T10 should be used as an opportunity: ICC Group

T10 Pakistan ICC

It’s in human nature that it likes innovation which leads to further entertainment. So when the T10 format was introduced in a six-team tournament in Sharjah last December it proved a huge success.

The newest and the shortest format attracted big crowds and was filled with huge interest for four days, from December 14-17. Pakistan Cricket Board backed it by allowing its players to feature in it, although it charged $400,000 as a fee. Former Indian captain Virender Sehwag and current England limited over captain Eoin Morgan were also involved as captains of two franchises.

Despite some sections criticizing the newest format, the T10 gets a huge boost when a Strategic Working Group of the International Cricket Council advised that the T10 format should be used as an opportunity.

“The Strategic Working Group has pinpointed 18 major threats to international cricket. One of the major concerns that featured in the Threat category is the T10 format. However, the governing council plans to convert this threat into an opportunity,” said a report in Indian Express newspaper.

It quoted from the report: “Cricket as a sport should continue to capitalize on shortened format opportunities like T10.”

“The tournament had turned out to be a major success.”

The Working group included Rahul Johri, BCCI CEO, David Peever (as Chair), Imran Khwaja, Dave Cameron, Clare Connor and Patricia Kambarami, in conjunction with ICC CEO Dave Richardson.

Ever since Twenty20 format was introduced in 2003, cricket has changed. The Twenty20 proved to be an opportunity for the ICC to globalize the game. It has become the most in-demand format of the game. Cricket-wise, it has impacted the game a lot. Now we have 95 percent of Test matches ending in a result as everyone plays fast and bowls to take wickets.

Similarly, the ODI cricket had a boost, 55 of the 60 highest ODI totals are scored after the introduction of Twenty20 cricket.

To cash on the Twenty20 format the ICC recently awarded all its 105 members the status to play Twenty20 Internationals. It will have a far-reaching effect. The England and Wales Cricket Board have come up with an idea of “The Hundred” – a match with 15 overs with the last over of ten balls, which is also influenced by the T10 format.

The T10 appreciation was bound to come, with a tinge of caution.

The Strategic Working Group must have studied the impact of T10 and that’s why they have come up with an idea to make it an opportunity.

Six franchises — Bengal Tigers, Kerala Kings, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons, Punjabi Legends and Team Sri Lanka were in attendance last year and after its success, two more teams have been added for the event this year.

“The tournament duration will now be doubled from four days to minimum eight days or even 10 days. We will also use two venues — Sharjah and Dubai for the next edition. A lot of changes are in offering for the next T10 Cricket League after the success of last year,” the league announced.

ARY Network had supported the T10 idea, so it deserves full credit for the Working Group’s acknowledgement. ARY Digital Network CEO Salman Iqbal not only backed the idea but fueled it with finances and his media house’s support.

“When I heard about the idea, I responded by saying that T10 is played in every street of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It will be as fast as Formula One race,” Salman Iqbal had said last year. The owner of Karachi Kings in the blockbuster Pakistan Super League is known for his love for cricket.

So critics are now silenced. If the Working Group advice is heeded it will not be too long that we see this shortest format adopted on an experimental basis. Perhaps, some of the lesser known countries are given the task to play T10 first and then join the international fray.