Cricket’s seemingly never-ending quest to attract new fans has led to the launch of yet another competition, with Chris Gayle the face of ‘The 6ixty’.
If you thought England’s ‘The Hundred’ competition was about as foreign to traditional long-form cricket as you could possibly get, think again.
The 6ixty, to be staged at Warner Park on the West Indies island of St Kitts & Nevis over five days in August, is being trumpeted as “cricket’s power game” and introduces the exclusion of fielders as a punishment for slow over rates, random free hits voted for by the public, and an additional power play for hitting sixes early and often.
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In a video released by the competition overnight, arguably Twenty20 cricket’s greatest player of all-time, West Indies icon Gayle, explains how the carnival will work.
Take it away, Universe Boss.
“The 6ixty, a brand new format that will bring cricket fans closer to the action,” Gayle begins after screaming ‘Bring it on!’
“Six wickets per team and 60 balls per innings.
“You’re against the clock. Bowl too slowly and you lose a fielder.
“There will be 30 balls from one end and then 30 from the other.
“Hit two sixes in the first 12 balls, you will unlock a third power play over.
“Think your team needs extra runs? No problem! Fans will vote for when a mystery ball (free hit) will happen.
“The games will be played back-to-back with six men’s teams and three women’s teams fighting it out.
“It’s powerful, it’s fast, it’s my type of cricket.”
While it may be Gayle’s “type of cricket” it certainly won’t be everyone’s and it further congests an already choc-a-bloc schedule following the recent announcement that the IPL will be expanded thanks to a bonkers $8 billion new broadcast deal.
The 6ixty’s announcement was met with plenty of reaction, much of it mocking the “innovations” in the rules. To many, the outrageous success of the IPL has created a monster, yet where there’s huge money being splashed on cricket’s biggest stars, the eyeballs are bound to follow.
Dan Whiting, a leading cricket blogger and author warned that franchise cricket “will ruin the sport eventually”.
That doomsday scenario is a long way off yet, if it indeed ever arrives. In the meantime we await the list of names willing to play Gayle’s “type of cricket” for five days in return for a holiday on an island paradise and buckets of cash.
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