Over the recent Cricket pundits have predicted the transformation of the so called ‘Modern Game’, and with T20 cricket taking prominent center-stage, the fact was gleefully accepted. Rishabh Pant’s sensational display of hitting in the ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh has already raised many a brow over his attacking intent in a 50 over game, even at an U-19 level.
But the very same Pundits were flabbergasted as the turn-around would mean an entire generation of youngsters might be molded in a different pattern. Former Aussie opener Matthew Hayden openly quoted that his generation learnt to ‘leave’ the ball, whereas the current generation is looking to smack it out of the park. All said and done some of the best T20 players – whether it was Virat Kohli, AB DeVilliers or even Chris Gayle – weren’t simply stars overnight, they in fact struggled at the initial parts of their careers, but adjusted later and did so in style. According to EspnCricinfo, Chris Gayle in fact has a better T20 average of 51.80 after he turned 35, than 41.72, before that. Then what exactly has changed with the younger generation, consisting of batsmen like Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant?
Evolution Of the Mind
Evolution is everywhere – irrespective of situation or field, when Darwin talked about the same, it was a breakthrough. The Modern game of Cricket is evolving to heavily incorporate the entertainment factor. In his article of ‘T20 Cricket is Cricket too’, renowned Cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle talked about the skills required to play this brand of cricket indeed being ‘skills’. The acquisition of these ‘skills’ is almost a necessity in today’s modern game. But how can these actually be acquired?
That’s where the change in mindset comes; the evolving cricketing brain. The youngsters of today are bred in this very manner. Fearlessness is indeed the order of the day. After his stellar knock Pant was quoted saying “Pata nahi…ball aayi aur ho gaya (I don’t know…I kept hitting the balls as they came),” when posed with the question of whether he actually thought of going after the Nepal bowlers from the word go. This is the same fearlessness that exists in most of the individuals who plays the sport today in limited overs. Ironically its Rahul Dravid who controls these very youngsters, but he himself has a healthy T20 experience to guide the Indian colts.
Factoring the Market brand of T20 Cricket
T20 cricket is beyond just the 40 over game on the field, it is indeed high revenue generating prospect of the Modern game. The retired legends led by Tendulkar and Warne or the on-going MCL are simply using this very aspect of T20 cricket to factor in the entertainment required as well as the revenue generated in the process. The very first IPL in 2008 saw the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha being thrust into the Indian side based on their T20 caliber. The process almost continues to this day.
“It (IPL auction) is always in the mind but it wasn’t during the match,” quoted Pant after the game. T20 cricket is indeed a huge part of today’s agenda and ultra-talented youngsters like Rishabh Pant are playing a crucial role in the game’s evolution, almost having mastered the way of the Modern Game.