The urgency to stay relevant in the modern cricketing era ft. Smith & Root
Steve Smith (Source: Twitter/BBL)
All the following statements are factually correct.
Sir Donald Bradman wasn't the most incredible batter of all time, T20 cricket isn't of paramount importance, and Lasith Malinga never took a hat trick.
Well, if you're going to deny any of those, you will have to refute each one of them. But, again, it is a simple fact.
The evolution is here, and cricket is seeing a paradigm shift while facing rapid changes right from its core. If you didn't realise what the above-mentioned statements meant, here is a brief. Without any doubt, Sir Donald Bradman was the best with an average of 99.94, and Lasith Malinga didn't took one or even two, infact he has plucked whooping five hat tricks in international cricket. And coming to T20 cricket, it's a long debate.
Time to look towards T20 cricket
If by any chance you happened to tune into your TV sets or mobile application to watch Australia's T20 extravaganza Big Bash League (BBL) or the newest Emirates-founded International League T20 (ILT20), you must have realised that things aren't the same as they used to be.
Even for a moment, the thought of Steve Smith and Joe Root playing in T20 leagues, especially in 2023, might seem abrupt, but welcome to reality! How, when, where and why are just the questions. The answer lies in the simplistic approach that staying relevant in this scenario is necessary even for the modern greats of the traditional Test format or the ones we fondly remember as the "Fab 4".
Smith struck two consecutive jaw-dropping centuries wearing the pink jersey of Sydney Sixers, and Root did himself a favour by signing up with Dubai Capitals, where after three failures, he finally came on board to play a two wizardly 80 odd run knocks. If you still believe that game is limited to Test cricket, wake up. Root might have realised that a little late, but he is there now, and I tell you, he is here to stay. Virat Kohli never really faded away from T20 cricket, nor did he move away from Tests, which indicates that there is no need to pick and choose between formats.
Joe Root (Source: Twitter/ILT20)
Root's defining innings against Sharjah and MI Emirates might reignite the memories of his iconic 83 against the Proteas in the T20 World Cup 2016 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, where everyone must have thought there could be a long road for this man in the shortest form of the game. Then, however, his brilliance in the Tests took him away from the glittering heavy-paychecks leagues had to offer and focused solely on his captaincy in the white jersey. But now, his burning passion for succeeding in the colourful kits is quite evident, as he ought to make a name for himself when he heads to the IPL this summer with his fancy reverse scoops.
The turnaround that is bound to happen
Considered the most unorthodox batter of the era, Smith's journey isn't as similar as he was once the prime batter in the 20-over format but the willingness to devote more time to the five-day games made him the boss he always wanted to be. Despite that, the Aussie superstar faded from the limelight as he could not see himself through to the spectrum of the burgeoning responsibility. His T20 credentials began to fall, and he couldn't achieve what he expected from himself. Later, fell out of favour, not just for IPL franchises but even for his national side. His resurgence will surely mean a lot when he delivers the best flicks of his pads or even that not-so-out-of-fashion drives.
Nonetheless, the kind of performances both have put in just the same week tells you we're down the long road originating from where it last culminated. So again, the re-definition of T20 cricket is being written as the long-format leaders march their way back to the middle, and this time, they are on a more extensive journey.
With the 2024 T20 World Cup glancing hard at us, we might expect them back at the core, while those who pointed out them as weaknesses for their international camp might have to reconsider their notion as the duo is set to re-claim their glory days of the Fab-4. Moreover, their presence will only make T20 cricket much more inclusive, setting an example even for purists of the game.
So, re-look at what I said and re-imagine how we will watch the T20s being played in the Tests or vice versa. Well, we have already seen that. Haven't we?