Summer cricket comes to end with T20 making a big splash
THIS week marked the end of the international cricket summer in Australia with the conclusion of the tour against the West Indies in a twenty20 at the Gabba, but the scrutiny has only just begun.
The past few days have featured plenty of media discussion about the twenty20 team playing while the Test team is in India, thus not turning out the best Australian team possible, and furthermore, patrons not getting their value for money when purchasing match tickets.
Bulldust I say.
Firstly, the Australian twenty20 team is currently ranked seventh in the world, so who is to determine that the team turning out up until this week was the best team, as opposed to the guys who only had their first go on Wednesday night at the Gabba?
Sure, there are a few notable omissions, but only a select few.
To me, I think it is a credit to the depth of Australian cricket that players from outside the squad can come in and perform in such an environment from the word go.
With the way the cricket calendar grows each year, I don't think it will be too long at all until there are at least two different Australian cricket teams.
With such a condensed schedule and different cricket competitions popping up all over the globe, I think a separate twenty20 and Test teams will become the norm - and often playing at the same time, in different corners of the world, such is the popularity of the short form game.
I've come across plenty of cricketing "purists" who are disgusted at the notion of this "two team" analogy, failing to embrace the evolution of cricket that seems to be taking shape.
Some might say they have their blinkers on, and that it's going to happen with or without them, but it all comes back to the one driving force - revenue.
In my eyes, Test cricket is still far and away the No.1 format worldwide, but with the increasing popularity of twenty20 comes big bucks.
TV rights, team deals, player signings, it's all there.
More cricket means more TV deals and ticket takings back to those organisations involved.
In world cricket at the moment, India is at the head of this gravy train.
Every country wants to play against India either on the sub-continent, or in their own backyard.
Big population equals big revenue, particularly the way the sport is embraced in Indian culture.
It is my belief that cricket will continue to evolve and expand, as it has done since the 1970s when World Series Cricket was introduced against the grain of "convention", turning into a thriving entertainment product.