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With An Even Shorter 10 Over Format, Where Is Cricket Heading?

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Years ago, when the closest form of contemporary cricket as a sport came into existence in the 19th century, it wasn’t just about big hits and boundaries, it signified something more.

Cricket was about strategy, the delicacy of on-field planning and most of all, persistence. We’ve come a long way since then, with the introduction of One Day Internationals (ODIs) first and then the T20s, bringing the sport into a different realm, with new brands of cricket being played and enjoyed.

Interestingly, cricket is now taking one more step. We are seeing the emergence of a newer and shorter version of cricket, the Ten10s. UAE is set to host a Ten10 league in December where the likes of Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi will grace the field. Spread over four days, Ten Cricket League will witness seven teams in action in Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

There is clearly a pattern here, the playtime of a game of cricket is being constantly reduced, from seven hours of ODIs to three hours of T20s to now 90 minutes of Ten10s. The larger question however, is, what does this perpetual trimming of cricket hold in store for the game, and most importantly, is it even necessary?

To understand this, we need to assess how world cricket is faring at the moment as compared to other sports. In India, there is no dearth of cricket fans. Cricket has a huge following here and is much loved to the extent that it looms large over the welfare of other sports.

Image Credit: Pankaj Nangia/India Today Group/Getty Images

While it remains a lucrative sport and money is flowing in from all side and the last decade has seen more cricket played than ever. The International Cricket Council (ICC) currently has 12 full-time members, of which Zimbabwe has shown only marginal improvement even after being in the fray for decades.

The ICC is making sincere efforts in promoting cricket in nations, hitherto untouched by it such as USA, Italy, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, through its associate membership but those efforts will take time to culminate into concrete results. Similar efforts in past recently culminated into addition of two new test playing nations, Afghanistan and Ireland.

ICC is also trying to revive the popularity of test matches by undertaking new measures, such as day-night Tests, and is receiving quite a good response as well. A record number of 3.19 million people watched the day-night test match played between New Zealand and Australia in 2015.

What cricket needs at this moment is an upsurge in the number of spectators and of participants. Shorter formats like T20s have been serving exactly that.

Test cricket, though still very much in fashion, is not attracting as many visitors as it used to do before, while T20s and the IPL are clocking up their highest viewership records. The T20 world cup in 2016 was watched by a total of 730 million people in India while the 10th edition of IPL saw an increase of 22.5% in its viewership.

Recent test series between India and Sri Lanka could only find 79429 impressions and finished below the Pro Kabaddi League in terms of viewership.

This pattern of data is primarily an echo of the lifestyles that we are leading. There are more distractions now, we have shorter attention spans and in our busy schedules, it is not a feasible option for most of us to watch five continuous days of cricket.

To this new age population, a workable option has to be presented, which comes in the package of T20 cricket. Now, the 10 over format, which is the length of a movie, seems to be a further step in catering to our new on-the-go lifestyles.

But apart from the duration and entertainment quotient, there is one more aspect of sports which is perhaps the most  important and that is its financial sustainability. Lesser number of spectators directly has an impact on financial stability of a sport and that is probably the most imminent danger to the survival of Test Cricket. T20s, on the other hand, with more viewership in its kitty means more profit for everyone from the players to the boards to the sponsors.

Obviously, it leads to a call for more T20 action from everyone involved. Ten10 cricket can also hope to cash in on the viewership. If we also put into consideration the fact that it brings back legends like Sehwag, Afridi (maybe even Tendulkar) to the game, there is a higher chance of it becoming very popular, really fast.

So, does this inevitable transition affect the integrity of the cricket? T20s have energised ODI cricket as we see more runs being made and higher targets being chased and Test cricket has always been a place to hone the skills and technique which are important for players in any format of the game.

Consequently, an equilibrium is established between these three formats at the moment. But introduction of a ten over format could disrupt this balance as it is unlikely that cricket will be able to bear the weight of managing one more format. Unless, of course, the boards decide to do away with one of the currently available formats.

Besides, this also calls for a balanced approach from both players and organising boards as too much cricket can lead to fatigue, injuries and a premature end of careers. All factors considered, it will be interesting to see how this transition pans out for cricket.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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