It’s clear that cricket is at critical stage of evolution with three different formats enforcing their way to grab as much eyeballs possible and many fear that very shorter format is ahead in the race while the shorter one and the prime one are lagging behind. All these form of game can still survive provided the organizer and administrators make smart business decisions. The advent of T20 always promised a change; but many test match devotees instantly felt that prime format is in jeopardy. Personally I like all forms of game until its cricket & each format have its own set of required skills which is phenomenal in its own right. One format might require patience of a surgeon to finish the job while other requires the speed of F1 race to make an impact in that particular form.
There is lot of talk around what is in spirit of cricket and what is not; like the one being recently invented switch hit. Analyst, ex-cricketer, MCC or ICC all of them have views about this shot being regularly played by players who are ambidextrous and demonstrate this skill more often; first Pertersen and now David Warner. Personally speaking this kind of invention does bring lot of innovation to cricket and days are not far when a right arm bowler would change his stance at the last minute to deliver left arm over the wicket. Another thought for debate about bowler being ambidextrous; surely that would start another set of debate across genres. While switch hit is being debated; a section of experts also suggest having LBW rule (pitching outside leg stump) scrapped when batsmen attempts switch hit giving bowler fair chance.
But having argued on invention; test matches are the purest and prime form of this game; any changes to this format just won’t suit the party. I would always want to see innovation on T-20 front to make the game more interesting and unpredictable; certain allowances towards batsmen being allowed to use switch hit; so are bowlers allowed to change their delivery stance from right arm bowler to left arm bowler at the last minute. Also as part of change it would be great to have ODIs divided into 4 innings as proposed by Sachin Tendulkar and once implemented by cricket Australia; this would generate fair amount of interest in the crowd and lot of one sided games can be avoided as both teams get sufficient chance to analyse the match situation.
Another change I would like to see is T-20 being played in indoor stadiums for that matter Test matches cannot be played indoors as we haven’t graduated to day-night test match yet. But T-20 shall surely make a good match within indoor stadium; benefit being no rain ruined matches. This formula is successfully tried by Cricket Australia nearly 11 years ago when South Africa toured them for 3 ODIs. At some point in time Television Broadcasters & Sponsors will advocate this concept and not live with the tag of game being subject to natural elements. With evolution of league cricket and so much money being invested; the cricket authorities in partnership with their corporate investors shall realize this misfit sooner than later. Indoor stadiums would ensure matches are played and finished, when they should be.
The concept of miking is good but just being used for Player interviews is bit comical. South African Skipper late Hansi Cronje and late Bob wolmer tried this concept in 1999 world cup where Hansi was always wired up and shall get inputs from wolmer at every critical juncture but this move of innovation was banned by ICC; with advent of T20 miking is the form used to interview on field players and to get match bites from them. To make T-20 more interesting if this concept can be extended between coaches and on field captain; which it would make an absolute hit with cricketers and shall make it worthwhile.
These concepts can be cascaded to cricket board approved private leagues. Cricket in Future will be about providing a short format that is fast, furious and exciting. While to retain prime form of the game; both Test matches & T-20s shall need to be re-positioned much like our education system where kids get to choose between Science, Commerce or any other field of their choice; while young cricketers at certain point in their life with guidance of their coach should also get to pick any format of their choice based on their strengths and weakness. Meanwhile we fantasize about these changes to the game; administrators need to maintain the perks at equal level for playing both form of game; to avoid discrimination.