Twenty20: Whose Game Is It Anyway?
11 July 2007
Last week, the Indians announced their provisional squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, with the omission of stars Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly with the major talking point. They had declared themselves unavailable, retiring, so to speak, from the Twenty20 form of the game.
Dravid explained, ďI think itís a young manís game. We have a lot of good young players who need to be given an opportunity.Ē
A few days later it was Englandís turn to announce their provisional squad. Encouragingly, some Twenty20 specialists were named, and a number of players who might be described as elder statesmen of the game were included. Recalls for Marcus Trescothick, James Kirtley, Darren Maddy and Chris Schofield point to a different view that Twenty20 is not necessarily the sole preserve of youth, as Dravid would have us believe.
Interestingly, the Indian captain also said, ďat 34 and 35, we felt it would be better if younger players played in this competition.Ē Mal Loye, Jeremy Snape and Paul Nixon are all over 34, and it neatly sums up the differing approaches of the two countries.
However, it is perhaps an unfair comparison. England gave birth to the Twenty20 game, yet at international level cannot claim to have conquered it. India have played just one international, and there is no domestic competition. Whereas the likes of Maddy and Loye, and new faces Luke Wright and Mark Pettini have been picked because they have experience of the game, few Indians, if any, have any sort of experience to call on.
That said, if you need ten runs off the last over to win a final, whatever game you are playing, would you prefer a 35-year-old who has done and seen it all before, or a 20-year-old who holds no fear? Time will tell which approach will work, and letís not forget that these squads are still only provisional. The Indian big three wonít reverse their decision, but there is still time for England to decide against going with those with Twenty20 experience and decide that it is, in fact, as Dravid said, a young manís game.