England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) wrote the first chapter in T20 cricket back in 2003 with the Twenty20 Cup (now Vitality Blast) for their first-class counties. Since then, the popularity of Twenty20 cricket has grown manifold. While some analysts are surprised, and others expected T20 cricket to flourish, none would have imagined the exponential growth T20 Cricket has already achieved.
Why Twenty20 Cricket is so popular?
Twenty20 Cricket has become a very popular format of cricket. It has attracted millions of viewers thanks to its fast pace nature. The short game time and mostly evening fixture timings suited the grown-ups, women and kids alike. In comparison, to follow a day of Test cricket or an ODI, one has to spend a day.
The first ever ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 produced some unforgettable moments like Yuvraj Singh’s six 6s to Stuart Broad. Also, the magnificent grand finale between archrivals India and Pakistan skyrocketed the viewership. Eventually, this set the stage for domestic cricket leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL – 2008) and the Australian Big Bash League (BBL – 2011) transformed how we play and consume Cricket today.
How T20 is Taking Over Cricket?
T20, the quickest format of cricket, is taking over the world as the shortened duration helped more countries to take up cricket and even form their franchise leagues. As of July 2022, 78 countries are playing T20 cricket.
Also, after IPL and BB, other countries joined the bandwagon and started their own domestic leagues like the Caribbean premier league (CPL) played in the West Indies, Pakistan Super League (PSL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), and Super Smash (SS) played in New Zealand.
We haven’t even scratched the surface here. The list just goes on and on every passing year. For instance, Emirates Cricket Board has recently announced an International League T20 named UAE ILT20 and the South African Cricket board also announced a new T20 league. Both T20 leagues will start early next year.
The T20 leagues attract the local fan base and global viewership due to the participation of international players. Even ICC is recognising these leagues now and has started to clear off the international calendars as they have recently announced for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
T20 Leagues – Franchises and the Power of Money
Due to the global impact of T20 cricket and the amount of money a player can get in glamorous T20 leagues, it’s becoming difficult for countries to reserve their players for national duties or their own domestic leagues without imposing stricter rules.
The UAE ILT20 league is set to be the second most lucrative T20 league in the world after IPL with the highest-paid cricketer earning close to USD450,000 per season. That is probably why David Warner, one of the most successful T20 batters, has decided to snub BBL and Cricket Australia to play for the UAE ILT20 league.
CSA’s new franchise-based T20 tournament in South Africa will have six new teams. All six franchises are owned by one or the other IPL team owners. It shows how well the franchise owners are doing in T20 tournaments like IPL. With CSA’s new T20 league, some players are guaranteed to earn about $300,000.
With so much money involved, it is unsurprising that the owners, players, and cricket boards can’t have enough of T20 cricket.
Surely, T20 has taken over the world of cricket.