Reading with Rahul

Reading with Rahul: Cricket 2.0

Let’s be totally honest, T20 has completely revolutionised the gentlemen’s game as we know it and allowed it to open horizons that were once deemed unattainable. It is inevitable that T20 will ultimately define the destiny of cricket, hence it is crucial to fully understand the brief history of the format and it’s unique intricacies and nuances. Cricket 2.0 has done exactly that…

Freddie Wilde and Tim Wigmore, the 2 authors of this book, have compiled a comprehensive guide to the past, present and future of T20 and have left no stone unturned in terms of the sheer detail of analysis displayed.

Wilde and Wigmore begin by vividly educating the reader on the humble roots of T20: it was perceived as a gimmicky slog in the park with little skill involved. However, it wasn’t long until teams realised that uncultured hoiking is futile for producing consistent performances. Cricket 2.0 then provides a valuable insight into the wacky experiments that Leicestershire conducted with their playing style in an attempt to crack the indecipherable code of T20.

This book also highlights the monumental significance that India’s 2007 T20 world cup victory had on the uncertain fate of the format: India were reluctant to welcome the new age of cricket as they decreed it barbaric to slaughter the unrivalled purity of the gentleman’s game.

This all changed with dramatic effect when Joginder Sharma, an eventual policeman, defended 13 of the last over to vanquish Pakistan in the final and India began to understand the oasis of untapped potential that T20 possessed in abundance.

Little did Joginder Sharma know that “he helped usher in a revolution that transformed the sport forever” by indirectly contributing to the creation of the IPL.

One of the main of highlights of Cricket 2.0 is the chapter that is aptly described as “Gaylestorm” in tribute to the undisputed Bradman of T20. It articulates the true brilliance that Gayle has demonstrated for a prolonged period of time and the bulging gap between him and the rest. The stat that embodies that claim is that Gayle has 22 T20 hundreds while the next best comparatively languishes at 7.

It also rightly suggests that Gayle’s bubbly and carefree persona is a facade from the calculating scientist who has trained smarter than any other T20 player that has ever been. He has basically developed a formula that almost guarantees unparalleled consistency in T20. This is a feat to behold!

Sometimes I feel that some people underestimate the enormity of Gayle’s T20 achievements due to the nonchalant attitude that he presents to the outer world. However, Cricket 2.0 draws an accurate representation of the celestial scale of his incredible achievements.

Constructing a successful franchise T20 side is an arduous task that demands meticulous analysis and this book articulates this in a detailed manner. Cricket 2.0 compares the contrasting fates of CSK and RCB and establishes the dos and don’ts when building a franchise T20 XI .

CSK believed in consistent selection and building a team culture around proven, experienced performers who knew their respective roles inside out. RCB’s squad, on the other hand, has traditionally lacked any resemblance of balance in their playing XIs and is a constantly revolving door of players coming in and out of the side.

This has reflected fully in their successes (or lack of them in RCB’s case) in previous seasons. CSK have won 3 IPLs and have maintained ludicrous playoff qualifying consistency while RCB have gained 0 titles despite possessing the likes of Kohli and De Villiers.

This is merely one example of the bountiful of educational points that Wigmore and Wilde have incorporated to create a compelling masterclass on the art of building a T20 team.

However, one potential drawback from this book is the gargantuan amount of statistics that are included in Cricket 2.0. While this should be expected as Freddie Wilde is an acclaimed analyst for CricViz, some may feel that this detracts from the very experience of reading a book. However I believe that a plethora of stats is an absolute necessity to fully explain the numbers-dominated T20.

For those with the interest to discover plentiful about the latest evolution in our forever versatile game and open their eyes to the various strategies and tactics that adorn T20, Cricket 2.0 is the book for you!

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