Cricket West Indies unveils new tournament; Purists Say Too Many Innovations

IANS

St. John’s (Antigua), June 24

Cricket West Indies’ (CWI)’s decision to unveil a new tournament called ‘The 6ixty’ in August has left the cricketing world divided, with purists questioning the need for the new format.

West Indies legend Chris Gayle is the brand ambassador of the tournament. On Thursday (IST), CWI announced the new tournament with a video of Gayle promoting the event on social media. CWI tweeted, “New tournament, new rules. Here’s The Universe Boss @henrygayle telling you how 6IXTY takes the excitement to another level and gets you even closer to the action. #The6ixty #CricketsPowerGame # 6ixtyCricket #CPL22,” tweeted CWI.

The tournament will be jointly organized by CWI and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). It will be in T10 format and will take place before the new CPL season.

While the tournament is reportedly a variant of T10 cricket, it will have several innovations, including the introduction of ‘mystery free hits’, said a report by Mirror.co.uk.

“Given the name, the tournament has drawn inevitable comparisons to The Hundred (in England),” the report said.

In the short video posted on social media, Gayle described ‘The 6ixty’ as “my kind of cricket”, and called it “an entirely new format that brings cricket fans closer to the action”. As per the rules, each side will have six wickets and hitting two sixes in the first two overs can unlock the third power-play over.

“The first 30 balls will be bowled from one end, while the last 30 will be bowled from the other end. If teams do not bowl their overs quickly, they will lose a fielder for the last over,” the report said.

“And the mystery-free hit allows supporters to decide when the ball will be bowled such that the batsman cannot be dismissed.” Ricky Skerritt, head of CWI, called it a truly exciting innovation packed with entertainment.

One cricket fan unhappy with so many innovations tweeted, “Stop changing cricket!!! This is seriously the craziest thing ever. It feels like a completely different game. I’m in for a new game or code.” But let’s not pretend it’s cricket”.

Former Lancashire and South Australia player Joe Scuderi called it a “full load *** without adulteration”, while another fan called it exciting. “Sounds exciting”, he said.