Unlike players in some other sports, cricketers quite often talk sense. They’re even capable of being interesting. That said, there have been some pretty ordinary thoughts expressed about this whole Stanford Twenty20 thing and about the IPL as well.
Monty Panesar’s a bright guy, but his comments are fairly typical: “Test cricket has always been the ultimate dream for every cricketer – that’s still going to be the number one.”
This is the kind of mindless blanditude most players have come out with when asked about the impact of Twenty20 on Test cricket. Is that really the case Monty? Why? Why should that situation persist just because it always has done?
Paul Collingwood yesterday offered a more considered opinion: “Twenty20’s blowing everything out of the water, but we must decide what we want in the future. The big picture is if Test cricket is going downhill because of it. We’ve got to keep Tests in the forefront.”
This is a man who’s in danger of being dropped from the Test team, but who as one-day captain is virtually guaranteed his Twenty20 place. It would be quite easy for him to spout the ‘great for cricket’ line, but no – this is a man who loves cricket and is worried about its future.
He goes on to say: “When I was a kid, all I thought about was playing in the World Cup or winning the Ashes. We don’t want kids growing up just dreaming about winning Stanford matches to earn some money or playing in the Indian Premier League. That dream is a massive thing for kids.”
He then finishes off by acknowledging that players might be economical with the truth about their level of fitness when there’s such money at stake.
We like Paul Collingwood. Paul Collingwood lives in the real world.