The 8 Year Old Baby

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What do you do when your product suffers from a dwindling audience? You diversify! And that’s exactly what Stuart Robertson, Marketing Manager of the ECB suggested in 2001. Despite staunch opposition from 7 out of the 18 county teams, the proposal for a 20 – over format was approved. The ECB did however give the counties the liberty to attract crowds however they wished to – whether it was through Music or even cheaper tickets – as long as there were no cheerleaders! 

Most of the counties (Despite their initial hesitation) joined in the fun. Nottinghamshire got its players to pose topless on posters as they billed their games as a ‘Ladies night out’. The topless roster included Kevin Pietersen, Chris Cairns, Paul Franks and Gareth Clough (not a regular but he sneaked in by virtue of having the chest most admired by the female marketing staff), Worcestershire placed a Jacuzzi on the boundary edge, Gloucestershire forced its committee to come without ties (Or else they’d be kicked out!), Yorkshire sold tickets at £2 and Glamorgan actually asked fans to turn up in pyjamas! There were a few glitches though as Middlesex abandoned Lord's for more rural settings after the local council staunchly rejected requests for music to be allowed.

If you’re wondering whether these gimmicks paid off, the opening game between Middlesex and Surrey attracted an amazing 27,509 people! But that was 8 years ago. Now people get to watch the World Cup T20, International T20’s, the IPL, the Standard Bank Pro T20, the Big Bash League, The SLPL, the Friends Life T20 and the Champions League T20 – just to name a few. Each country now has its own T20 domestic championship, but the format still retains its infant characteristics.

Hated by Purists, loved by the masses, T20 still comes off as a new format that people watch with joy (mostly because of the sixes!). For the sake of its parents i.e. our cricket administrators, lets hope this baby doesn’t grow up too soon and loses its novelty.

This World Cup will see T20’s top international teams and players - who have now all come to understand and respect this format – compete for the top prize. If nothing else, this game does guarantee you one thing – Loads of entertainment!
 

Cricket