Why T20 Cricket Just Isn’t Fair

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Here’s a quick heads up about an article I’ve just written for Teamer. It’s over on their sports blog right now. The title? ‘Why T20 cricket just isn’t fair’. It’s a somewhat tongue in cheek look at T20 compared with first class cricket, and how traditional batsmen like Alastair Cook (and my good self!) are becoming something on an anachronism in the modern era. I hope you enjoy it! Below is the first paragraph and a link to the full article. Feel free to comment here. 

Why is it that I dislike T20 cricket so much? Actually I’ll rephrase that. Why is it that I dislike playing T20 cricket? After all, twenty over cricket is pretty entertaining to watch. It might not be ‘proper’ cricket, and I’ve never understood why the players have to wear garish pyjamas, but it’s usually a highly entertaining spectacle.

I think I dislike taking part because T20 makes me feel inadequate. As someone who’s always been a decent cricketer – I’m no Don Bradman but I did play occasionally for the Worcestershire junior teams – I don’t like the way sloggers are more valuable than orthodox batsmen in the shortest form of the game.

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25 Comments

  1. I can’t understand how if you played for Worcestershire juniors, you could possibly struggle to score runs in T20s. If you can make contact with the ball, there is usually a single on.

    • James Morgan on

      The problem is that a run every ball isn’t good enough any more! A strike rate of 100 creates a team total of just 120!

      I was initially quite a good T20 player. I used to anchor the inns, bat through, and score about 50 or 60no. I even won player of the year in a local league a few years back.

      However, times have changed. I played for my son’s school staff and fathers team a couple of years ago. I made 17 off 17 balls on debut, and earned the nickname ‘Tinder’ as a result i.e. ‘nothing but singles’. The team aims for 170-180 in most fixtures and I just can’t keep up; therefore I’m no bloody use to anyone 🙂

      • Going from 100 to 150 is only a small adjustment – its one boundary an over.

        Most overs you get at least one bad ball – a long hop outside off or a half volley on the pads – that any competent batsman should be able to put away with an orthodox stroke. Tick singles off the rest and you’re up to 150.

        In every T20 league I’ve played in, 140 is the par score, and it hasn’t changed since the 90s as far as I can tell. Your league must either have very small boundaries or some very ropey bowlers!

        • James Morgan on

          My strike rate of 100 already included the odd boundary. Plus it’s not always easy to put the bad balls away when there are sweepers out on both sides of the wicket, plus long on and long off.

          • At that point you start running 2’s.

            You’re probably not far away from being a good T20 batsman, it just takes a bit of game experience to figure out the nuances.

            Its a game for intelligent batsmen who can adjust to different bowlers and different field settings, its definitely not just a game for sloggers.

      • Madaboutcricket on

        Same as all the ones I’ve played in. Anything below 160 now won’t generally win you a game and 160-180 is par. Fair few 200’s happening as well.

        Batters just teeing off and it comes off. Odd game it doesn’t and the side loses heavily after being skittled for 120 ish, but that seems acceptable in the modern game., win easily or lose heavily with no inbetween.

        I can bat at the rate required but it’s jut not enjoyable way to play personally, hence why I personally don’t play it.

  2. First question, James, didn’t you play 20:20 before it was called that?

    At school in the late 1960s a couple of us were lent out to the local village for an evening cricket league played at Bridgewater.

    Then there was also the famous Morlands 7s competition played over three nights at the ground of that name between Street and Glastonbury, where Somerset played outmatches.

    It was rather like playing at Hambledon circa 1780. Huge crowds and prizes for longest hit, most wickets in an over etc. Very good prizes, but mostly involving products made from dead sheep. Running between wickets in a 7 aside with Dasher Denning was great fun in itself.

    Then, long after I’d last played, and having just moved into a Lancashire village, there was a knock at the door. “Heard you used to play cricket – fancy a game Wednesday night?” A few Lancashire League lads, some overseas bandits. One side decided the way to keep the runs down was to soak the ball in a bucket of water for a day before the game – never play when each side provides its own ball.

    Come on- it was a hoot! Though facing that South African at 9.30 with 10 to win off the last over was only possible when wearing yellow lens.

    Thankfully the wonderful old Hants coach, Arthur Holt, always insisted on ending nets with straight sixes. They call it range hitting now. But with a 2.2 bat you had to hit the middle.

    Cricket is a resource based science. As Duckworth and Lewis knew. Reduce the bowler’s resources to 120 deliveries without reducing the batting sides resources of 10 wickets and you remove ‘fear’ and ‘caution’ and cricket becomes just like it was in Bridgewater 1968 – or the lunchtime cricket match at the factory – or in the playground.

    And of course there is the great fun of mind-reading, of bluff and double bluff.

    Oh for those days again. And a few years later I asked the guy who’d signed me up in that Lancashire village, how had he known I cd play? “Oh I say the same thing to everyone who moves into the village.”

    • James Morgan on

      Brilliant stuff. Thanks 🙂 some great tales.

      I did used to play 20 over cricket at U16 level for my local club Malvern Ramblers. We reached the Lord’s Taverners semi finals circa 1992! It was very different back then though. 110 was a good score.

      • Yes the evolution of shots has been wonderful and that increase in rates is tied up in some ways with the eclipse of fear – how great to play cricket without fear; Scarborough Festival cricket of the C21st.

        Remember watching my son play his first ramp in pretty competitive cricket aged 12 in 2005. It was obviously a dare – given the reaction of his team mates. At Lancs they made them play 360 degree cricket when he was 15 in 2008. Bowling machine operator puts the ball in and then shouts from one to ten where one was aimed at slip (a fine reverse say), 5 was back over bowlers head, and 10 was to leg slip. Basically any ball could be played anywhere. Watching Jason Roy you can ‘see’ the bowling machine in him.

        I understand your reservations about City cricket, but my Australian friends – good grade cricketer of the Benaud era with son just finished playing State and International cricket has been amazed at the impact on the young of the Big Bash.

        Imagine the 2005 effect on youngsters participation rates multiplied by 10.

        I think the MCC should field their own team in the comp and because they will contribute the ground they should insist, ‘in the spirit of cricket’, that all their matches at Lord’s are broadcast free to air.

        But where we shall find the motivation to become a bowler, who knows? In the evolution of cricket, the batsmen have finally won. There are no more miners, no more blacksmiths willing to entertain the gentlemen batsmen 😉

  3. James, what’s with the writing for another site and just posting a bit of it here? Why not either post it all here or none at all here?
    Are you drunk!?

    • James Morgan on

      It’s because Google doesn’t like duplicate content and it can damage rankings if you publish exactly the same content in two different places. The compromise we came to was that I’d publish the intro here with a link to the main article.

      I thought I’d give Teamer a go (they invited me) to reach a new audience. My cricket team uses them to arrange matches etc so I don’t mind plugging them. I didn’t have time to write two articles yesterday (ie a unique one for both Teamer and TFT) so this was the best I could do!

  4. T20 cricket having its own fan league and i am part of it though myself as a test cricket lover through out my life, nothing wrong about this,,,

    enjoy cricket whatever format it played with

  5. I’m just not very good at putting away even rather ropey slow bowling! Last year, I was up against a bloke who had a bit of pace and smacked him for 3 boundaries in a row, the first and last time I recall ever doing such a thing. But then the next over I got into all sorts of trouble trying to smack a slow bowler to kingdom come and I don’t recall him ragging the ball very much at all. I completely lost my shape and got castled, despite having a good s/r for the 15 or so runs I did get.

  6. I have only ever played a few games of 20/20 (being 62 and it coming a bit late for me). However, in Surrey we had a knockout cup of 14 overs a side (8 balls an over) for nearly 70 years until 2014 and I played in that (so similar challenge). I have a different strategy for you James (and I am similar to you as a bat). Back in the 80s we drew (much stronger) clubs such as Guildford when they were including the likes of the teenage Bicknells. I found that driving at anything in my half of the wicket produced an incredible number of edges (inside and out) which would mostly go to the boundary. The lesson? Flash hard enough at bowlers with a bit of genuine pace and the chance of being caught or intercepted is small. Obviously this only works against the better sides! And it has the added bonus of driving the opposing skipper to distraction.

  7. Moeen leaving Worcestershire. The future looks bleak for D2 non-T20 regional base teams – was it a coincidence that the Durham/Hampshire thing at the end of last season preserved greater congruence between the two?

    At least Worcester’s ground’s location might save it from property developers (although given their record of building on flood plains I wouldn’t bet on it).

    • Just to be clear – I’m not blaming Moeen. He is of course allowed to pursue his career as he sees fit and he has deep connections with Warwickshire. He’s a symptom, not a cause.

    • I will be delighted if this happens, but as I understand it is not yet confirmed. Warwickshire have a really good line up except for top order batting where Westwood and Porterfield are not good or consistent enough and Umeed is not ready to be an automatic choice. Moeen would at least give another option at the top (even if he might end up batting elsewhere in the order). I was thinking we may have to see Bell or Trott opening at some point this season. Moeen’s bowling seems irrelevant when you have Jeetan Patel – so he will also be able to focus on batting at county level.

      • James Morgan on

        Doesn’t sound ideal for England though. I imagine the England selectors want him to go somewhere where he’ll get a lot of overs under this belt in all forms.

  8. Off-topic but buried under a bland headline in the Guardian, Ollie Rayner has this to say about Leach and the news emerging about his action:

    ““I was furious when that news came out. I don’t feel it would stunt my own progression to say my views on this, that someone, somewhere was under pressure to justify why Leach wasn’t out in India. The guy took 65 poles and no one batted an eyelid”.

    • Pretty much what we already knew. Leah should have gone to India, but flower didn’t like him for some unknown irrational reasons and vetoed his selection. pressure came on the ecb to explain his absence, so they invented a problem with his bowling action to retrospectively justify their decision.

      The fact they had potentially destroyed the career of a promising spin bowler, they couldn’t care less.

      • I am as angry as you about how this was handled, but I assume they had some firm evidence of a kink in the action. If not the ECB is open to a multi million pound lawsuit for libel and loss of future earnings given the possible consequences of their action. And I assume the PCA would ensure the necessary to take such an action in such circumstances.

        • James Morgan on

          And of course there is no evidence that this ECB / Flower conspiracy existed!

          I thought I’d better mention this so TFT can escape any multi million pound lawsuit for libel 😉

          On a serious note, very interesting comments from Rayner. Especially when you consider that he and Leach are in competition for a England spot.

        • Its a pretty shocking accusation, isn’t it. For anyone other than Flower, it would be unbelievable. But the guy has form. Serious form. Secret dossiers, bullying, ulterior agendas, driving players to career ending physical and mental breakdown. It wouldn’t be the first career he has callously ended, and it won’t be the last.

          Its so shocking it might even get onto the list of the top 20 most shockingly unprofessional thing Andy Flower has ever done.

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