Image courtesy of: Guyana Times
Greenidge has refused to buy into the hype of Twenty20 cricket doing more harm than good for the sport
Legendary West Indies opening batsman Gordon Greenidge has announced his support for Twenty20 cricket, stating that “T20s can show the world how a cricketing star can be made overnight”.
Many former players, especially Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, have expressed their hatred towards Twenty20 Internationals as they believe it is severely harming the reputation and integrity of Test cricket, which has seen a dramatic decline in attendance over the past number of years.
Ranatunga has also declared Twenty20 cricket responsible for the fact that less and less Test matches are now being played each year.
However, Greenidge refused to agree with Ranatunga’s views as he believes the shortest format of the game has more pros than cons.
“T20 is unpredictable,” Greenidge said. “A lot of players, past and present, have differing views on the matter, and it’s at times a touchy subject, but you have to look at the potential that exists.
“One tournament, such as the past Stanford T20 can make a player a star, as it did with so many regional players – [Kieron] Pollard, [Chris] Gayle, [Dwayne] Bravo and Sunil Narine. This format does contribute to the holistic grooming of the modern cricketer, particularly the young ones. Remember, this is just one format of the game. Look at how far the IPL has come and what it’s done as a model for cricket.”
Greenidge added that if Twenty20 matches are organised in an orderly manner, there should be no reason for it being a threat to Test cricket and ODIs.
The former West Indian opener also stated that Twenty20 cricket makes players better tacticians as they have to come up with strategies to defeat their opponents.
“You’re always rethinking strategies and you have to compete as hard as you can in this version of the game,” he said. “Ball by ball, it constantly evolves as you’ve got only 20 overs to tinker with.”
Greenidge, who is currently coaching the Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel franchise, continued to reiterate the fact that Twenty20 cricket has worked wonders on the sport, whereby it has led to more countries picking up on the game and more revenue being generated by all the cricket boards.
“It’s a dynamic team situation, when it comes to picking rosters, drafts and franchises,” he said. “There’s enormous planning on and off the field and when things can swing so quickly on the grass, you’re always on the go. It’s touch and go because one over can literally decide a game, which more so applies in T20s than elsewhere. Small scores can be defended and you can ill-afford to dwell on spilled milk when things go awry. Condensing cricket into 20 overs elicits new ways of thinking.”
The 62-year-old added that the lucrative opportunities available for youngsters nowadays will help players achieve financial stability while also getting the once in a lifetime opportunity to play alongside and against some of the best Twenty20 players in the world.
“Players in this format need to adapt quickly and are well adjusted, which translates better in the Test and ODI format,” he said. “The transition to these longer formats would require shifting techniques but again, T20s would teach you patience and composure in such a small space of time per match. You hone and refine these tools further in the long formats.
“Players can gain knowledge and insight from the likes of Pollard, Ricky Ponting and Muttiah Muralitharan. They may never have got the chance to get such pointers if it weren’t for T20 cricket. It’s a mix and over in the IPL, we see great exposure and coalitions of players from all over the world. The Caribbean’s just building on that unity and cultivating the same cricketing harmony.”
The legendary batsman further stated that the game was now becoming a global phenomenon thanks to sponsors, marketing plans and a whole load of advertising.
“T20s can show the world how a cricketing star can be made overnight,” Greenidge said. “This is a game of enormous self-confidence. The turnover’s quicker and it encourages innovative stroke-playing, which isn’t as rash as people hint at. I like that when it comes to losing here, there’s no excuse. One year you may have a strong team and the next, not so much. T20 helps build exceptional crowd excitement and we know that filling stands is a big part of the game. T20’s here to be a mainstay and I love seeing players consistently challenged in the matches, and uninhibited.”