T20 will replace 50-over game: Pietersen

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London, Jun 15 (UNI) Stating that Twenty20 has brought in unprecedented money and exposure for players, explosive England batsman Kevin Pietersen said the shorter format of the game will replace 50-over cricket in the coming days.

''I do think Twenty20 will be the new form of One-day cricket, for sure,'' Pietersen said in a television interview yesterday on the eve of England's ODI series against New Zealand. ''I reckon in the next couple of years, 50 overs is probably going to be something of the past.'' Pietersen was also of view that Twenty20 is gaining in popularity day by day and it is on the tip of commentators and cricket players' tongues all around the world.

He also thinks that the standard one-day game now lasts between seven and eight hours and the pinnacle is the World Cup every four years. The 50-over format is getting tired, while the shorter timeframe for Twenty20 is gaining in popularity.

''I don't think the 50-over game has had its day yet,'' he said.

''But I think in terms of everything going on now with Twenty20, the financial rewards the players get, and the tournaments coming up and the interest created and the audience it grabs, then maybe so in a couple of years. Not right now _ but in a couple of years.

''What Twenty20 will do is speed up all parts of cricket because guys are going out there to entertain, to score a lot quicker.'' Referring to Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's move to launch a 20 million winner-take-all Twenty20 match between England and a West Indies XI, to be played every November for five years, Pietersen asserted that this revolutionary step will increase the popularity of cricket in England and will also explore new markets for the game across the globe.

''It is one of those situations where Twenty20 could filter into America. I see Allen Stanford has mentioned that as well and I believe that can happen.'' ''It is positive for cricket. It is getting front and back-page coverage in the papers. The last time we saw that was when we won that amazing series against Australia three years ago,'' he said.

However, despite the lot of money pouring in the shorter version of the game Pietersen said that he will give priority to play Test cricket adding that he might prefer to play in the lucrtaive Indian Premier League (IPL) instead of stanford match because the IPL gives a more regular job unlike the proposed T20 match of Texas billionare.

''Will the Stanford deal make it more or less likely I will go to the IPL? That Stanford game, I see it as an absolute bonus for an England player,'' he said. ''It will be a great occasion but it is a one-off fixture this year and if we lose, we come home with a tour fee.

''In contrast, the IPL money is guaranteed in terms of what you do. The Stanford game we will treat with as high a regard as we can but, if we walk away having lost, then we can say it was just a bonus because he could have chosen anybody.'' UNI XC RKM AB RAI1544

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