World T20 Stutters Into Life – Lacking Innovative Tactics
By Richard Browne
The T20 World Cup, has dawdled into life, confirming nothing more than the schedule of not carrying points through to the super 8’s would leave the opening gambits short on edge of the seat excitement and that Sri Lankans are picky about what games they actually grace by visiting the stadium.
The two minnows have had contrasting starts: Ireland looked overawed and lacked the clear thinking under pressure that has raised their game to a hazy place between associate and Test playing level. Early wickets against the Australians knocked the stuffing out of them and with a lengthy tail, one of the top 5 needs to build a substantial innings. The experienced O’Brien brothers started something but couldn’t see it through and the Irish looked uncomfortable at not being out and out underdogs, although they did give as good as they got when it came to the sledging wars with the Australians, who after all the jibes about their ranking (they are tenth and behind Ireland), looked very fired up.
Afghanistan played with the heart and passion the cricket world has come to expect from them in the game against India. This tournament will be a very interesting barometer to see how they are progressing as a cricketing nation. Taking the romance aside from their story they have been at the top end of the associates for a few years now and with some of their star players reaching maturity and gaining meaningful experience, a strong showing here and a win against an established nation, could cement their top 12 place in a way that say Canada and the Netherlands have never managed to do.
Reports from Afghanistan suggest that cricket is getting more and more of a following amongst teenagers and bowlers like the Zadran’s are looking better with each tournament. More international exposure between international tournaments would be greatly beneficial to the Afghans and some assisted ICC help in getting some of the players into the worlds domestic T20 tournaments would be a great starting point. Having one Afghan in each of next year’s SLPL teams would be a superb start.
Zimbabwe have been the greatest disappointment. Their linchpin Taibu retired recently and suddenly to devote his life to god and not cricket, but the core of an improving team remains. What has been really disappointingintotheir two losses has been the poor standard of their fielding. Zimbabwe sides have pretty much always been strong at fielding and this has kept them competitive, backed up by tight bowling and grittybowling. They turned fielding into their chief offensive weapon and without it look like they are in a whole world of trouble.
The tournament is too young and at the moment too cagey to see if any new shots, mystery balls or outrageous tactics have been produced for the tournament. When it comes to the tactical side of things, already into a decade in the format it is starting to look jaded when it comes to tactical innovations.
There is a feeling tooamong the only partially acquainted that T20 cricket is too quick for tactics to really come into it and that whoever starts the best will normally win. Captains and coaches say differently and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. What this tournament may show though is the next big thing; ten over aside cricket.
England and South Africa recently played a Ten over match when rain hit their T20 match in Manchester. Although the match couldn’t be finished because the rain returned, the cricket was high octane, highly skilled and had the instant gratification that fast food vendors can only dream off.
If T20 was in part a cry for help to get away from the general drudgery of the now infamous middle overs of a 50/50 innings, reducing the overs from twenty to ten, will have the same effect, Everyone now realizes twenty overs is a long enough time to build an innings whenoriginallyeveryone was just effectively went out and try to smash it. Ten overs really is not a long time and with the huge skill levels now seen in batting combined with the awesome power of the modern batsmen, ten over cricket may find itself as the new twenty, in a game that would last as long as a football match. If we see rain in the next fortnight, we will see ten over cricket.