Are You Inspiring Young Cricketers With the Twenty20 Revolution? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Are You Inspiring Young Cricketers With the Twenty20 Revolution?

Today’s article is a guest post from Darren Talbot; Professional coach, Managing Director of Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching and founder committee member of the Surrey ECB Coaches Association.

Twenty20 has undoubtedly transformed cricket over the past few years. Its effects can be seen in club cricket too.

A decade ago it would be rare to see batsmen teeing off from the start of their inning and thrashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Back then you would have seen more of an ‘all day game’ approach: Batsmen playing themselves in, pushing the ball into gaps and punishing the bad ball. 

Not anymore! 

Twenty20 cricket has revolutionised the way we play the game at club level.

Yet it continues to amaze me how our junior cricketers don’t relate it to professional Twenty20 cricket matches they see on the television or at their local ground. Boys and girls are playing 20 over cricket from the age of 10 but it’s a different game from the T20 razamatazz.

Why is this? 

You could argue that not everyone can watch cricket on television. A large chunk of the population here in England hardly gets to see televised cricket. Certainly in my experience of coaching in primary schools in affluent Surrey, only around 20% of pupils seem to have access to televised cricket at home. This is disappointing.

For me the real problem is even closer to home that what TV channel the cricket is on.

Branding failure

The problem is that we are not branding these 20 over matches as Twenty20 Cricket. 

Just the name ‘Twenty20’ itself conjures up amazing images for any cricket fan.

Matthew Hayden smashing sixes with his Mongoose.

Zaheer Khan spearing in yorkers at the death of an innings. 

It’s exciting, it’s modern, and it’s putting the stuffy image of cricket to death.

Your keen young cricketers will have seen this.  They may have been to a domestic or International Twenty20 match. It could have fired their imagination and passion to play.

How many of those same youngsters associate that form of the game with their Sunday morning matches of the same length?

Very few.

How to make junior cricket more exciting

So what do we do to link the games together?
What about coloured balls? Why not? 

That’s what they use in the professional game. It’s what they use in senior club Twenty20 tournaments. Why not youth cricket? We’re trying to enthuse young players to play the game and improve and we’re turning up to our matches with a cheap red cricket ball when we could be there with a pink or orange ball. Much more exciting!

And yes I’m going to go there: Coloured clothing!

You purists might be spitting your beverage but this is what limited overs cricket is now. Let’s embrace it. It’s not going to change back. 

How many of our youngsters wear their favourite team’s football shirt proudly throughout the year?

How many now turn up at cricket training with their local teams one day shirt on?

Around here it’s the Surrey Lions. Maybe where you are it’s the Rajasthan Royals or Bushrangers.  It doesn’t really matter; the point is that it inspires pride and makes the game exciting.

Let’s start to move with the times and make cricket come alive for the next generation of club cricketers.

Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching works across the UK in more than 150 clubs and schools. If you want to know more about how to take the pain out of planning and running a colts section then enrol on the Club Colts Training Programme online course now. 

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In answer to the question "Why is this?"

I think the main reason that junior T20 games are not seen as comparable to professional T20 games is nothing to to with marketing gimmics, but it is simply because they're not at all comparable in terms of game play. Bear in mind that the lower the standard of cricket, the more the bowlers are on top and the longer a game "feels" as a result of this. At an average club level, a 50 over game is often played with the same mindset that a professional team would think about a test innings, scoring at 3 or 4 an over, and a T20 game is played like a modern ODI, with the runs being typically scored at about a run a ball with a brief flurry in the last few overs.

I think for junior cricketers, the difference is so great that a T20 game would feel far more like a test match than the IPL. At this level, most sides get bowled out in under 20 overs anyway, and to reach 100 is a virtually unbeatable score. If junior batsmen went out there trying to slog and reverse sweep, the side would be lucky to break double figures. If you really want kids to play something that feels equivalent to a professional T20 match, a five over game might be the answer.

You have a point AB. Although there is no reason for this mentality. Bowlers and batsmen are equally reduced in skill the lower you go down the scale. Yes batsmen have less shots and worse technique but bowlers bowl more bad balls.

You certainly don't need to slog or reverse sweep to score quickly. Good running between the wickets and playing into gaps with a straight bat are not coached to youngsters who have net after net at practice.

Creative coaches can develop T20 skills without resorting to Dilscoops and switch hits.

Whilst it is true that both bowlers and batsmen are reduced in skill, I do still think that its a curious aspect of cricket (and indeed most sports) that the balance between bat and ball (or attack and defence) changes as the average ability level changes.

In cricket, the higher the standard you go to, the more the batsmen take control of the game. Just taking a 20-20 game for example: My dad's friendly cricket team considers 120 to be a good score. The team I play for at a slightly higher standard looks for 140. Professional teams look for 160+. A junior side might only require 80-100 to feel comfortable.

In baseball, coincidently, its the other way round: the higher the standard, the lower the number of runs are scored on average. World series games are often won 2-1 or 5-3. At the other end of the spectrum, low level amateur games frequently end with scores like 35-25.

I do agree that different coaching methods should be used at all levels. Nets obviously have an important place, but learning how to place the ball in the gaps, avoid being caught out, steal singles etc can only be taught out on the square. The same applies to bowlers bowling to a field or fielders learning to back up instinctively.

David, I have a question I would like to ask you via email or forum messaging? is my e-address

email me is probably best.

Personally i think T20 cricket is already dying a death. I havn't watched a single game of the IPL, havn't looked at any of the scores and can't be bothered to read anything about it, because T20 cricket simply doesn't excite me in the slightest.
I just think its pathetic mickey mouse cricket which has been done to death. Once again some gimmick comes along and is completely ruined by overkill.
If there were far fewer T20 tournaments and games, perhaps it might then have at least some novelty value.

Maybe PW.. but try telling that to India: 2020 is bigger than ever there.. and India is where 70% of all cricket revenue goes. Ive watched almost every game, and the standard is higher than ever... infact I noticed a very interesting trend. As every ball is crucial then the execution of every skill is crucial.. whether a bowler, batsman or fielder.

The interesting thing is that Ive found commentators and players alike talking much more about technique than ever before.. ie far from being 'micky-mouse' its actually becoming the purest, most technically perfected form of the game. counter intuitive if you mind is still stuck in the 'its just a slog-fest' mentalilty .. but the reality is.. bowl just one bad ball, play just one bad shot and you could cost your team the game: that means technique and strategy are much more to the fore than in longer forms of the game, where a lapse or mistake here or there will often have little or no impact on the overall result.

you could possibly argue interest has wained in the UK .. because the UK and ECB really have no appetite for change and dont like to support anything they arent in control of. the UK generally has a negative attitude to everything! (even when theyre world champs!) .. but on a global level, it hardly matters as English cricket is economically pretty insignificant. On the world stage 2020 is here to stay, and is only going to get bigger.

David - to address your point on "creative coaches" (I hope).

With the IPL now free-to-air on ITV4, there should be more opportunity to see this form of the game, live, at the highest level. I shall certainly be suggesting to our Colts that they do some “homework” by watching a game or two over the Easter holidays.

But what should they be looking out for?

Fielding – attack the ball; back up; catches win matches – so no change there!

Batting – balance and orthodoxy works, even in 20/20. Obviously, I am hoping that Sachin and Jacques Kallis continue to dominate the batting charts, or this point might not come across that well.

How to deal with the Dilscoop? Try it, in the nets or with throw downs – if you can hit it 4 out of 5, play it in a game; otherwise...

Bowling seems more problematic (for the coach working with young players), because the current orthodoxy emphasises variation, and variation without control is a recipe for high scoring.

Any ideas?

btw - my “coaching point” from the (Englilsh) close-season is not from the IPL, but from the World Cup.

It has to be MS Dhoni hitting that 6 to win the final – not for the shot, or the confidence to play it, but for the perfect balance. Even when he twirled the bat as the ball sailed into the crowd, MS’s feet were still in perfect position.

That’s what I am hoping to see (balance, not necessarily bat twirling) from my batters in 2011.

This ifnomraiotn is off the hizool!