Open season

Asian teams are safe bets. But there's no clear favourite at the World Twenty20 2012 that begins on Tuesday.

World Twenty20 2012 — Click for full coverageWorld Twenty20 2012 — Click for full coverage

Another World Cup in the subcontinent! However deflationary the exclamation, our intent is quite the opposite. A fifth world championship (sixth, if you count the 2009 Champions Trophy) in five years reflects just how pervasive the game has come to be, which makes it obligatory for moralistic quill-wielders to fan interest in view of possible overkill.

The notion of overkill, though, exists only in the minds of cynics. Figures across Twenty20 tournaments and leagues indicate that the watching public - despite predictions of imminent TRP doom - continue to unwrap their TV dinners to the accompaniment of Trishal's now-ubiquitous horn. We know the IPL is hugely popular, the Big Bash and other fledgeling leagues taking wing elsewhere; even perennial struggler Bangladesh has a Twenty20 hoopla to its name.

The Backstory

Nine years since it was conceived by the ECB, the brevity of Twenty20 has reengineered the profession and commerce of cricket. Administrators have discovered in it a packageable, saleable golden goose, whose eggs they're showing all the keenness in the world to scrape out.

 Players have been lent a hand and can now plan their careers on personal whim - no longer is servility to national boards a prerequisite to the pursuit of wealth. And there is a serious amount of money swirling around, much more - as a redoubtable social commentator observed - than the game needs, its magnitude dictating course of events through the greed of man.

In an ideal world the wealth from Twenty20 would sustain Tests and ODIs, a format whose relevance was somewhat in question until the 2011 World Cup gave it a shot in the arm. But an ideal world is an imaginary concept and cricket's most succinct version may eventually attain primacy over it's prolonged cousins. In more ways than one, its easy money and palatability has begun to alter, for good or bad, the overall structure of things via overcrowded scheduling, changed priorities, altered mindsets, bruised bodies and custom-moulded audiences.


(4 Pages) | Read all