As the person who presented the IPL to the world, you'd expect me to be full of enthusiasm and anticipation for the ICC Twenty/20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and I'm certainly not about to disappoint! The next two weeks or so, will be a colourful presentation of a form of cricket that offers instant appeal and as the tournament progresses, the excitement will undoubtedly gather momentum right through to the final on October 7th.
Of course, I'm hoping India will be there and unless something dramatic happens, they will certainly make it through to the Super Eights. But after their first game against Afghanistan there is much work to do if they're to make a bigger impact in the tournament. The margin of victory in Colombo (23 runs) was comfortable enough but India will need a more convincing show against England on Sunday (23rd September) if they're to win the group and theoretically give themselves a better chance in the next stage.
The T20 format is sure to divide opinion amongst cricket fans across the entire world just as the IPL has done since its inception. There will be some who say the tournament is a frivolous 20-over lottery and others who say its entertainment value and instant appeal make it an ideal alternative when set within a framework with other forms of the game. My view is - and always has been - that they should all have their own place in the spotlight at the appropriate time. Twenty/20 cricket is an opportunity to 'sell' the game in an instant format and, as I've said many time before, the IPL was never intended to be a tournament that challenged and suffocated the more traditional forms of the game. I'm sure the ICC feel the same with the Twenty/20 World Cup. As a tournament, it's a breath of fresh air and a colourful example of fast moving entertainment that provides some important variety for demanding, modern day spectators who have plenty of choice when deciding how to spend their leisure time.
But I'm sure the traditionalists will already be looking forward to its conclusion and from an Indian and English perspective, there will be cricket lovers looking towards the four-Test series between the two countries in November and December. If that is the case, then that is absolutely fine and I, too, am certainly looking forward to the Test matches in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur before the T20 format kicks back into action as a prelude to 5 One Day Internationals. But for now I shall be glued to the T20 format in Sri Lanka. When all is said and done, the Twenty/20 World Cup is a world cricket tournament, played by competitive professionals who simply aren't there for a carnival. And my own competitive instinct desperately wants India to win it.