MTN40 adds no value

2009-12-29 13:12
Sport24 columnist Arthur Turner (File)
Arthur Turner

The MTN40 Championship that is currently being played adds no value to South African cricket and is in fact hurting domestic bowlers.

It is a competition that has no identity and is a hybrid between Twenty20 and the 50-over game. If this is the future of One Day International cricket then this form of the game has no future.

Cricket is a battle between bat and ball, even in the limited overs version, but this new format has reduced bowlers to nothing more than cannon fodder. Also, there is no strategy involved with bowlers just looking to survive and batsman slogging at will.

To expect bowlers to bowl 20 overs of power-play with very little protection on flat wickets is damaging their confidence, development and skills. Add to this the last five overs that are a set power-play and this only leaves 15 overs in which the bowlers enjoy protection. One only has to look at the averages of the top 20 bowlers in this competition to see that they are going at an average of 6.38 runs per over!

On the batting front runs are too easy to come by with the fielding restrictions and the flat wickets. The result is not determined by the team that executes the three disciplines best, but rather who slogs the best. This can not be good for the development of South Africa’s future ODI teams.

Allowing each team to select 12 players flies totally in the face of the values and the tradition of the game. Also, as the highly respected cricket journalist Colin Bryden wrote in a recent column on Sport24, that there is no skill in picking 12 players. He is 100 percent correct. Using 12 players neutralises the role of the all-rounder and the quest for a well balanced team.

The decision to play this new format of the game was driven by the sponsors to attract more spectators to the grounds. Judging by the attendances on television and the matches I have attended, this is not happening. It is also difficult to see a radical improvement in attendances. In the modern day cricketing world there is only place for one commercially viable domestic competition and this is obviously the popular Twenty20 game.

What Cricket South Africa should rather consider is to play this competition over 50 overs per innings under floodlights on Saturday's. This will bring it into line with ODIs and also create its own identity. It will also give the cricket fans who work during the week and those who live far from the grounds an opportunity to get to the stadiums to see their franchises in action.

This would ensure that this competition meets the cricketing and commercial objectives of CSA and not only those of the sponsors.
Arthur is a former cricket administrator and current player agent.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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