T-20 becoming most popular brand of cricket
by Rex Clementine
Test cricket being the highest form of the game and a real test of character are all true no doubt but T-20 cricket has become the most popular format of the game for a variety of reasons. There’s more money being invested by sponsors for T-20 cricket as that’s where you see the younger generation getting involved. In a fast paced world, after five days of Test cricket, younger generations find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that games can still end in no results. They are more comfortable with the fact that three hours of T-20 entertainment gives them a result.
The eighth edition of the event is taking place in Australia for the first time and the Aussies are known to be fabulous hosts and put up grand shows. Their government is giving the fullest backing with visa fees and biometrics exempted for players, officials and even journalists. With some entertaining finishes and new heroes, this tournament is expected to take the popularity of T-20 cricket further.
There’s an increasing trend for teams to engage in more T-20 cricket than Test matches. For example, Pakistan and England recently played seven T-20 Internationals but there’s only room for three Tests. Australia and Sri Lanka have ended up playing eight T-20s this year alone but their Test series won’t stretch beyond two games.
It is true that the money is in T-20 cricket, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Tests. In reality, the tendency to play fewer Tests has become the norm as most boards end up incurring huge costs playing Tests and they make little money.
Countries like Sri Lanka need to be aware of the dangers of playing fewer Test matches. England, Australia and even India will not cut down on the number of Tests they play a year as they can sustain it even when they don’t make profits. Sri Lanka’s red ball players were involved in a Test series in July this year and need to wait till march next year for their next series.
It has only taken two decades for T-20 cricket to expand beyond imagination. The financial riches T-20 cricket has brought in is such that Sri Lankan cricketers now can afford to buy acres of prime land. No not just around Colombo, but even in places like Melbourne and Manchester. Yes, that’s correct, acres of prime land. T-20 cricket was first introduced in England in 2003. Lord Ian MacLaurin, the boss of UK’s most successful supermarket chain Tesco was the head of England and Wales Cricket Board and he brought in much needed change for the game.
ECB Marketing Executive Stuart Robertson had been told to look into ways that would make cricket appealing to younger fans in Britain again. It had been observed that there was this notion that cricket was a sport for the wealthy. The sport was being played while most men and women in UK were at work.
Robertson noted that even in limited overs cricket, it took seven hours for a game to end. Furthermore, 50 overs cricket at that point was losing interest. The first 15 overs with field restrictions were on was exciting and then the last five with batters cashing in towards the end of the innings. Between overs 16 and 44 was considered as a boring phase of the game. So he decided to take off the period between overs 16 to 44 and condense it to a 20 over game hoping the excitement was there.Activities where children can come over and enjoy the game were introduced too like bouncy castles and swimming pools and the idea was immensely popular in England.
India brought into the argument reluctantly. Jagmohan Dalmiya, cricket’s most powerful man at that point walked into the Durban press box during the 2003 50 over World Cup semi-final and the British media told him about the success of T-20 cricket in UK and asked whether international cricket could accommodate another format. Dalmiya said that in his part of the world the game was thriving. His famous quote was, ‘when there’s a Test match in Calcutta, there are 100,000 people inside the ground and 100,000 people outside the ground.’
But all that changed four years later when India won the first T-20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007. BCCI hadn’t taken the tournament seriously and sent a second string team. But that team had a smart leader, a certain M.S. Dhoni. Once India won the title beating arch-rivals Pakistan, the interest for the new format went through the roof.
Cricket landscape was also changing in India at that point and more dynamic and young businessmen like Lalit Modi and N. Srinivasan were taking charge. They saw the huge potential a domestic T-20 tournament would have and the IPL was launched. Rest of the world followed suit with their own lucrative T-20 league and the rest as they say is history.
Track and field action from Diyagama
The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.
Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.
But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.
In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.
In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.
In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.
In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.
In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.
In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.
Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.
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