The SportingJournal

The Rise and Rise of T20 Cricket

The Rise and Fall of T20: Big Bash League in Australia Source: BBL

Kerry Packer’s seventh grandchild was conceived in February 2005 but was not a product of either of his children James or Gretel.

Packer fostered the revolutionary World Series Cricket empire in the late seventies which matured into one day cricket.

Even as he rests in his grave, one cannot help but feel that he has played a role in creating new offspring for a new generation in the form of Twenty20 cricket.

The marked expansion of Twenty20 cricket has been so successful because of its detachment from its hit-and-giggle origins to an extremely serious format.

Australia’s appetite for sport has been more than satisfied with the advent of Twenty20 cricket and its popularity mirrors that of Packer’s World Series Cricket format.

Games are over within three hours, as opposed to five day Test matches and inject a dose of excitement unseen in many Australian sporting codes.

NSW Speedblitz Blues fast bowler Josh Lalor spoke to TheSportingJournal and said the new format is taking off within the Australian cricketing fraternity in a big way.

Josh Lalor for Scorchers in 2011 BBL

“T20 cricket has its greatest appeal for a player because of its vast contrast to the other two forms of cricket,” said Lalor.

“Every aspect of the game is amplified and increases the entertainment value in the game.”

Lalor recently signed a contract with the Sydney Sixers; a NSW based side that will compete in season two of the highly anticipated KFC Big Bash T20 competition.

The Sixers also left for South Africa on Tuesday to contest the T20 Champions League trophy with other domestic teams from India, Sri Lanka, England, West Indies and New Zealand.

If trends are anything to go by, there are limitless opportunities for T20 cricket to broaden its horizons.

“In those countries where the public understands the game I believe T20 cricket can drag new fans in,” said Lalor.

“Big crowds and media exposure will ensure the game will be popular enough.”

“The format itself is entertaining enough and the format is still extremely young which is exciting.”

Channel Nine’s recent screening of Howzat!  gave an insight into the commodification of cricket as a result of Kerry Packer’s administrative shrewdness.

After tentative beginnings, the Australian public finally embraced one day cricket and the code blossomed in the following decades.

The stagnancy of limited overs cricket began to disgruntle fans who wanted something more entertaining.

Enter Twenty20 cricket.

T20 has acted as a generational breath of fresh air for millions of cricket fans worldwide and its appeal looks to be far from tapering off.

Player microphones, cheerleaders, helicopters delivering game balls and seven figure pay checks are just some of the glitz and glam that is now embedded in Australia’s sporting conscience.

Packer was able to provide players with more financial incentives as a result of one day cricket, but his chequebook makes cricketing administrators of today look like Bill Gates by comparison.

Australian batsman Andrew Symonds netted $1.4 million for six weeks work in the Indian Premier League in 2008 and spent the rest of the year fishing in outback Queensland.

Packer may well have another favourite great grandchild in years to come that he will be keeping an eye on from up above.

 

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