Necessity is the mother of
invention. The same tenet also
applies to the Twenty20 format
of cricket. The idea of a
shortened format of the game
at a professional level was
discussed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first in 1998 and then subsequently in 2001. When the Benson & Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one-day competition to fill its place.
The cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger
generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to
deliver fast paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by
the longer versions of the game. Stuart Robertson, the marketing manager of the ECB,
proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11-7
in favour of adopting the new format. A media group was invited to develop a name for
the new game and Twenty20 was the chosen title.
The first official Twenty20 matches were played on June 13, 2003 between a variety of
English counties in the Twenty20 Cup. The first Twenty20 game at Lord's was held on
July 15, 2004 between Middlesex and Surrey. It attracted a crowd of 26,500 - the
largest audience for any county cricket game other than a one-day final since 1953.
Since then, Twenty20 spread across the world with Australia and South Africa embracing
it before the other ICC Test playing nations. India was, in fact, among the last ICC Test
nation to adapt and adopt the Twenty20 format. The revolution truly began after India
won the inaugural World T20 Cup in South Africa in September, 2007.
The Indian Premier League was the league extraordinaire that took the world by storm.
The first season was held from April 18, 2008 to June 1, 2008. Underdogs Rajasthan
Royals, led by Shane Warne, pipped MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the final to
win the first title at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The eight-team tournament, based on regional loyalties, played each other two times on
a home and away basis. The tournament lasted for 46 runs with 59 matches scheduled,
out of which 58 took place and one was washed out due to rain.
The IPL also for the first time brought about an unique team and player auction system
that brought the best international cricketers with Indian players under one roof. Among
the top international cricketers who came to the party were Adam Gilchrist, Matthew
Hayden, Shaun Pollock, Shoaib Akhtar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Ricky Ponting. The total
prize money for the IPL was $ 3 million.