Those unfortunate readers who have been subjected to my attempts to make the case for the three formats of the game as being in its best interest, and therefore deserving of the administrative support of the ICC and individual cricket boards without invidious comparisons, may find my submissions less annoying by virtue of their endorsement by none other than the head of Microsoft, Satya Nadella. Recently I was struck by the complaint of the moderator of the tv programme ‘Meet the Press’ that a certain play-off baseball game, although very competitive and enjoyable, had lasted over four hours on a night before a regular school day for his son. Two days afterwards I read on Cricinfo the report of an interview with the aforesaid CEO of Microsoft in which the tycoon said the following in a discussion about the game of cricket:
“To use the analogy of what has happened to our industry ‒ last year 300 million p cs were sold, compared to a billion smart phones. You can’t create much on a smart phone ‒ you do need large screens. Similarly, I hope that the world finds that they can really start thinking about cricket’s three formats all being part of the viewer’s experience and the player’s experience, as opposed to being divided into distinct markets.”
Now, other than one Dave Martins, who is an exceptional musician, I have not seen much support from on high for my point of view in the media, and I have always regretted that the one fast bowler who perhaps more than any other cricketer I regretted not to have seen live in his prime, Michael Holding, had once used the expression “rubbish” to describe twenty over cricket. I hope Mr Holding, whose views on every other aspect of the game I hold in high regard, could be influenced by Mr Nadella’s views to take a second look at the format, and do the fans and perhaps himself a great favour by renouncing his rejection of potential broadcasting opportunities in what would inevitably become, if it is not yet, as satisfying an experience when played by the best, as any of the other formats.
Mr Nadella is in the tradition of the greatest cricketer of all times, Sir Garfield Sobers. Check the record: The great ones tend to be great in all formats.
The last over in the 2016 T20 World Cup will join the ranks of the last over in the tied Test between Australia and the West Indies in 1961 as among the greatest moments in the game. And what is more, at this point in time we West Indians are the champs of T20