Innovations in The 6IXTY made a lot of sense: Coach Malolan

The 6IXTY, a T10 tournament referred as ‘Cricket’s Power Game’, is a joint venture of the Cricket West Indies and the Caribbean Premier League.
Malolan Rangarajan with The 6IXTY trophy
Malolan Rangarajan with The 6IXTY trophy

Involved in a superstar duel with ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle of St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Trinbago Knight Riders all-rounder Andre Russell, who was ready to steam in, sank to his knees. Curious to know why? It was because of something he had no control over – the fan-deciding ‘Mystery Free Hit’, one of many innovations in the inaugural edition of The 6IXTY which concluded recently. The 6IXTY, a T10 tournament referred as ‘Cricket’s Power Game’, is a joint venture of the Cricket West Indies and the Caribbean Premier League. Among a few Indians to have experienced it firsthand was Malolan Rangarajan, an assistant coach of SKN Patriots that went on to clinch the crown. In an interview to DT Next, Malolan shared his thoughts on The 6IXTY, the first season, the unique experience and more.


On the first edition of The 6IXTY

I am not saying these things just because I was involved in the competition with SKN Patriots. A lot of innovations have been made in tournaments like the Big Bash League (Australia) and The Hundred (England). Everyone has pushed the envelope a bit. But, of all the innovations that have come through, the ones in The 6IXTY have made a lot of sense and created a positive optic for the sport.

On the innovations

For example, let us look at unlocking the third powerplay over. Interestingly, in the entire tournament, the third powerplay over was unlocked only in six innings. One would have thought it would have been far easier to do that. In T10 tournaments in the rest of the world, you have 10 wickets per innings. Here, it is only six wickets, so the way you approach an innings is completely different. Another thing I liked a lot is the removal of a fielder [in the last over] for slow over-rate. Making do with the net run rate was another brilliant move. Number of sixes hit is the tie-breaker [when teams have the same points at the end of the first round]. If there is a tie even in that, the number of wickets taken will come into consideration.

On whether The 6IXTY is entirely batter-oriented

Yes, it is. I think that innovations should be brought in for the bowlers as well, especially when we have things like the extra powerplay over and the ‘Mystery Free Hit’. We need to come up with something for the bowlers to make it a level-playing field. Eliminating the leg-bye would make a lot of sense because the bowler clearly beats the batter.

On adapting to the format as a coach

Cricket has come to a stage where a coach’s involvement is very important, especially from a strategic point of view. [During the tournament], we just talked about which end to start from, who our bowlers would be and the period in which we wanted to use them. It (The 6IXTY) is not very different from the T20s. It is just a lot more fast-paced.

On the overall experience

It was quite nice. We are very happy to have ended up as the inaugural 6IXTY champion. That is the standard we set at SKN Patriots. I am glad to be part of this franchise.

On the popularity of The 6IXTY/T10 cricket

As and when a format like this is exposed to crowds and a larger TV audience, it will pick up. This is really fun. The match gets done in about 100 minutes. There is a future for this.

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