Sometimes I wonder how life used to be without the internet and the cell phones. Weren’t we living and enjoying our lives then as much as we do today. But somehow its unimaginable to think of it without all these things. When we don’t know about something we never miss it. I feel the same is happening to cricket today.
I enjoyed watching cricket ever since I was small. It used to be 3-4 month long tours with test matches consuming 6 days to often give a drawn result. But I loved it. Then came the limited over cricket, which in a way transformed test cricket and I loved watching those action packed games that ensured results. The batsmen would respect good bowlers and wait for the weak ones to hit. The game would still start with specialist fast bowlers who would bowl outswingers often left away by watchful batsmen. Slips were in position. The flavor of cricket was still alive. The essence survived. The basics remained the same. Then came the Twenty20 format.
Watching IPL twice and a 2020 world Cup in about 20 months made me a fan of this format. I cant think of sitting through a 50 over game now let alone test cricket. I absolutely love this exciting version which starts after office hours and delivers a result in a short time. But isn’t something different somewhere. Its not the same cricket I grew up watching. When I saw Kumble and Yousuf Pathan tossing the new ball I knew something was odd. With slow bowlers performing so well in this version we might rarely get to see the mesmerizing out swingers of Bret Lee. We might never see the batsmen shouldering arms to a delivery and watch it go safely into the gloves of a wicket keeper. We might not see three slips , a gully , a point in position too often. Agreed, twenty20 needs fast decision making , a lot more strategies, captains play huge roles here. There are no crunch situations here, the whole match is a crunch affair. I love it and might not sit out to watch test matches and ODIs anymore. But sadly I also feel a time will come when the other two forms of cricket will fade away . The images of men in white will end up being mere flashes of the glorious past and the game between the wicket will bear just a distorted resemblance to the instantly gratifying quick fire Twenty20 for posterity.