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T20 razzamatazz needs to return — Richardson
ALAN Richardson has called for a revamp of Twenty20 cricket and a return to the ‘razzamatazz’ that heralded the early days of the competition in England.
After blazing onto the county scene as the saviour of the English game nearly a decade ago, the shortest format appears to have gone a little stale in recent seasons.
Attendances have generally been on the wane for some time as fans vote with their feet and the veteran Worcestershire seamer, who signed a new two-year contract with the New Road club last week, feels it is time to bring back the magic.
“It’s time for a tweak to the current T20 format. Not a drastic one, just something to give this wonderful competition a little boost,” said Richardson in his regular blog on the livingcricket.co.uk website.
“I am not sure what the answer is just yet but we were the first country to come up with a working template of how T20 could work and, having been copied by every other Test-playing country, we need to stay at the forefront of the competition’s development.
“Why not play the whole competition in one all-singing, all-dancing block of three weeks?
“If that was the case, there would be no danger of sides’ star attractions being away on international duty for the knock-out stages, like has happened in the past.
“What about the gimmicks that seemed such a popular part of the early years?
“The ‘best seat in the house’ with a hot tub, beer and delivered pizza for the lucky winner always went down a storm.
“I rarely see that nowadays. Let’s bring back that razzamatazz.”
However, Richardson remains staunchly against the idea of regionalising the competition.
“I just don’t think the franchise idea that is being widely discussed at the minute will work,” he added.
“Could you imagine Leicestershire or Derbyshire fans going to watch an East Midlands team in Nottingham? Surrey fans going to cheer on a London team at Lord’s?
“The vast majority of Leicestershire fans would be born and bred in the county, would they go and see a side based in Nottingham that has replaced their own?”
The evergreen 37-year-old continued: “Back at the turn of the Millennium, I vividly remember when the idea of T20 cricket was being floated.
“A man called Stuart Robertson — who is widely hailed as the ‘inventor’ of T20 cricket — was going around the counties thoroughly researching and speaking to players, clubs and supporters in order to come up with a formula that would work. It was his job to sell the idea.
“Even when it got the go- ahead after a vote of 11-7 by county chairman, Robertson was still making his way around the counties practically begging them not to put out their second XI when the competition got under way and to try and take it seriously.
“Look how things have changed in the last nine years.
“It has been incredible. Not only has it been a great innovation for the paying public but, for those professionals who have never received international honours, it gave them a chance to play in front of a large crowd and full houses with electric atmospheres.
“T20 is a great product but it needs to constantly evolve. I wouldn’t advocate drastic change or change for the sake of it — but it’s time to spice things up a little bit.”