Amid catastrophic 'Novel Corona virus' ( COVID-19) that had engulfed the entire world with morbid death scare with the death toll rising in geometrical progression, it was only natural and inevitable that all sporting activities had come to a grinding halt in the year 2020. With the reduction of Covid cases, the ICC finally announced to hold the 'T-20' World Cup cricket tournament in UAE and Oman spread over in four stadiums. Accordingly, after the preliminary round, curtains of the 'shortest version of the world cup cricket tournament' will rise for the first time in a non-test-playing nation on 23rd October.
The cricket-loving Indians, tired of being locked down and home confinement, look forward to the ensuing tournament to quench their thirst for gruelling, quality encounters and to express their solidarity with Team India. Notwithstanding the perennial attraction of the connoisseurs, it needs to be reiterated that the shortest version of the game is mockingly or derisively described by the conservatives as 'Bang-bang' cricket. 2021 will be the seventh ICC World Cup Twenty- 20 tournaments.
Mind-blowing technological interventions coupled with rapid strides made in the field of human entertainment have resulted in several innovations in the game of cricket. The 'five day' long Test Cricket, more often ending in a tame draw with no definitive result, no longer attracts the modern cricket aficionados. Further, the quest for materialistic pursuits, the desire for excitement within a limited duration of time among the young generation had led to the beginning of the concept of result-oriented one day variety of the game (ODI) which is also described as "Instant" cricket. The spectators derive enormous pleasure in watching the non-stop pulsating tussle between the bat and ball in stipulated 50 over format.
The burgeoning popularity of the 'Twenty-20' version of cricket, the euphoria of the cricket connoisseurs to watch the 'bang-bang' version of the result-oriented games full of excitement from the first ball throws interesting light on the tangible transformation of our lifestyle and attitude consequent upon mind-blowing progress of science and technology. The T-20 version was originally introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003. Generally, a Twenty-20 Game is completed within three-and-a-half hours. The Twenty-20 version is introduced to create a fast-paced form of the game that exercises magnetic spells on the spectators both on the ground and for the viewers on television.
The first ICC World Cup Twenty-20 was held in 2007 in South Africa. India had emerged as the Champion in this Tournament beating its arch-rival, Pakistan in a heart-stopping encounter. Further, this tournament is remembered for the scintillating "Six Sixes" which were hit by Yuvraj Singh off Stuart Broad and decimating England overwhelmingly. Subsequently, successive 'Twenty 20 ICC World Cup tournaments have been held at an interval of two years.
Twenty 20 version of the game requires a high level of physical fitness. The intensity of excitement is huge and infectious. The involvement of the spectators and the joyful surroundings is almost akin to the enthusiasm displayed by the FootBall Crowd. To quote Matthew Hayden, "The game demands higher levels of strength, agility and reaction time from the players and it should be included as an Olympic sport". Adam Gilchrist opined, "It would be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world."
Neighbours Bangladesh had hosted the 5th ICC Twenty-20 World Cup in 2014 and expectedly the cricket hungry Bangladesh had euphoric times watching the intense competition generated by all international teams abundant with celebrities. Excitement on and off the field was electrifying. Team India having played scintillating cricket throughout was beaten by the Sri Lankan team in the final. The sixth tournament held in India in 2016 had evoked huge excitement. The West Indies became champion beating England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
In the backdrop of the ongoing heightened cross-border tension and Pakistan's continued anti-Indian activities, Team will take on arch-rival Pakistan on 24th October in a breathtaking encounter. To be precise, ever since ICC World Cup, 1992, Team India has consistently and handsomely beaten Pakistan on all international tournaments up to the 2019 World Cup held across the world.
On paper, India looks like the strongest team. Steve Smith and even Inzamam-ul Haque, former Aussie and Pakistan captain respectively have rated India as favourites. Igniting the expectation of millions of Indians, Team India has beaten England and Australia in the warm matches effortlessly. However, it needs to be recalled that England and New Zealand are formidable teams besides being defending champion and runners up respectively in ICC World Cup tournament.
It is expected that the ensuing fortnight will witness electrifying cricket performance keeping the aficionados on tenterhooks. Cricket, they say, is a game of glorious uncertainty. Therefore, the outcome of the iconic tournament lies buried in an unforeseen future.