Sydney, Jan.17 (ANI): Former Australian Test captain Steve Waugh has said that Twenty20 cricket is set to explode in popularity and shake Australian cricket to its core as crowds flock to the domestic Big Bash tournament.
Waugh's appraisal came as a bumper crowd of 43,125 attended the MCG on Friday night for Victoria's clash with Tasmania, smashing the previous record of 29,743 for a NSW-Queensland match.
Since the start of the Big Bash tournament on December 28, more than 250,000 fans have surged through the turnstiles to watch state cricketers accustomed to playing in front of 500 people at Sheffield Shield matches.
"That crowd at the MCG was incredible and, for me, it shows Twenty20 cricket is about to take off in Australia," the Sunday Telegraph quoted Waugh, as saying.
"It's the game that people want to go and watch, it's great entertainment and in this time-poor society it's just the spectacle people want to see. I personally think it's exciting. People just want to see action, results ... they want sixes, fours, great catching and Twenty20 gives you that. It is pure entertainment," he added.
While adamant the 50-over format still has a legitimate place in the game, Waugh concedes Twenty20 cricket could overtake it as a new generation of fans embrace the abridged version.
"It's going to be a big hit. It's a bit like the 50-over game in the 1980s. People weren't sure about what the game meant and then they realised what it could bring financially, the new audiences it creates and the different countries that wanted to play. Twenty20 will go from strength to strength now, as long as we don't get too carried away and want to watch it every day of the week," Waugh said.
"I still think 50-over cricket will survive, it requires different skills and it's a different style altogether.
We'll wait and see, but Twenty20 is homing in on one-day cricket and maybe in 12 months we can reassess it all," he added. (ANI)