Cricket is a game which was “invented” if you may call it by the English. But today more than the English playing it, it has become a game of Asians, by Asians and for Asians. India has become the center of this game not because of the way the Indians play, but because of the financial muscle they have. If one were to believe the “romantic” view of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Cricket as a sport is played in more than 100 countries including Germany, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. It has three sets of recognition affliate, associate and full member. Only 12 nations are full members. That speaks of where we stand today in terms of numbers. To top it all, at least 50% of the players in the associate and affliate nations are of Asian origin? So is cricket really as popular as we think?
India is by far the most watched team in the world today. They play more than 50 One Day Internationals (ODI) every year. Over that add about 10-15 test matches and not to forget around 10 T20 games. Over that there is a 50 over World Cup every four years, a T20 World Cup every two years and also a Champions Trophy (50 overs) very frequently. Then add the Ranji trophy games, Champions League and the biggest of them all – The Indian Premier League (IPL). IPL is by far the biggest cricket tournament in the world attracting hundreds of players from different countries just because of one thing – MONEY! Does one really watch so much cricket? Isnt so much cricket crazy? Ok as an Indian yes probably. But to be truthful other than the so called purists, most of us including me are bored of the 50 over game as well as tests. Whether it spoils the game or players no one cares. Everyone today wants to watch just T20.
How many people watched the recent Asia Cup, Micromax Cup (featuring Lanka, India and Zimbabwe) or are watching South Africa play against West Indies? I am sure the number will be in just about hundred or so other than probably the finals or the India vs Pakistan match. The crux of the problem is too much cricket. The people who run the game havent played the game at all. They think if the public loves one game, give it more and more to them. That’s a really sad philospohy to live on.
But the silver lining is the Eng vs Aussie ODI series being held currently. So the problem is not exactly too much cricket. The problem is actually having meaningless matches just to get TV audiences and sponsors and in turn more and more money.
There have been many solutions suggested about using coloured balls in Tests, having two innings of 25 overs or such. Unless something is done fast, the number of people keen in cricket will go down more and more. Probably not us Indians, but surely others.
Then we also wouldnt get the opportunity of saying that Cricket is the world’s 2nd most watched sport. 😛