Why Twenty20 will knock traditional cricket for six
Twenty20 is like a box-office smash hit – overloaded with action, drama and emotion.
And like any blockbuster, crowds are flocking to cricket grounds to soak up the electric atmosphere of Twenty20.
There’s a saying in business that you find out what people want and you give it to them – in bigger doses.
So the Twenty20 Big Bash is exactly what thrillseekers want – an avalanche of boundaries and sixes, pure match intensity and a game delivered with speed.
Hey, there’s even time to catch up with mates for a beer after the game.
And families, with cricket-mad youngsters, can enjoy a 40-over match and arrive home at a reasonable hour.
Cricket’s organisers have got it right. Big Bash cricket is fast, furious and fun – and family-friendly. It’s also perfect for fans with low-attention spans.
When Kerry Packer brought one-day cricket to our screens in the 1970s, it was exciting, action-packed and colourful. It was what cricket needed – a breath of fresh air.
All professional sport must evolve to stay alive. Traditionalists must be feeling Twenty20’s threat to Test cricket and the Sheffield Shield. And one-dayers have also lost their shine.
While Twenty20 targets a new generation of fans, crowds are shrinking at traditional games - where players don their whites.
In the 1970s, Sheffield Shield at the MCG felt like today’s Boxing Day Test opener – especially if you sat anywhere near Bay 13. The crowd was hilarious. It kept us entertained for hours.
But the dismal MCG crowd of about 5000 on the Boxing Day Test’s final day shows that cricket has moved on.
Like most sports, cricket needs to reinvent itself for long-term growth.
The popular game has broadened its appeal, in line with today’s needs of fans - lots of intense ball bashing!
After the Adelaide Oval was filled to capacity for the Redbacks and Bulls Big Bash match on Sunday night, Twenty20 has shown its power to win over the fans.
Apart from the Ashes (which appear to withstand the modern pressures of elite cricket), the cricket calendar is tipped to undergo major change.
It will be the fans who dictate this future change. Expect it. To the traditionalists, cricket needs to breathe in a different climate.
Sometimes you have to let the past go to look brightly towards the future.
And cricket has reached that fork in the road, where a change of direction is inevitable.
Cricket is evolving before our eyes, whether we like it or not.
Traditionalists - let it grow.
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