Former England captain Nasser Hussain stated that all cricket formats have the space and the prospect of doing well together as well. However, there has been a lot of speculation going around, mostly regarding the ODI format as well as the emergence of franchise cricket. And, his comments come on the back of former captain Andrew Strauss’ claims, who stated that Test cricket and T20 cricket cannot exist side-by-side.
On the other hand, the International Cricket Calendar (ICC) has given specific time frames for T20 franchise cricket in the Future Tours Programme (FTP), but that won’t resolve the problem of the workload for the players.
Nasser Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail: “My overall view, though, is that everything needs to be in proportion. For me, first-class county cricket is the starter, Test cricket the main course, and all the white-ball stuff the pudding — enjoyable and moreish. If TV companies keep spending more money to broadcast franchise cricket around the world, then you have to say it’s a simple case of supply and demand. If their money future-proofs the game, it’s hard to argue with.”
However, broadcasters have struck record deals for the upcoming franchise tournaments’ TV rights. The huge amount of money ultimately benefits the players as well. And, England have been one of the countries that have braced all formats with regular sellout crowds also. While hosting the traditional Test cricket, they have also been receptive to the newfound ‘Hundred’ format, which is successfully playing its second edition now as well.
Nasser Hussain wrote: “I’ve been all round the country this summer covering everything from Test matches to the T20 Blast to the Hundred, and it’s clear to me that different formats attract different crowds. If you go to a Hundred match, there are far more women, children and families — and they’re all having a great time. That’s not spin. It’s a fact. And we shouldn’t be afraid of it. These spectators are our future fans and players. If they start with the Hundred or the Blast, they may end up watching red-ball stuff later down the line.”
However, he also believes that cricket will lose its spark if it takes the franchise route in the future. Moreover, recently, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult asked to be recused from’s central contract list as well.
“My response may just be typical of my generation. But I believe the game would be losing something fundamental if the only format we watch is T20 franchise stuff. One area of concern is the extent to which white-ball cricket is now getting hold of players at the start of their careers. It used to be the case that older players would ride off into the T20 sunset, and make a bit of cash before calling it a day. Ten balls and four sixes are all you need to become box-office, and attract the IPL owners. If you’re starting your career now, there is a direct route — if you’re talented enough — to making a million. I don’t blame the players for choosing it,” Nasser Hussain concluded.