In the second episode of Wisden and CricViz‘s The Greatest T20 podcast, former West Indies captain Daren Ganga opened up on why the decision to forge a career as a T20 specialist is a no-brainer for quite a few cricketers.
Ganga was in conversation with Freddie Wilde, CricViz analyst and co-author of Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution and host Yas Rana about the greatest T20 side to have played the game.
The West Indies T20I side, with two T20 World Cup wins within four years in 2012 and 2016, is the only team to lift the trophy on more than one occasion. They’ve had multiple players — Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, among others — who modified their game to suit the shortest format of the sport.
Ganga, while emphasising that these players would have excelled in the longer formats as well, explained why many decide to specialise in T20s. “There is no doubt that these guys (Russell, Narine and Pollard) are talented in terms of skillset required to play across formats,” said Ganga. “Like anything else in life, if you dedicate your time, your resources, and you train with a unity of focus in something, you would be able to achieve a fair amount of success.
“So if there wasn’t T20 cricket, I still think a guy like Andre Russell or Sunil Narine would have played international cricket for the West Indies, in the 50-over format and even in Test cricket as well. Their focus would have shifted in that area.
“Human instinct will tell you that if that opportunity [to] earn 10 times the amount of money by putting 10 times less wear and tear on your body, that’s the decision that you will make without batting an eyelid. That is what I think has been the case with a lot of cricketers, not only in the West Indies but across the globe.
“With T20 cricket you realise that it’s not just about playing T20Is for your national team. There are so many opportunities for players now. Players who don’t even go on to play international cricket, they’re playing in T20 franchise competitions all across the globe and making a living out of it.”