Back in 2003 the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were seen as innovators in cricket, creating a brand new form of the game.
Since this time the shortest format of cricket has taken off and has almost been hijacked by other countries. At the time of creation, Twenty20 was seen as a bit of fun for the players, the ECB saw it as a way to get younger people into grounds watching cricket.
The domestic English competition had developed many innovations into the sport. Things such as a time limit for the next batsman to arrive at the crease and football style benches on the side for the players to sit.
The best thing about the English tournament is Finals Day, where the two semi finals and Final are played on the same day. These are concepts that every country has incorporated into their domestic Twenty20 competitions.
All the other countries have added to these things, to give viewers a better experience. These include things such as cheerleaders, super overs, super six competitions and exploding stumps. The two premier domestic competitions are now the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash. These are two tournaments which have succeeded with their marketing and money making.
On the pitch the quality of the English competition is not as good as the others. They have a smaller pool of international stars competing as well as a lesser number of international coaches.
All this has resulted in poorer fielding and less intelligent Twenty20 cricketers. To compare Indian cricket to English may be a bit unfair, but I will make this comparison.
There are a number of good players in England who could be world class players in the shortest format of the game, but Indian players of the same age have already experienced high pressure matches against players like Gayle or Steyn.
A good comparison would be between players like Raina, Kohli and Rohit Sharma with Butler, Bairstow and Joe Root. There is not much difference in age or even ability with these guys yet India’s next generation are far more experienced than England’s future.
Off the pitch it seems that the marketing and layout of the tournament has been wrong. The tournament has been tried out over a short period of time meaning that teams play games every few days. It has now been moved to coincide with weekends, over a longer period meaning that Friday nights will be the Twenty20 night.
Other countries have invited big businessmen and companies to invest into their leagues whereas English cricket has stuck rigidly to the county system.
I suggest that there should be fewer teams based in big cities, such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff, Southampton and Newcastle.
This would also improve the quality of cricket as only the better players would get games. The current TV deal with sky would mean that most games would be live on TV, increasing the pressure on players and exposing them to the public.
In my opinion the tournament should be on a free to air channel to increase viewership, as ITV have done with the IPL. Honestly I do not find the English competition as exciting as other tournaments.
If change were not to occur in English cricket then they could be in danger of falling even further behind in Twenty20 cricket.
image: © sankarshan