Tuesday, September 11, 2007
T20 is not just for 20-somethings
It's a measure of the BCCI's ineptitude that India is the only country to send a second-string side to a showcase event like the inaugural T20 World Cup. It's a fallacy to think of this as a slam-bam form of cricket only appropriate for youngsters. In an ODI, you have 20 powerplay overs plus about 10 slog overs at the end plus the overs in between. That would take more of a toll on the body of both a batsman and fielder than a 20-over innings. In fact the likes of Tendulkar and Ganguly may find it less physically taxing to play T20. If Tendulkar has indeed opted out, he's making the same mistake that Gavaskar made at the inaugural one-day World Cup in 1975 when he cussedly played out 60 overs against England and remained not out at 36. He thought then that limited overs cricket was a passing fad and how wrong he was. T20 similarly is here to stay because it's going to be great for spectators. What people will enjoy is the improvisation that will come into both the batting and bowling. And that brings us to the second fallacy - that T20 is a crude slam-bang affair. One of the best number seven batsmen in one-day cricket was Michael Bevan, and that's because of his clever chips which gave him two runs when other batsmen would get singles. He relied more on improvisation and placement than on sheer power. That's where the experience of Tendulkar, who can move across the stumps and put the ball anywhere between long on and fine leg, would have come into play, especially when there's a licence to take risks. Ganguly too would have excelled at charging the fast bowlers for his slashes over the covers. We needed them at the inaugural World Cup. If they needed rest, we should have let them sit out in the one-day series against England, which was surely less important than a World Cup. And that would also have opened up opportunities for a few new faces who could then have come into the reckoning for inclusion in the T20 squad. The same applies to our most successful bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Ramesh Powar, who have been left out after being made to play a long series against England. If roly poly Powar is good enough for one-day cricket, he should not be left out of T20 either. In fact I think his bowling would've been just as effective as it was in the ODIs. We left him out of the one-day World Cup, paid the price for it, and have not learnt from it. Instead we have gone back to has-beens like Harbhajan who have done nothing in the interim to make a comeback into the Indian team. BCCI sucks. The selectors suck. They have let India down again. Look at Australia, who have approached this World Cup just as seriously as the other one, with their best players in the fray. Ricky Ponting's wife is ill, but even that could not keep him away. It just shows the difference in attitude and management of Aussie and Indian cricket.