‘You shouldn’t be allowed to play Twenty20 cricket until you’re 30’, says Rod Marsh

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“It should be the topping on the cake after your career, after you’ve fought your guts out for your country, after you’ve given everything to the real form of the game”

Following former England captain Mike Brearley’s speech at the 2013 Bradman Oration, legendary Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh made an interesting proposition, stating that “you shouldn’t be allowed to play Twenty20 cricket until you’re 30”.

Marsh noted that cricketers are making too much money off the format and, as a result, they are forgetting about the the classic version of the game, where the idea is to build an innings instead of just trying to hammer every ball out of the ground.

Many Twenty20 specialists have found it hard to adapt to Test cricket as the five-day format is nowhere near as fast-paced as Twenty20 cricket.

The other reason for their failure is the fact that Twenty20 cricketers only have to concentrate for a short period of time, whereby in a Test match, a batsman has to maintain his focus for days at a time.

“A wise man said to me not that long ago that you shouldn’t be allowed to play Twenty20 cricket until you’re 30,” Marsh said. “And if you just stop and think about that, I don’t think that’s a bad solution. Maybe it should be the topping on the cake after your career, after you’ve fought your guts out for your country, after you’ve given everything to the real form of the game, then you get your rewards by playing the short form of the game. I’m not saying I agree with it necessarily, but I’m not saying I disagree with it. In fact I’m sitting on the fence.”

Former Australia skipper Greg Chappell also noted that players are having a tough time adapting from one format to the other.

“It’s a heck of a challenge,” he said. “The modern cricketer is challenged more than any other generation before with the different formats and the adaptability required to go across the formats. I think it will be very hard for most cricketers to play all three formats. It is a real challenge for young cricketers to try to develop their game to be chopping and changing so much and playing so much T20 cricket early on. What it requires to be a good hitter is very different to what it requires to be a good batter.”

During his speech, which was delivered at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne, Brearley noted that he felt as if the introduction of a large support staff and a whole range of computer analysis had done nothing but complicate the game even more for captains and coaches.

“The biggest change is the number of people around the dressing room, apart from players,” Brearley said. “When we came to Australia we had a manager, a physio, a scorer and maybe an assistant manager … we didn’t have a coach, and if we did it was the assistant manager who might do a bit of coaching. Sometimes I’d be worried he was getting someone to try to change at the beginning of a cricket tour when if he was going to be making that sort of change he should be doing it some other time.

“So I think the difficulty of having all these people around the dressing room, all of whom have got to do something, or be seen to do something, and for a captain and coach to manage that lot as well as the team seems to me a great difficulty.

“Cricket is much the same in the main central ways…but the emphasis on computer information could turn people from a certain sort of spontaneity into something that becomes cut off and rather external. I heard the story of a young English bowler in a 50-over match who had no idea whatever about the tactical state of the game when they were fielding, he was only worried about that the right wrist was at exactly the right angle.”

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