example of Mohammad Shahzad’s blazing innings in the T10 league, UAE for instance. The feisty wicketkeeper hit 6 fours and 8 sixes to reach the milestone of 74 runs in just 16 balls. This clearly symbolizes how entertaining T10 cricket could be.
But Why do Shorter Form of Cricket Find More Buyers?
Simple – the big shots. Boundaries are for cricket what goals are for football – the more one sees in the game, the more is the entertainment value of the game. Just recall the adrenaline rush that you have when an IPL match ends in a tie. “Ab Super Over Hoga! (Now Super Over will be played),” you mutter in sheer excitement.
The shorter the format of cricket, the more is the pressure on the batsman to score a big hit, and consequently, the more is the entertainment value of the game. T10 was formed with this exact premise, to provide maximum entertainment in minimum time.
Where Do Things Stand Now?
Up until now, T10 cricket was not seen with as much respect as its bigger brother T20 or ODI for that matter. But then came a professional league, The T10 League that changed the fortunes of the newest format of the sport. Formed in 2017 by Shaju Ul Mulk, the league found approval from the Emirates Cricket Board.
Consequently, the first edition of the T10 League was played that exact year in UAE within a span of just 4 days (two semifinals and a final). Each match lasted for just over 90 minutes and meant that players had the ability to play in tighter schedules without the fear of suffering fatigue. Owned by T10 Sports Management, the league came back stronger this year, with ICC officially approving it.
The 2018 edition was comparatively longer, running from 21 November to 2nd December, another testament of the format’s growing prominence in the cricketing world. Many established cricketing names like Eoin Morgan, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, and Zaheer Khan among others graced the TTL with the Northern Warriors winning the title this time. More importantly, the matches were televised widely across the Indian Subcontinent and the US.
All these are the sign of the emergence of T10 on the world’s cricket map. Like it or not, T10 cricket is here to stay.
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