We are two days out from a ‘brave new world’, with the Twenty20 World Cup about to start in South Africa. I must confess to having mixed feelings, at best, about this form of the game. It certainly can be entertaining, but it is a form of cricket that seems to be fundamentally slanted in favour of the batsmen, leading to ‘slogathons’, rather than an even contest between bat and ball.
But my own preferences are neither here nor there. It seems to me that for the sake of cricket generally, this tournament needs to be successful. 2007 so far has not been a cricketing year to get enthused about; there has been very little Test cricket so far, and the 50 over World Cup was such a let down that it damaged rather then enhanced the game. The English summer failed to reach memorable heights either, with jelly beans rather then batting or bowling providing the most talked about incident.
So it is incumbent on South Africa to put on a good show to boost the morale of cricket lovers. Having the tournament being won by a rank outsider, rather then Australia, would also help this cause. But at the very least, happy cricketers playing exciting cricket in front of large crowds is certainly a step in the right direction. The good news on that score is that the South African authorities seem to have taken on board the lessons to be learned from the West Indies tournament.