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Twenty20 wins friends, Bangladesh next
June 25, 2003 17:33 IST
It can only be a matter of time before the announcement comes: "Bangladesh lose Test status, take Twenty20 Cup by storm."
It is surely the perfect solution.
Bangladesh, with their rash strokeplay, tumbling wickets and abbreviated innings, are not good enough to compete over five long days.
Twenty20 cricket, England's latest attempt to revive the sport's popularity, is all about rash strokeplay, tumbling wickets and short and frenetic contests.
As Bangladesh struggle to win friends in the test arena, Twenty20, with its attendant pop concerts, razzmatazz and mantra of 'twice the action, half the time', is proving immediately popular.
The new competition, which has reached the semi-final stages and culminates in semi-finals and final on July 19, replaced the Benson and Hedges Cup and has been attracting three times as many spectators as its predecessor.
The non-stop action, organisers hope, will win over a younger audience.
Leading Twenty20 batsmen score at an average of two runs a ball, twice as fast as in one-day internationals. Australia's Ian Harvey scored the first century of the event off 50 balls for Gloucestershire against Warwickshire on Monday at Edgbaston, hitting 76 in boundaries.
Kenya's World Cup discovery Collins Obuya, meanwhile, took four for 24 in four overs for Warwickshire against Glamorgan in the most telling bowling performance to date.
Less impressively, Australian Michael Kasprowicz was hammered and hoisted for 54 off three overs as Somerset scored 197 for three in 18 overs against Glamorgan.
For cricket's retreating traditionalists, already reduced to indignant spluttering 30 years ago by the introduction of 40-over a side matches, Twenty20, with little to offer in terms of improved technique or tactics, has crossed the line. It simply isn't cricket.
Junk food, however, can be fun and may yet prove to have a place in a balanced diet.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, seem to be serving up far less popular fare.
Last week Ehsan Mani, the new president of the International Cricket Council, said their form had been so disappointing -- 18 defeats and one rain-induced draw out of 19 Tests as well as 36 consecutive one-dayers without a win -- that the idea of a two-division Test championship would be considered.
On Tuesday, Dennis Lillee joined the debate by saying the weakness of such teams as Bangladesh were making a mockery of the record books, arguing they were only being allowed to remain in the Test -- and World Cup -- fold because of television revenue demands.
It is hard to disagree.
The upcoming two-Test series between Australia, perhaps the best side the game has ever seen, and Bangladesh, perhaps the worst, promises to be particularly bloody.
It might also make Twenty20 cricket look rather drawn-out and dull.