Image source– Mr Jasprit Bumrah Twitter/ X handle

Not too long back cricket was a gentleman’s pursuit, unfolding gracefully over five sun-kissed days, a testament to patience and endurance. But as the world spun faster, attention spans waned, and the game evolved. Limited overs cricket emerged. 

But something was becoming boring with the 50-over cricket.A restlessness stirred among spectators. The familiar rhythm of the game began to feel stale, lacking the spark that once ignited the passions of fans. They hungered for something more, something electrifying to reignite their love for the sport. Sachin Tendulkar also scored the first double century in One Day International (ODI) cricket on February 24, 2010. 200 runs in 50 overs scored by a single batter?? Yes. That was true. The game had changed. But fans wanted some more change.

So what would be that change?

A game of Cricket as long as watching a Hindi movie? You must be kidding! Enter Twenty20 cricket, a revelation born from the depths of innovation and necessity. The game transformed into a spectacle of raw power and relentless action, captivating audiences worldwide.

T20 cricket revitalized the sport, infusing it with a new energy and attracting a broader audience. It became a beacon of modernity, blending tradition with innovation to create a mesmerizing tapestry of sporting brilliance.

The first ICC T20 World Cup played in South Africa in 2007was won by India. They emerged victorious, defeating Pakistan in the final. 

After the victorious team arrived at the Mumbai airport they travelled on an open bus waving to cheering public who lined the streets. That bus journey carrying the victorious team through the streets of Mumbai served as a powerful metaphor for the advent of T20 cricket and its subsequent rise to dominance in the cricketing world. Because in the very the next year in 2008 started Franchise Cricket in India known as the Indian premier league. That would completely revolutionise the game beyond imagination. 

Since 2008, the IPL has become an annual spectacle in the cricketing calendar binding hearts and minds, uniting millions in anticipation and celebration. It’s more than just a tournament; it’s a testament to the nation’s passion, resilience, and enduring spirit. As players take the field, hope and dreams converge, echoing across stadiums and souls, igniting the belief that anything is possible.

And IPL ensured that youngsters from small towns took to the game. Because there was money to be earned. Cricket became a career even if you could not play for India. Hence the Mohammad Siraj’s and the Rinku Singh’s came through the ranks. That they were selected to play for India was a testimony to the fact that Cricket was not celebrated onlyaround Delhi Mumbai Hyderabad and Calcutta anymore. 

And the IPL made the game more exciting to watch. Sixes and fours were being hit galore. And 20 over scores grew exponentially. But that inadvertently meant bowlers bled on the cricket pitch.  

Source– Twitter/ X

Amidst the frenzy of sixes and wickets, players vie not only for victory but for the coveted spotlight of national recognition. And in no other year was the frenzy around the IPL more evident than in 2024 because the national team for the 2024 T20 world cup would be announced. And performances in the IPL for many in the fringes of national selection would matter. 

The impact player rule that was introduced this year made Cricket a 12 man game. Batters went berserk in the opening overs because they know that a frontline batter or their “impact player” would be available to bat even as low as a no 8 or a no 9. And that resulted in scores crossing even the 250 mark a number of times. And some were even chased down.But the T20 World cup did not have the impact player.

Franchise cricket had swayed the game too much in favour ofthe batter. The 22 yards had become the burial ground for bowlers. Rules favouring batters and the incessant cries for sixes and fours made it a batters game. IPL 2024 was just overand bowlers would be buried at the soon to be played T20World cup in the West Indies and the US. The event would perhaps garnish the cup that had the ashes of all the bowlers.That was the divine plan.

And this year during election time another phrase had risen in chorus around the IPL. 

AB KI BAAR 300 PAAR! Though the phrase might provoke political connotations it merely had only a painful cricketing story. Scoring 300 plus in 20 overs. What? Scores in the IPL 2024 urged cricket fans to expect scores of 300 in a 20 over game. And that wasn’t foolhardy.

But T20 World cup 2024 has been a different story. The pitches in the US and the West Indies offered bowlers someassistance. They were not barren death beds for the bowlers. So bowlers came home to roost. And things changed.

2024 T20 World Cup has restored a balance between bat and ball. Yes critics have spoken about the standard of the pitches. But over the years those in power had taken genuine measures to ensure that the game unduly favoured the batters. This time the bowlers have risen from the shadows of high scores, turning low-scoring matches into gripping sagas of resilience and triumph. Cricket’s narrative has embraced unpredictability, painting the canvas of glory with every delivery, wicket, and run.

First Afghanistan became every cricket lovers darling. What they have achieved at the World cup is something that will hold sway hopefully in the months and years to come. Just as the 1995 Rugby World Cup victory united South Africa and inspired a nation emerging from the shadows of apartheid, Afghanistan’s success in the T20 World Cup could serve as a beacon of hope amid adversity. Like a rallying cry on the field, both triumphs symbolize resilience, unity, and the transformative power of sport, igniting national pride and drawing global admiration. Each victory resonates as a testament to overcoming challenges, painting a brighter future beyond the struggles of the past. Will Afghanistan have a Women’s cricket team soon? Hope springs eternal!

But today in cricket’s tumult, bowlers endured a harrowing trial. Flat pitches and narrow boundaries unleashed a storm of sixes, besieging them with each thunderous strike. Yet, amid the chaos, their resilience stands tall, a testament to cricket’s enduring spirit amidst the deluge of runs.

So, what new has the T20 World cup in the West indies and the US brought for us? How will it benefit the game?

The T20 world cup is just over and the best team has won. Meteoric performances like Rohit Sharma’s swashbuckling 92 followed by the 57 in the semi-final against England will be the talking point for months on end. But to me what has stood out is the performance of the bowlers. From most teams. Fazal Farouki from Afghanistan and Arshdeep of India are joint highest wicket takers in the cup and that proves that this World cup that was set to sound the death knell for the bowlers has actually resurrected them. 

Bowlers defiantly asserted their prowess, proclaiming that this game is not just for batters. With precision and strategy, they announced from the start of their runup, “We live!” Deliveries became game-changers, honed to exploit any hint of assistance from the pitch. With conditions in their favour, they transformed into architects of chaos, targeting every ball to unsettle batsmen and rewrite the T20 narrative with each wicket taken.

The Bumrah delivery that dismissed Hendricks in the final seemed innocuous at first, a simple ball aimed at the middle stump. But then it swung late, kissed the seam, and crashed into the top of off stump. Hendricks was opened up like an Indian Dosa, undone by an unplayable delivery from an exceptional bowler. Kuldeep’s magical ball that bowled Maxwell told a similar tale. These deliveries, and many others, proclaimed loudly: that bowlers are back, ready to crown the sport with their achievements. Kudos to the ICC for revitalizing the game, making it more enthralling. The 22-yard burial ground for bowlers has transformed into their Garden of Eden.

On the business side, by venturing into the United States, the tournament has unlocked the immense potential of a market ripe for cricket’s expansion. With a diverse population and a growing interest in sports, particularly among immigrant communities from cricket-playing nations, the T20 World Cup has offered a gateway to introduce the game to new fans and stakeholders in the US.

Moreover, the global exposure garnered by hosting the T20World Cup in these dynamic locations has elevated cricket’s status on the world stage, attracting investment, sponsorship, and media attention that will fuel the game’s development globally. It presents an opportunity for collaboration and exchange between cricketing nations, fostering camaraderie and solidarity within the cricketing fraternity.

Overall, the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States has represented a bold step forward for cricket, bridging continents and cultures in a celebration of the sport’s universal appeal. It will leave a lasting legacy, enriching the game in the West Indies and inspiring millions around the world to embrace cricket’s spirit of camaraderie, competition, and joy.

And in most matches the thunderous roar of the bat has not drowned out the whisper of the ball, nor the brilliance of the batter eclipsed the artistry of the bowler. For in the balance between power and precision, between the ferocity of the willow and the finesse of the leather, lies the true essence of cricket’s timeless allure. The best team has won. Bumrah,Kuldeep, Rashid, Arshdeep and Farouqi and others have risen to be heard aloud. And that makes the game much more exciting. 

Crafting wickets with something for the bowlers transforms the sport into a captivating dance. So batters must rise to the challenge, chiselling their craft to endure the bowler’s assault. In this crucible of survival, only the resilient can unleash the sixes. Such a balance not only heightens competition but also enriches the sport, allowing it to flourish and captivate hearts anew.

Countless images of glory and triumph will emerge from this World Cup, etching themselves into our collective memory for years to come. Surya Kumar Yadav’s breath-taking catch, Rohit Sharma’s kiss to the ground, the team jubilantly hoisting the T20 cup, and Rohit, echoing Messi’s dance, leading the way. Yet, one moment stands out as the pinnacle of this tournament, and it wasn’t during the competition itself. It’s the image of Rohit Sharma embracing Hardik Pandya, lifting him high, tears streaming down their faces. In that singular embrace, they buried their past grievances, illuminating the fractured paths their relationship had taken amidst the complexities of franchise cricket. They rediscovered simplicity, rekindled their bond, and found renewed love. Such mutual success transcends negativity, glorifying the power of deep bonds forged through shared victories.

The retirements of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Ravindra Jadeja from playing T20I for India cricket marks the end of an era and opens doors of opportunity for emerging talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and numerous other aspiring athletes from India’s smaller towns. Beyond their departure from international T20s, these stalwarts are likely to continue their dominance in the IPL, ensuring their invaluable mentorship and performance continue to inspire. For others, this moment represents more than just a chance to fill the shoes of legends; it’s an opportunity to carve out their own legacies and showcase the untapped potential from India’s grassroots. Their journeys symbolize hope and ambition for countless young cricketers across the country, each dreaming of making their mark on the global stage. As the spotlight shifts, these rising stars carry the aspirations of a nation, fuelled by the promise of glory and driven by the passion that defines India’s love affair with cricket.



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