x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Too much T20, says Test legend

Sir Ian Botham, one of the greatest all-rounders seen in cricket, believes there has been an overkill of Twenty20 cricket.

Sir Ian Botham, one of the greatest all-rounders seen in cricket, believes there has been an overkill of Twenty20 cricket. He said the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's governing body, has over-promoted the abbreviated version. "A lot of greed has crept into the game. Twenty20 cricket has become a means for everyone to get rich quickly," he said. The shortest form of the game has become popular around the world, with many, including Botham, wondering what impact it would have on the future of one-day internationals and, more crucially, Test match cricket.

"I am not saying Twenty20 cricket is bad, but there has clearly been an overkill," he said. "It is like asking people to pick their favourite movies and to watch it four times a week. You are bound to get bored." An indicator of the overkill became apparent when the Champions T20 League failed to grab much attention in October despite the success of the Indian Premier League. The international competition that was played in India between clubs from India, Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies, was a disappointment for the spectators, with a significant drop in television ratings.

"The ICC and the national boards have lost the plot. They need to wake up and get it right. Just because something is successful doesn't mean you have to milk it. This is nothing but greed," Botham added. For a player who would have fancied his chances in what he called "a three-hour fix", Botham was all for safeguarding the future of Test matches. "The real cricket is Test cricket. That is international cricket. Not Twenty20," he added.

ckadalayil@thenational.ae