Long before Ireland achieved miraculous results in the Cricket World Cup and gained Test status, I was a relatively rare Irish cricket fan. Long rainy summers stuck indoors were improved immeasurably by Channel 4’s coverage of test cricket. I was first exposed to T20 cricket (or Twenty20 as it was then known) during the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) over a decade ago as I spent exam study leave watching (and gambling on) every single IPL game of that season.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, T20 cricket is a limited duration form of the game. Each team is bowled 120 balls (20 overs of 6 balls) to score as many runs as possible. Originally it met with some resistance as being too radical a departure for the game, but now, in large thanks to the IPL, it has become a hugely popular sport in itself.
Cricket 2.0 is an absolutely brilliant account of the first decade of T20 cricket. But it is also so much more than that. The level of analysis and insight into the strategies and tactics used by successful T20 teams is fascinating. It’s also a brilliant oversight of the overall global spread of T20, how it is changing how cricketers train and prepare, and an insightful chronicle of the formats first true superstars. The authors cover almost every conceivable angle that merits covering – the increased gambling risks of T20 domestic leagues, the struggles for any other league outside of the IPL to make the economics work, the rise of long overlooked talent from non-traditional cricket nations.
I absolutely loved this book. It is strength is its how ambitious its scope is while also managing to give fascinating insights into the mindset of players, coaches and team owners. The book really brings out the level of work, sophistication and talent needed to excel at T20 cricket. I particularly enjoyed the focus and analysis on how T20 has turned bowlers from attackers to defenders and vice versa for batsmen.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for any cricket fan. Even those with a limited understanding of the game should find it fascinating. It is superbly well written and just a generally brilliant book.