Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – From playing Cricket Max as a teenager to being a veteran plying his trade in T20 leagues these days, former New Zealand allrounder James Franklin has had first-hand experience of the shorter format’s transition in the last 20 years.
“When I first started my career a wee while ago, Cricket Max was the game and, really, from Cricket Max, T20 cricket evolved,” Franklin said to ESPNcricinfo. “Martin Crowe was the founding father of the short format.
T20 wasn’t the game he came up with but he came up with Max Cricket, reports ESPNcrickinfo.
“It was all double scores going straight, so that was the name of the game; you hit straight because that’s where you get full value for your team.
I think it helped New Zealand cricketers come to the fore in terms of T20 cricket as well. We learned how to play the shorter format, which is why I think there are many good T20 players from New Zealand.”
Franklin has built himself as a successful Kiwi export in other domestic competitions, particularly in T20s. In his second season for Rajshahi Kings in the BPL, Franklin has so far made 26 not out and 35, on both occasions looking to give his side a final flourish.
Having played his last international match in June 2013, Franklin has mostly played through the English summer and also in the T20 leagues back home in New Zealand and, BPL aside, in the IPL, CPL and PSL.
He said that adjusting to the team’s needs is one of the keys to being a T20 professional, to be able to understand the direction and dynamics of the group and then applying yourself as needed. It has become easier to fit into teams as he gets older, he said, because of his acquired experience.
“You just have to get a feel for the group you come into, and culturally what’s different about each team, trying to grasp and understand the culture of the team and buy into what the captain, coach and the leaders in that team are trying to do.
“Now being a more senior player, it is probably a bit easier to fit into a new team environment because you get experience of different teams through your career. I have had bit of experience playing in the subcontinent by playing in the IPL. A big part of my role now is to try to help the younger local players.”
Franklin believes T20s can help players overcome two of cricket’s fundamental problems: having a career outside international cricket, and playing better in overseas conditions.
“It is a global game now in terms of player movement. A lot of players can have their career now just playing T20s around the world. It is a true international game. I think we are seeing benefits with the skills that the players are being able to show in all conditions. We were used to seeing subcontinent players struggling in Australia or South Africa and vice versa. This is slowly being eradicated because players are spending more time in foreign conditions. They are used to playing on different surfaces so their skills get better. I think that has been the biggest thing to come out of it, I guess, the globalisation of the game of cricket.”
Franklin said that the next step in such player movements would be for more subcontinent players to take their talents to South Africa and Australia. “England players were allowed to play in the IPL. They [the ECB] see a benefit to letting them go play, because they learn skills, they are playing in high pressure situations. The next step is obviously for more Bangladeshi, Indian players to go and play in competitions in South Africa and Australia. Then it truly becomes a global game.”