“Cricket should be more like football because T20 cricket only has the World Cup.” No one remembers the two-on-two tournaments.
Ravi Shastri, a former India player-turned-broadcaster-turned-coach-turned-broadcaster (again), has stressed this point many times over the past year or so.
In a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo, the 60-year-old said that, other than the World Cup, he couldn’t “remember a single (T20I) game in the last six or seven years as coach of India.”
The second thing he said was, “If a team wins the World Cup, they will remember it.
From where I stand, franchise cricket is played all over the world. Each country is allowed to have its own franchise cricket, which is its domestic cricket, and then every two years you play in the World Cup.”
For the past few years, every cricket fan has been able to hear Shastri’s words in their heads. And it makes sense. Since there are now so many domestic and franchise T20 leagues, the cricket season is busier than ever. Think about how much the Indian team has to travel.
After the IPL ended after two months, the players played a five-match home series against South Africa the following week. Then, they played two Twenty20 Internationals in Ireland, three Twenty20 Internationals, and the same number of One-Day Internationals against England. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, with three ODIs and five T20Is in the West Indies, three ODIs in Zimbabwe, the Asia Cup, and then the T20 World Cup itself. Even after the World Cup, there won’t be a break because India will go to New Zealand for a white-ball series.
Indian players don’t play in domestic tournaments outside of the IPL, but players from other countries do in many of them. Which makes it hard for the ICC and individual boards to schedule bilateral series. When it really matters, leagues will beat bilaterals. Economics will decide the winner in the end, since the IPL and other franchise leagues bring in most of the money that keeps cricket going. In terms of player pay, media rights, and the share of local boards and cricket associations, the leagues are better than both bilateral series and the World Cup.
Cricket has always been a sport that focuses on international competitions, but this may need to change for the good of the game around the world. Shastri’s idea that cricket could learn from football is a good one. Already, leagues like the IPL are thinking about making their seasons longer. And they already have a big part of it all year long. Here is a list of the best T20 leagues for men, including The Hundred, for the next 10 months. The cycle will then restart from scratch.
Women’s cricket doesn’t have as many tournaments around the world, but that’s starting to change as the BCCI and Pakistan Cricket Board try to make women’s versions of the IPL and PSL. The Fair Break Invitational caught everyone’s attention because it had players from more than four times as many countries as the teams in the World Cup. This included most of the Associate nations. People have asked the league’s organisers to make it last longer, and the organisers have been happy to do so. With players from Associate nations competing with some of the biggest names in the sport, it could be seen as cricket’s attempt to become a more diverse and inclusive sport.