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The Twenty 20 Threat- Are We About Sport Or Money?

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By Fatima Zehra:

Test cricket is at a fragile juncture in its history. There is no doubt that Twenty20 is having an immense impact on the sport, however the major television rights deals, worth more than $1 billion each, are now for Twenty20 series formats such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Champions League Tournament and the International Cricket Council events, which includes the ICC World Twenty20. On the visage of it, the money is decent news for cricket, but there is a chief disadvantage. The fixture list has become ever more jam-packed and top players are opting for the money-spinning Twenty20 matches first. With the apparent T20 rage, concerns have risen that the longer form of the game would be squeezed out.

Players like Chris Gayle proclaimed that he “wouldn’t be so sad if Test cricket died out”. This leads us to the debate whether T2O domination is a threat to the oldest form of the game-Test cricket. Test cricket is like an art film which typically uses lesser-known film actors and modest sets to make films which emphasize on developing well written plot, intense characters whilst T20 is more like a mainstream masala movie with a hefty production budget, expensive special effects, full-on action, pricey celebrity actors and massive advertising campaigns.

Many former players like Michael Holding and Richard Hadley have voiced their concern that t20 may destroy the traditional test cricket. They believe that it’s novel, profitable, thriving and brings in enormous income. But the excess of it may inundate other forms of the game. Former West Indian captain and cricketing marvel, Clive Lloyd proclaimed that atrocious twenty 20 money endangered test cricket. Quoting the exemplar of the current West Indies team which is good in Twenty20 but has been under attack in Tests, Lloyd was of the view that the massive amount of money being paid in lucrative T20 tournaments is upsetting the time-honored format of the game.

We can say without disagreement that Test cricket is a better-off form of the game. One can have a fondness for Test cricket and still see the worth in the other formats of the game. And even if one favors Twenty20 to all cricket forms, it cannot be argued with the fact that Test cricket is more intricate, richer and deeper. A good score in a test match is always the most rewarding innings of a player’s career. He finds in himself the qualities of perseverance, stamina, concentration, discipline – in batting for longer hours and loads of minutes with barely a loose shot.

And this is what the Test cricket has to offer and the shorter forms don’t. Tests last longer. Assessment of character is more measured and more thorough. Although I completely agree that huge skill levels are needed to succeed in T20, recently in a match in Champions League, David Warner put up an amazing display of power-hitting. He made 135 not out off 69 balls which shows that batting in a t20 is not everyone’s cup of tea. But the point is that Test cricket is also about the mental side. Moreover, Test cricket has no limitations; the shorter forms have rules on field placements and on the number of overs a bowler can bowl. By characterization, Test cricket has more variation.

One-day cricket and Twenty20 were intended for instantaneous drama. Test cricket brings drama in a less rigid way. Like any epic entertainment, full-blown Test cricket varies in tone and tempo. Do I need to mention the anxiety and the sheer exhilaration of a test match which enters the 5th day, where more than one result is probable? It could be a team chasing a firm target, with the bowling side also in hound to get all 10 wickets, or it could be a bowling team on peak looking to get the opponent out, but the batting side battling for survival and playing for a draw — the tension, the thrill is often incredible.

Many supporters of t20 cricket propose that the format has regenerated interest in the game. But, and here is the vital part, cricketing authorities must make sure the Test format benefits significantly from this growth. I think that cricket’s authorities have to be innovative – and proactive – in introducing the Test game to the next generation. Many people even float the proposal of a quadrennial Test cricket World Cup as a way of enlivening global interest in the format. If Test cricket is the brand of cricket we want people to identify the game by then we have to put a slight more money into it so players are better paid.

Lastly, I would point to a problem that bothers a lot of cricket purists. Where are the youngsters going to come from to play Test cricket? Today we see the young guns that just come and try to hit, it’s not the game we know since decades. I am not asking to stop Twenty20; my point is that the format should not be promoted at the cost of the Test cricket. There should not be an unhealthy contest between the formats. The challenge for administrators is to get that equilibrium so that all can coexist jointly. If players and spectators start turning their backs on Test cricket that would be a great disgrace. This is because Test cricket can deliver what no other team sport can: drama to absorb us for a couple of months on end.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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