Rest in peace, 50-over cricket?

Today’s match, the final of the World Twenty20, was a real cracker; a low-scoring thriller decided in the final over. A fitting finale (if not tribute) to the tournament, some are saying. And I dread to think of India’s reaction to it all. “The greatest day in Indian cricket history!” will be a penned as a headline, somewhere, on a newspaper, website, blog or city wall shortly I’m sure.

But hang on a minute. Is this tournament a viable replacement, as many advocate it should be, to 50-over cricket, a format that has been in place for 45 years? Are we not shortening the games for shortening’s sake?

One-dayers began as 65 overs. Then they were reduced to 60; cut to 50; snipped to 40; bolstered to 45 before levelling off at 50. Until the ECB, panicking at a decline in gate receipts, thought they’d try something new and they cut the whole thing in half again.

Twenty20 appears to have re-energised an ageing format (and game), and so it has. But how long before this too becomes stale and we watch hour-long Ten10 games?

My hunch is that we’re a few years away from Twenty20 becoming the dominant one-day format, but I’m sure it’ll happen. It’s fun, it’s new and different but it’s still one-day cricket and, thus, it sucks rather a lot. As long as they leave Tests well alone; in fact I think Inzamam-ul-Haq wants them extended to six days! Much, much more like it.

Your thoughts please.

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