T20 - Club versus Country

There is something inherently weird about Twenty20 internationals. It's not a format that lends itself to being the 'pinnacle' of competition. This is not a bashing of T20. It is very watchable. Fast, easy to understand and constant action.

So many other T20 competitions exist around the world. It works best in the club environment. A number 5 or 6 club batsmen will get opportunities to bat & bowl. Due to league scheduling - many games, many different pitch conditions. A good club team will have plenty of able bowlers. It's a bit of a joke to be selected at 5 or 6 for most internationals. The best they can hope for is a top order collapse to bring them in before the final few overs.

The T20 World Cup should be the exception. Even this opportunity has been muffed. Not enough games are played (which is doubly important due to the more random nature of one-off games). Not enough teams/countries are allowed to enter. This is puzzling as T20 is far and away the best product to spread the game to non-cricket nations. It is less confusing to a new viewer than any other type of cricket. It has the money to attract. Little known Canadians or Afghans could have their shot at international stardom and a neat bankroll from touring the various domestic leagues. Until this is fixed, international T20 will be second best.

Following the money, IPL is the peak. India (BCCI) owns 50% of the Champion's League. The CLT20 has many problems, but the solutions are fairly simple for a non-vested interest. The remainder of ownership is split between South Africa & Australia. It is easy to see the issues that arise. India demanding too many teams to enter (4 out of 12!). Hogging of the hosting rights - it has only been held in India & South Africa. Australian time zones are deemed TV-unfriendly. All other nations are marginalized from CLT20. At present, the West Indies is the only other nation guaranteed a spot. Champion's League, when it gets its act in order, will be a much greater product. Cricket fans are all too familiar with the dreary politics that accompany the game.

Looking at the problems of CLT20 vs the T20 World Cup - the World Cup is much easier to repair. International T20s, in the immediate lead-up to a World Cup, would be more compelling viewing. India & Pakistan went from indifference to obsession after winning their respective T20 Cups.

The job of internationals is to spread the game. Hell, when Australia tours England - pitstops to Ireland, Scotland & the Netherlands should be mandatory. The money, and quality, will remain with club T20.
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