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T20 cricket - A household carnival!

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ICC_T20_World_Cup_2016_India_WorldT20Carnivals bring with them excitement. Everyone looks forward to them to break the routine and escape from the mundane.

T20 cricket is coming to India, at a greater scale than ever before, first with the ICC T20 World Cup, followed by the IPL. Cricket is going to be in the breath of millions over the next couple of months. A festive season is about to begin, and will stay for a long time than usual.

Very soon, it is going to affect the routine and schedule of every cricket fan and their family.

A husband will rush home early from office, a son will persuade his mother to let him watch one more over even though he has an exam the next day, and the entire family will quarrel over the only television remote in the house. Then they will sit together to watch a game of cricket unfold in the span of 3 hours.

One man will stay by the side of the road, his eyes glued to the television in the shop window. Another will join him, and then another, and then another. In a matter of time, a crowd will be formed with many momentary friends formed among them, each discussing the consequences, applauding a boundary or a wicket, rebuking every dot ball as if nothing short of a crime is being committed.

 

As if watching a cricket match overnight isn’t enough, every game is going to be scrutinized, to the level of each ball delivered, over a coffee table. A wicket that wasn’t to be, a no ball that wasn’t called, a catch that was never supposed to be missed, a six that could have been a wicket, and a toss that was lost – each and every minute detail will be accounted for with more enthusiasm than an income tax return.

The working class has embraced this format ever since its advent. It is now affordable and convenient to watch a cricket match. Now, a cricket game gets over as you finish your dinner. Apart from taking less time, franchise cricket has also brought in many regional fans who wouldn’t have watched, had it not been for their local state and the euphoria and the buzz created around their local team. There is something to cheer for everyone in franchise league cricket.

A decade back, when the format was invented, there was as much, if not more, scepticism around it as optimism. But T20 has not just lived up to expectations but has exceeded them in unbelievably quick time, and outpaced its expected potential.

This world is running short of time, but not money. Money is being thrown around in the auctions for the players, who are trusted to make the maximum impact in minimal time. Money, in abundance, has been spent, on a game which has time on its side, and time is proving to be a critical factor here.

Meanwhile, for the budding youngsters, this is also a time when they are lured to the game, attracted by its riches. A dangerous belief – that not defence, but a hoick can earn you a million - can set in the mind of a young batsman. A spinner firing in a ball as fast as possible is never a pleasing sign, but that just might become a trend; guile and flight might be assets that only world class spinners can hold on to.

In this festive season, only time will tell if the overdose of cricket is going to kill the interest in the game or raise it up a notch. If the shortest form of the game can consistently and repeatedly bring in a new set of fans, then everyone who hopes for the development of this beautiful game would be more than happy.

But, after all the dust settles, after all the screams die down, once the world is calm again, having recovered from the long carnival, a session of Test cricket is what I would like to watch, just to feel the full range cricket of what cricket can be.



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