There is no way Cricket Australia is going to abandon the Twenty20 cricket concept after its extraordinary public success during the current season.

We need to get used to it – and regard it more as entertainment than sport. And remember that watching it live on television is not compulsory!

In an era in which competition for the spectator dollar, not to mention television ratings, is greater than ever, Twenty20 is a godsend for cricket administrators.

If there was any doubt about that then Saturday night’s interstate Twenty20 final at the MCG surely dispelled it. The final of the domestic one day competition probably attracts a few thousand spectators, no matter where it is played. The Twenty20 final drew a crowd of 30,000, and that was just 24 hours after almost 80,000 were at the same ground for the Australia v England 50 over match.

But the make up of the crowd seemed different from what you see at a 50 over match, let alone a Test. Younger, more family-oriented, and there for the entertainment as much as the cricket skills.

Fox Sports coverage of the game was excellent. Following the Nine example in the Australia v England Twenty20 earlier in the week, the commentary team spoke throughout the game to a Victorian and Tasmanian player – and the sound microphone was strong enough to pick up what the batsmen said mid-wicket and the banter between the players.

The Victorian player was wicketkeeper Adam Crostwaithe, who proved to be an exceptional choice. Aged just 22, he is spoken of as a possible successor to Adam Gilchrist – and his intelligent “reading” of the game as well as his good humour made it easy to see why.

But we need to regard Twenty20 cricket as entertainment – as well as a significant money spinner for cricket. If that happens – and it is not over-exposed by administrators – then cricket as a whole will benefit.

It clearly attracts “fans” that have little interest in 50 over matches, and none in Test cricket, but there can be no harm in that provided it is not overdone.

And it surely has more credibility than the “beach cricket” nonsense that gets under way this weekend.

Peter Fray

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