The Wall Street Journal had an interesting story on Twenty20’s financial revolution in the cricket world yesterday. Since it appeared in an American newspaper, there was the obligatory bemused tone about this strange game that so many people apparently love. That said, the article has some redeeming points, including a basic introduction to the different attractions of Test cricket and Twenty 20:
Joseph O’Neill, author of the bestselling novel “Netherland,” says that T20 is “a kind of home run derby” — his tone making it clear that he doesn’t think much of either T20 or home run derbies. Both Mr. O’Neill and Don Lockerbie, CEO of the USA Cricket Association, compare test cricket to a golf tournament. It’s an “examination of character,” explains Mr. O’Neill, “a test of your weaknesses and strength….The great psychic adventure that constitutes a test match doesn’t happen in Twenty 20 cricket.”
Conversely, when Mr. Lockerbie, who dreams of bringing T20 to America, calls it “home run derby meets running bases,” he means that as a good thing.
And many English fans would agree. Introduced in 2003 to boost the fortunes of the flagging lower-level “county game,” which is the domestic league below the international teams, T20 succeeded at its mission; grounds filled up and the format was accepted as the kind of harmless AAA sideshow the late-baseball owner Bill Veeck, creator of the exploding scoreboard, might have come up with if he had owned a cricket team.
Good stuff. There’s also some interesting figures about IPL wealth. Read the whole thing.