The most entertaining spectacles in world cricket, ICC World cup Twenty20!
By Francis Saldanha
Bellevision Media Network
22 Feb 2016: The game of cricket has been the most popular among all kinds of sports in India for the past several years. As the saying goes, “Indians eat cricket, sleep cricket, dream cricket and live cricket”. The popularity of the game is so huge that it is often compared to religion in India as well. Hence, the influence of cricket on the Indian society is quite big that Indian cricket enthusiasts smile, cry, become angry and manifest sorrow with every achievement or failure of the Indian cricket team.
In a country where cricket is a religion and not many places can match the passion for the game like in India. The BCCI will deliver an outstanding world cricket event for the fans across the world to witness fast-paced cricketing action in the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20, 2016.
The ICC World Twenty20 is the International Championship of Twenty20 cricket. The tournament currently consists of 16 teams, comprising of all the ten ICC full time members and 6 other associate members chosen through the World Twenty20 qualifier. The event has generally been held every two years, although there is a four-year gap between the next two scheduled tournaments.
When we look in to the background of this game, cricketing authorities in England were looking to boost the game’s popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver past paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of cricket fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game. Hence, it was proposed a 20 over per innings game to the county chairmen in 2001 and they all voted 11-7 in favor of adopting the new format Twnty20. The first official Twenty20 tournament was conducted on 13 June 2003 between the English Counties in the Twenty20 Cup and it was such a huge success which attracted a crowd of 27,509, the largest attendance for any county cricket game at the ground other than a one day final since 1953.
Soon after, with the adoption of Twenty20 matches by other cricket boards, the popularity of the format grew with unexpected crowd attendance, new tournaments such as in Pakistan’s Faysal Bank T20 and Stanford 20/20 tournament and the financial incentives in the format were the main reasons where it started attracting huge fan following in all the cricket playing nations.
On17 February 2005, Australia defeated New Zealand in the first ever men’s full international Twenty20 tournament played at Eden Park in Auckland. Moreover, Twenty20 cricket is claimed to have resulted in a more athletic and explosive form of cricket.
Surely Twenty20 had raised the bar in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of role in the team. The game had initially been developed to boost the interest in domestic cricket, and to aid this test playing teams were only allowed to host three T20’s each year. The part of the success of Twenty20 cricket is making sure it can coexist with Test cricket and one-day Internationals.
So far five tournaments have been played and interestingly no team has yet won the tournament on multiple occasions. The inaugural event, the 2007 World Twenty20 was staged in South Africa, and won by India, who defeated Pakistan in the final at the Wonderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The 2009 tournament in England was won by Pakistan. The third tournament was held in 2010, hosted by countries making up the West Indies cricket team where England defeated Australia in the final in Barbados. The 2012 fourth tournament was held in Asia for the first time with all the matches played in Sri Lanka. The West Indies won the tournament defeating the host in the final.
The 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh won by Sri Lanka who became the first team to play in three Twent20 World Cup finals so far. The world No. 1 and defending ICC World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka will definitely try their best to reclaim the trophy this time around.
ICC World Twenty20 will be held in India between March 8 and April 3, 2016 across eight venues. With just few days left for the tournament, the cricket world is gearing up for an exciting period of action filled with plenty of international cricket across the world and a real focus on Twenty20 International cricket. All 16 participating teams are winding up their preparations for theT20 extravaganza. Given the close and explosive and exciting proximity to the premier T20 tournament, many countries are laying special emphasis on the shorter format.
Simultaneously, in the women’s tournament, the eight sides in the ICC Twenty20 Women’s Championship have been joined by the top two sides from the ICC Women’s Twenty20 Qualifier in Thailand. Tournament winners Ireland and runners-up Bangladesh, both qualified for their second ICC Women’s World Twenty20 appearance. Australia, the reigning Women’s champions after their third. consecutive triumph in 2014, who will be bidding to win the title for the fourth straight time in Group A along with South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ireland. The 2009 champion England is in Group B along with the West Indies, host India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
A total of 58 tournament matches, including 35 men’s matches and 23 women’s matches will be played in the 27-day tournament in Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamshala, Kolkata, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur and New Delhi. New Delhi and Mumbai will host the semi-finals on 30 and 31 March, respectively, while Eden Gardens in Kolkata will be the venue of the 3 April finals. The women’s semifinals and final will be followed by the men’s knock-out matches. There is a reserve day for the finals.
The Men’s event will carry total prize money of $5.6million, which is 86 per cent increase from the 2014 tournament, while the total prize money for the women’s event is $400.000 which is a 122 per cent increase from the last championship in Bangladesh.
The shorter format of the game makes reaching the traditional milestones of scoring a century or taking five wickets in an innings more difficult, and only few players have achieved these so far.
The ICC World Twenty20 is an event which puts the world’s best cricketers in the shortest format of the game against each other in a nation versus nation contest. It can further globalize the game, providing international exposure and opportunity to the top Associate and Affiliate members. The ICC Twenty20 event structure is designed to provide highly competitive matches throughout. With eight evenly-matched sides fighting it out in the first round and the best two of them getting in the mix with the top eight ranked teams in the super10 stage, where the intensity and competition will be of the very high level.
India, as hosts are fully prepared to organize one of the most entertaining spectacles in world cricket. The BCCI and ICC are working together to make it a lifetime experience for the players and the cricket fans alike. As we all know India is a vibrant country, young, full of color, energy and exuberance-is very much like the concept of Twenty20 cricket.