Twenty20 is a relatively new form of cricket that is making waves in the game throughout the world. It is so called as each team bats for a maximum of twenty overs. This means that a typical game lasts around three hours. This is the big hook for the format, making it more accessible to a larger crowd of spectators who do not have the time to invest in longer forms of the game.
The idea of the format has been around since 1998, but it wasn't until 2003 that Twenty20 was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as an inter-county competition. As an attempt to curb diminishing attendances at county cricket matches, it was an immediate success.
The first Twenty20 Cup was won by the Surrey Lions, who defeated the Warwickshire Bears by nine wickets in the final. After only one year, in July 2004, the first Twenty20 match to be played at Lord's drew a crowd of 27,500 eager fans. Aside from a one-day final, this was the biggest crowd to attend a county cricket game since 1953.
In February 2005, the first international Twenty20 match was played at Eden Park, Auckland, between New Zealand and Australia. The Black Caps were soundly thrashed by the Australians, but the game was played in good humour. At one point, Glenn McGrath lampooned the infamous "underarm incident" and was shown a fake red card by the umpire. This indicated the mood: the 20-over game was not taken seriously, it was a bit of fun. However, the mood has quickly changed now since big money has started to come in.
With the dramatic defeat of Pakistan in the final over of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007, India realised the potential for vast revenues from this form of the game. The newly created Indian Premier League and the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League are now offering huge sums of money, way beyond what any professional cricketer has been able to earn in the past, to play there. This is a real draw for many county cricketers who want to take early retirement and spend their final years playing for big money.
Although the Twenty20 format is not intended to replace any of the other forms of cricket, there has been speculation recently that it could sound the death knell for 50-over cricket. There has even been speculation that it could be bad for test cricket, due to lack of support from county cricket teams chasing the increased revenues from Twenty20 matches.
Recently, a major news item has been the announcement of an annual match played between an England team and a West Indies team, to take place in Antigua, sponsored by Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford. With black bats and silver stumps, Stanford's sponsorship will run to $20 million (675 million baht) per match, each player on the winning team will get $500,000 (16.9 million baht), $7 million (236 million baht) will go to the ECB, and the losing team will walk away empty-handed.
The possible huge payday is leading players to work on their Twenty20 game, desperate to be picked. While winning the game could provide money beyond the wildest dreams of most cricketers, losing a game with such high stakes could lead to terrible problems of morale.
What do the following numbers in the story refer to?
Match the definitions with the words or phrases in bold in the text
1. Defeated utterly. Won by a large margin.
2. Getting smaller.
3. A bell rung to announce a death. The end of something.
4. Mocked or ridiculed.
5. Causing a disturbance or other controversy.
6. Without permission.
True or False?
1. The first Twenty20 Cup was held in 1998.
2. The first Twenty20 Cup was won by Surrey Lions.
3. Pakistan beat India in the first Twenty20 World Cup final.
4. The Indian Cricket League is an officially sanctioned competition.
5. Twenty20 cricket will definitely replace one-day cricket.
6. For the Stanford Twenty20 matches, the bats will be black and the stumps will be silver.
Understanding the story
1. Why would the Twenty20 game be attractive to an increased number of spectators?
2. What was the original idea behind the Twenty20 Cup?
3. Why would a player take early retirement to play in India?
What do you think?
Do you think Twenty20 will be the death of one-day cricket?
1. The maximum number of overs played per team in a Twenty20 match.
2. The year of the first Twenty20 Cup.
3. The number of wickets by which the Surrey Lions beat the Warwickshire Bears in the first Twenty20 Cup final.
4. The attendance at the first Twenty20 match played at Lord's.
5. The prize money in $ per player for the winners of the annual Stanford match.
6. The annual revenue in $ for the ECB for the Stanford match.
3. Death knell
5. Making waves
True or False
1. False, 20032. True
3. False. India beat Pakistan
4. False. It is unsanctioned, but the Indian Premier League is sanctioned.
5. False. This is only a possibility.
Understanding the story
1. Because it is a shorter form, comparable to other popular sports such as football or tennis.
2. To bring spectators back to county cricket matches.
3. To play in a league where huge prize money is available.