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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Two views of the shortest form of the game

In the last two days The Age has published two pieces about Twenty20 cricket: the first, by
Waleed Aly, yesterday, and the second by H G Nelson today.

Whereas Nelson's approach is characteristically manic and scattergun (like Twenty20 itself), Aly begins by describing the game earlier this week as "a parading freak show" (a touch of Melbourne-Sydney rivalry here?) but goes on to make some good points about the differences between it and Test cricket:

Test cricket has a natural, but variable rhythm. Therein lies its secret: it is the subtle, sometimes sudden changes of tempo that make it so gripping, so intoxicating to the initiated.

Twenty20 has no secrets, having, as it does, all the subtlety of a summer sitcom. This game is fast all the time. As a cricketing experience, it is the equivalent of a rollercoaster ride: frantic, extreme and disposable.

Which is why it is such raucously good fun. Test matches are slow, tense battles of restraint, guile and attrition. Twenty20 is an expression of unadulterated freedom.

PS Tonight in the final of the Australian domestic Twenty compVictoria beat Tasmania, thereby preserving their unbeaten record over the two years the competition has been running.

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