Cricket is the second largest sporting event in the world that no one has heard of
The heading of this post might seem a aberration to viewers depending upon where they live on the planet. If you are someone form the subcontinent, you might find this heading somewhat outrageous afterall cricket has more than a billion viewers. Those on the other side of the spectrum, the one’s who know very little or none about this game, might be wondering “second largest sporting event in the world”? suspicious, might have to Google this one! Go and have a check, I am right here.
I am hoping you’re back again! Yup, Cricket is indeed the second largest sport in the world after Football off course. With over 2 billion fans spread across 180 countries, the numbers do tell a great deal about the immense popularity of the sport. The game is immensely popular in the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri-lanka), with a sizable following in the U.K, Australia & South-Africa and that’s pretty much all of it. We can say Cricket is densely popular rather than globally popular. The one’s that love the game, love it die hard, especially India, the country with over a billion people. Cricket and its players is somewhat sacred to this country, which justifies why 93% of all sports viewers in the country follow the game.
And then there is the money surrounding the game, cricket has suddenly become a profitable sport, especially the franchise version. But leaving all things aside, only a handful of countries are full time members of ICC (International Cricket Council). The prestigious 50 over World-Cup held every four years, fields only 12–16 teams, things go worse when we turn to other formats. So why hasn’t the world heard enough about this riveting, ever evolving game? Let’s dive right in to find some answers!
The struggle to get global recognition
Since its inception, Cricket or rather ICC (the international governing council) has strived harder and harder to attain global recognition. The history is long and beyond the scope of this article, so we will just focus on the root causes and recent scenarios. So, I need you to go back at the beginning of the article (2nd paragraph), and have a good look upon the countries I mentioned the game is popular in. Did you find it? No worries if you didn’t. Cricket is a sport which originated from South-England in the late 16th century. The countries you saw above were all once part of the British colonialism rule, and it is the Brits who introduced the game to them. So, Cricket is basically a colonial game.
On the other hand countries like China, Russia, Japan, and Germany which weren’t a British colony remained secluded from the game. These countries had absolutely no culture or idea about cricket. Hence, Cricket had very little exposure as a sport in the global community. Secondly, how would you even categorize a sport as an popular, globally established game? Yup by its history at the Olympics. We have to agree that the Olympics is arguably the biggest multi-sporting event in the world. Several countries strive to do their best at the Olympic games, because they consider it to be the ultimate sporting event. But sadly cricket has no relevant history at the Olympics, having been appeared only once in the history. And no Olympic appearance has meant limited spontaneity in the global stage, which has kept the game largely into the shadows.
Laws and Flaws — The great woe’s of Cricket
And lastly cricket is a lengthy and complicated game, with laws and not rules. For a first timer, you would have great difficulty understanding the game. The game is played in three formats, the longest being a Test Match, which lasts for five days. Would you imagine having a game for full five days between two teams, while still having to contain for a Draw — as a result. Thankfully we have other formats the OneDay format which lasts to about 7 hours. And the T20 format, which lasts about 3 hours, with no Draws obviously. So here you have it, the shortest format cricket has, takes 3 hours to get a result. That’s still two soccer games or three badminton games, or two tennis games at the same time.
Cricket in hindsight is a complex game, which requires specific infrastructures and resources for operating. The rules or rather laws might seem overwhelming for the audience. In addition to complex rules and lengthy time, sometimes weather conditions, ground conditions and toss play a too bigger role in the result of the match, which in some way is far from ideal in a sport.
Nobody gives a $h#t about Cricket, until ICC starts to broaden its vision
China, USA, Russia, and Japan, are the modern day sporting giants, who pour billions of dollars into their sporting culture. And Olympic medals is what they only care for, no medals, no investment. You can always have a look at China, and on how it poured billions in resources, to equip its athletes for Olympic games that were not inherently embedded in the Chinese culture. With that being said, ICC might be finding its feat in the right direction after all these years. Last year, ICC announced that it would be bidding for a place at the 2028, Los Angeles Olympics. In addition the governing board has taken some firm steps towards introducing the sport in USA.
The ICC believes that the inclusion of USA into the cricketing circuit would propel the game’s global reach even faster. Which is why the ICC has announced that USA would get its first major cricketing event in 2024, in the form of a twenty20 World-Cup. The U.S is already the fourth biggest market for cricket tv rights after India, Australia and England. And if all goes well, we might see the revival of cricket in Olympics after 128 years. But Cricket would need the other big boys as well, like China, Russia, Japan and other European Countries. So, yeah the next couple of decades are important for cricket and if things work out well, it won’t be long before Cricket, the second largest sporting event in the world becomes the First.
The Principal author of the blog Just Logically Speaking, Susanta Ray is an enthusiast for information and learning. He thrives in subjects related to Modern Technology, Science, History, Space, Finance and Global Affairs.
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