Cricket is a very popular sport, especially in Asia, and in some places like India and Pakistan, it has become a religion. However, even a game as popular as cricket faced some issues over reviving audience interest in some formats of the game. It so happened that during 2007-2008 a new dimension got added to cricket ie T20. The shortest format in the game started getting so popular that the other two formats, especially Test and ODI struggled to remain relevant. The longest format – Test cricket- is still finding it very hard to sustain viewers’ interest due to the long duration involved and the creation of several T20 leagues. World Test Championship and Day and Night Tests were nothing but desperate attempts to revive the interest of the audience or viewers in the longest format.
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Even the ODI format suffered due to the burgeoning popularity of its distant cousin T20. Several new rules in the ODI, power-play regulations, fielding restrictions post power plays etc, were introduced to make the format more entertaining and thrilling in order to counter the onslaught of T20s. So, this slam-bang version of the game made older formats revisit the rules and regulations to be in sync with the tastes of today’s audience. It is still early days but will the T20 also face a similar predicament with the advent of T-10.
Far away from the cricketing powerhouses like India and England, the capital city of the UAE, Abu Dhabi hosts a new T10 cricket league. It has already had four seasons and the winner of the last edition was Northern Warriors led by Nicholas Pooran. In the format both the teams get to play ten overs each and bowlers are allowed a maximum quota of 10 overs. The format has caught the fancy of England captain Eoin Morgan, who has called for its inclusion in the Olympics as well. This idea also had the backing of former Indian and Pakistan cricketers Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi. The league comprises of 8 teams.
Dwayne Bravo, West Indian all-rounder has said that “ T10 is an exciting tournament and it’s a competition that is just the way T20 started a few years ago – being the hottest thing in the market, and attracting so many people around the world. I think T10 definitely can do something similar. It can revolutionise cricket the way T20 did.”
The league that started only in 2018 is still in its infancy. However, seeing the popularity of the format both Sri Lanka and Qatar have jumped into the fray with their respective leagues. But currently, it is played by cricketers who have either retired or lost their places in the national squads. So, there are no internationally active cricketers in the league right now. Going forward, if the format succeeds in bringing spectators in droves to the stadium, then ICC might think of conducting the league by involving active international players or even BCCI could also plan a T10 version of the IPL. If this prediction comes true, will the T20 also struggle to stay afloat like ODI and Test cricket? In these fast and furious times, chances are high of people developing withdrawal symptoms towards T20 after watching the T10. So, anything is possible in the future.