Twenty20 cricket more than just an exhibition?

Twenty20 cricket grabbed the headlines, favorable crowds, biggest hits and Warnie but the latest cricket craze has yet to prove if it can be more than just a glorious exhibition.

At the end of two T20 matches between Sri Lanka and Australia we learnt that the Sri Lankan spearhead Lasith Malinga is the number one bowler in this format and despite solid attendances and television viewers, the players seem to be the only party that care for the result.

The Australian Big Bash League broke attendance records for state matches and international T20s are attracting a new younger and “hip” crowd. The more eyes on cricket the better, ay?

Maybe but the general Australian public feels no tribal alliances towards the BBL teams or stirring patriotism for the Australian T20 team. The players claim that the shortest format in the game evokes the same fiery passion and competitiveness as the longer formats.

“Australia didn’t really take Twenty20 that seriously, I certainly think that’s changed,” George Bailey said before the 2012 T20 World Cup in regards to the change in Australian players’ attitude.

The players might have warmed to the idea of T20 cricket as serious competition but the avid club cricketer or casual Melbournian looking to pass time while the footy season is in hibernation, tend to differ.

More shoppers believed in Warney’s “Spinners” underwear line than cricket fans believing that the end result in T20 cricket is important.

T20 is still that hot summer fling rather than that steady marriage. Critics and supporters believed that One Day cricket would entertain and change the game of cricket as we knew it. They were right. Creative and flamboyant batting took the front seat as the dull and steady were forgotten. Yet, the 50 over game, some 25 years later, is all but extinct on the international scene, or at least in the western hemisphere.

So while Twenty20 cricket continues to bag the cash, trend on twitter and erupt dull fireworks, there still has to be serious questions on whether the new “it” format in cricket has the capability to endure and still dominate beyond the next decade?


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