Do the continuously emerging new T20 leagues threaten international cricket?

Franchised T20 leagues have become the absolute thing for those who love to watch cricket matches or for anyone who wants to have greater action and more opportunities to bet on a cricket game. Browsing through the cricketing calendar or searching around the best betting sites in India, can give you an idea of how busy the cricket schedule can be when T20 leagues are on.

T20 leagues have been a massive success since their introduction some two decades ago. They emerged as shortened versions of traditional cricket matches, giving thus more emphasis on keeping fans’ attention, getting stadiums filled, making the sport more popular and more easily followed and ultimately – this is the utmost objective at the end of the day – bringing in more revenues. 

And while in the beginning there had been some opposition from those who like to stick with traditions, basically on the grounds that the new format distorts the actual sport and produces a new kind of a game that does not conform to the specifications of the cricket, T20 leagues eventually emerged as the most popular ones in the sport’s landscape. 

Now, T20 leagues are franchised and they are literally organized in various parts of the world, filling a calendar on their own. In fact, in some cases, these leagues appear to be far more attended and watched by fans than some of the international cricket tournaments and leagues. Also, they appear to be far more attractive for punters, according to records released from the best betting sites for betting on cricket. 

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This tremendous popularity, however, is considered by many officials and analysts as threatening to international cricket. 

This is for three main reasons: 

First, popularity comes with revenues and revenues mean more money to administrate clubs. So, T20 leagues end up being able to offer more lucrative and far more attractive contacts to cricket players than the national teams. And in doing so, they end up having greater control over the players. 

Some actually fear that at the end of the day, it will be the clubs that will eventually decide about the players playing for the national teams in international cricket competitions. It will be the clubs that will release the players according to will! 

Second, popularity means more and more leagues are on the way to becoming established officially within the already fully packed schedule of cricket. We are witnessing an explosion of T20 leagues around the world – some very successful and some not so successful. 

But the thing is that with so many leagues, there is little room left for the national teams to compete in international tournaments – which is the juice in cricket. There are overlapping seasons and leagues and this makes it difficult for international cricket to go head-to-head with T20 leagues. 

Third, popularity means that the emphasis is going to be placed on these leagues, which were once scattered throughout the season, but now they get to be squeezed to fit in between international cricket events and world competitions. Many people fear that this is going to end up like football, where players get to be with their league clubs, and at some point, they get to be in international or world cups. 

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This means that the image, the prestige, and the glory will move away from the grand competitions and tournaments and will all land on the most popular leagues, which are no other than these emerging franchised T20 leagues. 

For everyone who loves cricket and for all the people who are indeed interested in maintaining both the traditional character and the advancements brought about by the franchised leagues, the goal is one. To make them compatible and to ensure that they can co-exist.

On the one hand, T20 leagues have been popular for a reason, and minimizing their organizations is not the answer on the other hand, international cricketing and world tournaments remain at the heart of the sport, so they need to be protected and preserved. 

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