Thursday, 9 August 2007

Twenty20 Vision?

Over at Left-arm Chinaman they are clearly not the biggest fans of Twenty20:

The sad thing is, the selectors seem totally unaware that selection is an irrelevant factor in twenty20 matches. Random chance is the chief determinant of the outcome, so doesn’t matter who you pick.

The format is so devoid of skill, that England could have picked an entirely different side, and it still wouldn’t have made a difference. These “specialists” would swing the bat, as anyone would, and their success is subject to the same laws of probability. All we can hope for is a favourable statistical blip.

I stuck up for the format; it is not Test cricket, no, but is a vibrant format of the game that can swing irrevocably in the space of a few balls. This does not mean it is skill-less; rather it is played on a tightrope under extremely intensive pressure (like the death overs of a ODI). But, like any format of cricket, those with the highest skill levels - bowlers with variety and nerve; and batsmen with a range of shots, the ability to score off every ball and a temperament that prevents them getting carried away will consistently fare the best. And it has reinvogorated the county game, though there is certainly an argument that it should not be played internationally.

If this format is so devoid of skill then why have the best batsman (Mark Ramprakash) and best bowler (Mushtaq Ashtaq) done so well in Twenty20 over the five seasons of domestic Twenty20?

So, is Twenty20 a true test of skill or is it too much of a cricketing lottery for your liking?


The Atheist said...

I have had a little look at the twenty20 stats, and Mushie's record isn't great - I think Jacques Rudolph has a better bowling record.

The name of the person on the top of the bowling leauge is *shudder* Chris Schofield. What kind of game can allow this man to be the best. WHAT KIND OF GAME?

As for the batters, Gordon Muchall has the highest average. Who is he? Ramps isn't in the top ten.

Twenty20. More like Rubbishrubbish.

Matt Thornton (Six and Out) said...

I also stick up for Twenty20. I was similarly skeptical, but after a finals day like we had recently, particularly the Kent vs Glos final, I think it's a valid format of the game.

The only danger is that it becomes a batsman's game as there are so many things going against the bowlers - no balls, free hits, wides, fielding restrictions etc. etc.

The Atheist said...

There's something of the Running Man ( about twenty20.

At one point, the endless boundaries will get boring. We'll have to add to the game. A few more restrictions against the fielding team here, a few rules against bowling there, and eventually the batsman will be allowed on with his own buzzsaw, slaying pesky extra cover fielders at his leisure.

No! No, I won't let you do that to my game, Chris Schofield. You can take back you and your buzzsaws, back to Suffolk and Durham Second XI, thank you very much.

Tim said...

Mushie's record (over the five years) is outstanding - an average of 13 and, perhaps more importantly, an economy rate of under 6.

Ramps is in the top 10 averages overall, I'm sure (he averages 36) though obviously not for this season alone.

Anyway, I very much hope they don't make any changes to Twenty20 cricket, to make it more batsman friendly. As the final showed, low(ish) scoring games are often the best, as in one-day cricket.

Nick Gammons said...

I have never liked one-day cricket much. Only the very best games are memorable (and they are few and far between).

However, somehow Twenty20 is so far removed from Test cricket that it can be enjoyed on a totally different level.

Though batsmen clearly dominate proceedings, scoring at rates rarely seen in even short periods of one-day cricket, bowlers often decide matches. If you forget the economy rates and look at the number of wickets and averages it is surprising just how well some bowlers do in Twenty20.

As an entertainment, which has the potential to hook people on cricket, I'm in favour of Twenty20. I also think it is clear that specialists in the form have emerged and that distinctive tactics have been developed over the time it has been around.

To dismiss it as random is unfair and defies both the statistics for its successful exponents as well as the obvious prowess of some teams over others. If it was random even the weakest county teams would have succeeded at it.

There is little doubt that Twenty20 is a vastly more entertaining form of cricket than conventional one-dayers, though it is a far far cry from Test cricket, which remains the true form of the game.

Richard Lake said...

I agree pretty much with Nick on this and would like to see the fifty over stuff replaced with 2 innings 20:20 games.

It is a totally different game, and just looking at the success that Leicester have had over the past few season and the way they have played the game (particulaly Snape and Maddy) shows that there are subtleties to the game.

Kent won the 2020 and are top of their Pro40 league. That can't be random.