"Arriving in Bangalore just a couple of days ago has been some spectacle! I probably shouldn't say this but seven star hotel treatment, touching shoulders with Sachin Tendulkar at the hotel bar and watching Chris Gayle strutting his stuff on the catwalk in the evening fashion show is a further reminder that this is not everyday life! I think most of us are getting an insight into what Twenty20 cricket is offering and I can see why the likes of Gayle, Pollard and Yusuf Pathan don't pay too much attention to the longer format... I mean why would you! Arriving at our hotel, we were greeted to a traditional south Indian welcome and were presented with a 'patta' (hat) and the shawl which is called a 'petta'. There was music too, a local karnatic mix, which includes the flute known as a 'tabla' and a 'mrithangan' – a small pot which the music is played on.
Hustle and bustle: "I think we were all taken aback at how friendly the people are here. Bangalore is definitely greener and a lot cleaner than other cities I've visited here and it's been great to be able to see a bit of the city in between games and practice. Another one of the plus sides to playing this shortened version of the game. It's interesting how my views have shifted slightly in reference to the hustle and bustle of Twenty20, although with some ambiguity. If you watched India in England this year, it was nothing short of embarrassing; let's be honest. As soon as the ball moved, or was bowled quickly with any sort of aggression, their technique and courage were questioned and players who are highly regarded, have looked so ordinary. But over here, they step away, crash the ball over 100+ metres distances to all parts, earn millions of dollars and, what's more, they are big celebrities. I suppose the question is: what is a good cricketer these days? The answer is multi dimensional of course, but how many can actually do it? Jacques Kallis, Tendulkar and Mike Hussey are three who spring to mind; otherwise there aren't a great deal of cricketers who excel in all formats. The reason I allude to this is because Twenty20 has had such a revolutionary impact on the global cricket front that I question where it is all heading. Playing for three hours, once ever three or four days isn't very difficult, it's actually fun. The games are intense and fast, there are thousands of fans and, yes, you are expected to whack a few out of the ground, but it's hardly a grind. These days, people demand instant action. No one wants to sit down for a three course meal anymore - they want fast food. It's the same with Twenty20 cricket. A lot of these games go down to the wire: it's tense, it's nail-biting and there's always a result. But, however you like to analyse it, true cricket connoisseur's still value test cricket just like real foodies love a classy restaurant!
Rising expectations: I am tempted, but I still sit firmly with the old guard and regard temperament and the ability to face quality bowling - pace, bounce and swing as the real attributes to a good cricketer. I will say though, that the confidence in which this form has instilled in many a player, is invaluable. Having that freedom to forget about the stumps behind you, let go of your inhibitions and think "what the hell" is a hugely liberating feeling! Maybe in trying to grind out county runs day in and out that fear of failure is ever present. So I think I speak for most in saying that Twenty20 cricket has risen above my expectations and the opportunity to spend time in this environment is an experience I will never forget. I'm off for an Indian curry, but I think I'll just stick to a main course tonight."
Published 30 September 2011