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Opinion

Three-team cricket: What was it all about, and is it the future of cricket?

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29th July, 2020
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A new version of cricket called three-team cricket sounds odd, but boy it was quite cool to watch.

The South Africa Cricket Board decided to start it as a part of reopening the country and signalling the start of the cricket season in South Africa. It was an event to promote a new format and give sports fans something to watch during these interesting times.

Well, let’s start with the rules, which consist of three teams of eight players. The match is played over 36 overs in two halves of 18 overs. Teams bat for one innings of 12 overs split between two six-over blocks, facing one opponent in the first half and the other opponent in the second half.

In the first half, teams rotate from batting to bowling to the dugout with the starting positions determined by a draw. In the second half, teams bat in order of the highest scores in the first half. If scores were tied, the first half order is reserved.

After the seventh wicket falls, the last batsman stands alone and can only score in even numbers of runs. If the seventh wicket falls in the first half, the team forfeit the remaining balls in the first half. Each bowling team has the use of one new ball for their full 12 overs.

A maximum of three overs per bowler is allowed. The winner was decided by the most runs. All three sides had all the best South African players like Faf du Plessis, Quinton De Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and AB de Villiers.

Director of cricket Graeme Smith acknowledged that the upcoming match may not feature players at their best due to lockdown but was hoping for a great match.

“We’d be amiss to expect our players to be at 100 per cent,” he said.

“They’ve handled the build-up, they’ve handled the lockdown well, they’ve done elements of training. But they haven’t been able to get the extensive cricket or outdoor training that normally we expect of them going into big contests.”

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It seemed to be a successful event with De Villiers’ team, the Eagles, going on to win the match. The champion batsman made 61 in their 12 overs.

AB de Villiers of the Heat plays a shot

AB de Villiers is the face of 3TC. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

This format is something that should be a bit like T20 in its early days. It could be perfect to help players get out of quarantine and into some sort of cricket that is a bit of fun in helping the return of cricket to Australia and New Zealand.

Also, it would help their T20 game as well. Batsmen practising their shots and bowlers practising slower balls also could create different tactics, which makes it an interesting format to watch. In addition to this, it brought back the fun of sport to South Africa, which was much needed due to the horrible COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted South Africa greatly.

It seems like something to keep our eyes on for the future of cricket and hopefully many cricket boards around the world like the idea. Maybe it could be the perfect way to kick off a season for state teams instead of playing boring List A games during a weekday. Instead, players could be having a hit and gearing up for the T20 season, which might be more important in the public’s eyes.

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The World Cup squad for 2023 will nearly be the same as last year’s side and even though international one-dayers are going to be crucial with a new, improved qualifying system, the state one-dayers might not be. But I am not saying don’t get rid of the one-day tournament as it is still crucial to Australian cricket development.

What I am saying is if COVID continues for longer, maybe this could be an option for Australia so state players don’t have pressure performing at such a high level once cricket returns. By easing into this format it could benefit players as it is a relaxed form of cricket and will be something that people will see as the Big Bash.

Overall, if you want to get younger generation or newbies into cricket, you must find ways to keep them interested and understand the game and they are already getting bored of T20.

By having this new, fresh format, it could make cricket evolve into the future and keep cricket relevant for generations to come.