Is Cricket a "True" International Sport

As the other sports forums seem to have taken old to some respect, well here is a cricket forum. NOTE: This forum will be heavily moderated and can be revoked at any time is discussions go out of hand.

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Cricket is a world sport.

Poll runs till Mon Jul 11, 2039 5:28 am

Completly Agree
4
24%
Agree
0
No votes
Close Call
3
18%
Disagree
7
41%
Completly Disagree
1
6%
DONT CARE: stupid argument & thanks vkd for creating a sepereate thread i can ignore
2
12%
 
Total votes: 17

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Is Cricket a "True" International Sport

Postby jayakris » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:27 pm

Yeah, I would vote for cricket as the most popular sport in India.

For most measures one can think of, for popularity, cricket will win. Comparing it with other games are like comparing an apple with oranges though. Football will probably get a bigger crowd, depending on the match, in Goa or Kolkata or even some places in Kerala than any cricket match involving motsly Indians. An OD International involving the Indian team, say in Kochi may get a bigger crowd than any club football match in Kochi, but by the same token the Indian football team playing an international in Kochi may get a bigger crowd than for an ODI too.

Can't compare the staidum crowd in cricket to other sports, because it is a 7 hour affair, at least 4 hours longer than any other sports out there. In addition, ODIs are always on TV and with no local TV blackouts put in place in India (unlike in say American football matches in the US), the crowd number is a completely erroneous thing in cricket. Try playing an India-England ODI in Kolkata with all TV blacked out for the whole city and you will see 100K showing up in Eden Garden if the ticket rates aren't way too exorbitant. On the other hand, no Ranji trophy match (unless at least 5-6 of the test stars are playing) will get a 25000+ crowd in Kolkata, Goa, Kochi, Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai, even when it is not on TV. A good domestic football club match which might bring out such a crowd in some of the places. Again the 2.5 hours vs 7 hours comparison makes it tougher to gauge.

Ticket rates is the next issue. Cricket matches cost a whole hell of a lot more than football matches I assume. That is also a reason for the crowd being lesser. So, while what the football supporters like Trinanjans say is true about football filling up stadiums in some instants, it is a bad comparison.

As for my own feelings, I love cricket, but hate all the misinformation that is fed to Indian people who think that we are really good in a "world sport" and that we are really proving anything about our sports prowess through beating up Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa or England in cricket. These are really not any great achievements and we are doing it only because native people in countries who are anywhere in sports/athletics are not playing cricket (ie, except possibly Australia, nobody in countries which get more than say 5 or 6 Olympics medals play this game). I do consider it, for the same reason, an achievement to beat Australia where it is at least a top-3 sport and a few good sportsmen there do play cricket. Baseball is similar but at least one country with some serious sports pedigree considers it one of their top-3 sports, so we have to give at least that to baseball. For the same reason, kids in many countries with historical US influence think highly enough about baseball and take to it. That doesn't happen in cricket. So, sadly, a great game is basically not taken seriously by the world.

The balme rest with England, Australia, etc who did not take the proper steps to make it a worldwide game a few decades back. A 30-over limited 4 hour version of the game should have been started in earnest in the 1950s and youth leagues should have been established everywhere. Imagine "world school cricket championships" finals being held in Montreal or Singapore or Rome in the 60s and 70s. None of that happened. Now the problem is compunded by the fact that India is being viewed as the ccash-cow for world cricket. Keeping Indian fans misinformed about what exactly is the standing of the game in the world outside of about 8 countries, is the ulterior motive behind everything. We can scream till the cows come home about the "world-wide" viewership for world cup and all that, and even get cocky saying "why should we care about the world? does US care how the world views their baseball", etc etc, but the fact remains that a great game is being confined to basically the subcontinent and the cities of Australia because of all our ill-informed attitudes towards cricket.

Jay

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Postby Red_Indian » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:49 pm

I think the reason that there are no local "black outs" for international cricket matches in India (even Australia does that for cricket) is because tickets for all internation cricket matches (atleast ODIs) are lapped up before you can say "Excuse me, is this..." and boom.. the tickets are gone.

I am yet to hear of a ODI in India (in the last 5-7 years atleast) that wasn't sold out within a couple of hours of tickets going on sale.

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Postby mugu » Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:35 pm

Agree with Red_Indian that there is no need to have a TV black-out for ODIs since tickets get sold out in hours. In a country where the Govt machinery was forced to usurp the television rights from an independent private company, against all cannons of justice, fairplay and convention, in the recent India-Pakistan series for the sake of the millions of crazy fans, where is the question of blacking out telecasts. Unless you want to have riots everywhere?
Will, however, differ slightly with Jay here about the choice of the contestants. India vs England might not be a big draw in Kolkata. Not houseful in Eden Gardens. Depends, how the build-up is; England in the present mood, after some more success, comes to India. Maybe yes. Not the same as India-Australia, India-Pakistan, however.
Kochi or any other city in Kerala will have a houseful for an ODI. Any day, any team, barring Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. An international football match may also draw almost the same amount of crowds. Kerala is no longer what it was, say 20 years ago. Now it is as crazy as the rest of the country about cricket, though, luckily, it keeps its interests alive for all kinds of sport, from volleyball and athletics to football and basketball.
Ranji Trophy matches, even with a dozen Test stars, might not attract 25,000 crowd anywhere. Maybe in a place where they haven't seen international cricket at all. That too doubtful. A few years ago, a Delhi-Bombay match drew around 10,000 in Delhi. Years ago, a Delhi-Karnataka match drew a bigger crowd.
Goa, Bengal, Kerala might still attract good crowds for football. Not all matches, but say, East Bengal v Mohun Bagan, East Bengal v Salgaocar (in Goa). The EB-MB match in the NFL drew around 60,000-plus in Kolkata yesterday. But that is becoming a rarity nowadays.
I am also exactly of the same opinion as Jay, about too much being said of cricket being a world-wide sport etc. But to put a record straight, Britain won 28 medals in the last Olympics, including 11 golds (Australia had 58 including 16 golds).
I will also vote for cricket being the `most popular sport in India'. By a mile, that is. But then, if asked to give my preference of favourite sports, football will come first, then athletics, then a few more and then cricket. My dislike for cricket is simply based on the assumption that it has practically killed the other sports in our country. People will argue that it is up to the administrators to sell their sport. It doesn't happen here simply because no company wants to put the kind of money that they want to put in cricket. To site just one example, one Korean eletronics giant which is sponsoring a few prominent Indian sportspersons for the Athens Olympics is putting in one crore for that purpose. They had Rs 60 crores for just the publicity build-up towards the India-Pakistan cricket series. How to sell other sport in this world of cricket-dominated market? You get peanuts for other sport. I remember an Asian junior athletics championships some years ago in Delhi being sponsored for Rs 5 lakhs! This doesn't mean that cricket's popularity should wane or people should ignore cricket. This is their love and let people enjoy. After all, barring the orchestrated `feel good' factor, what does an average Indian have to enjoy in his day to day life, bar the occasional win over Pakistan?

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Postby BSharma » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:56 pm

I have enjoyed reading the comments of the forum members on the subject of football versus cricket, and what does the world ranking of the Indian cricket team means.

Here are my thoughts on this subject:

- When I was young my father used to tell me that I should be the best in what I want to do in life. I think he half-jokingly even said that if I want to be a "bad" person I should be the best. I am glad that I did not listen to my father and become a "bad" person but I also did not become the best in what I do :( . The moral of the story is that becoming the best is important, and what field you choose to excel is secondary (bad is still bad and I am not proposing that someone become a "bad" person). I am happy if Indian golfers, athletes, squash players, tennis players, hockey players, cricketers, wrestlers, weight lifters, shooters, etc become world champions some day. Winning in squash means you are the best even though fewer people play this game compared to tennis. But a champion is a champion. Ask the people who are world #1 in any sport and they will tell you how difficult it is to move from # 2 to #1. Vijay Singh has been working his tail off but remains #2 to Tiger Woods. If the Indian cricket team is doing well and is moving towards becoming the best in the world, let us be happy for the players and not belittle them by saying that only few nations play the game seriously. Comparing different sports is like comparing apples and oranges; the main point is to be the best apple or the best orange.

- Newspapers, TV, magazines, etc play a big role in generating fan interest. Once again, let us not fault Sachin, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, etc if they are hogging the lime light; it is the media people who are putting them on the pedestal and ignoring deserving sports people in other disciplines.

- There are many reasons why one sport is more popular than another one world wide. Football is popular because it is easy to learn, does not need fancy equipment, the rules are simple and easy to follow, and it is a great spectator sport. Sports like golf, squash, shooting, archery, etc will never become as popular as football all over the world although they may have a large following in some region of the world.

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Postby PKBasu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:13 am

Jay's continuing assertion that cricket is not an important sport in any country that wins more than 5-6 Olympic medals is simply wrong.
One good measure of the interest in (and importance of) a sport in a country is the importance given to it in the country's leading newspapers. Here's the sports section from today's Daily Telegraph in the UK (on a day on which England isn't playing an international fixture):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.j ... stid=46534
The featured sports, of course, are football and cricket. All other sports (the two forms of rugby, motor sports, snooker, etc.) are given less importance. I know from experience that even the leading Edinburgh paper, the Scotsman, covers cricket avidly (second only to football). And the Telegraph has SIX cricketers among its sports columnists, and a total of EIGHT columnists who have cricket as their staple contribution.

And today's Johannesburg Mail & Guardian leads off its sports-page with a cricket story, although the local domestic season is over and the national side isn't playing international cricket at the moment:
http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l2_s.asp?sa=5

Similarly, during the Australian summer (now over) cricket leads coverage on the sports pages of all the major Australian newspapers -- although the coverage has a decidedly Australian tone to it. When I was in Perth last October, for instance, the radio waves were full of commentary from the likes of Greg Chappell about the upcoming cricket season, and the impending arrival of the Indian team. News from the world of cricket still makes it into the Aussie papers even during their off-season.

I would say, again, to Jay that there is no need to be so defensive about your (and our) interest in cricket. Every nation has a right to its favourite sport. For India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka it happens to be cricket. Although football and basketball are making inroads, cricket is also the favourite sport in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. It is among the top 3 sports in Australia, Britain, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. It gives great pleasure to large numbers of people around the world. Every day of the India-Australia tests was sold out -- after the first test in Brisbane. If people are willing to take a break from work to sit in a stadium for 5 days of cricket, they must be pretty committed fans. Unfortunately, only Kolkata now has a full house for test matches, but any stadium in India will fill out for an ODI (often even if it involves Zimbabwe; I remember one of the latter in Guwahati with a full house, and the Eden Gardens was also full for an India A versus Pakistan A match in December, despite the fact that the game was also being shown on Doordarshan).

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Postby jayakris » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:13 am

PKB - I am not disagreeing with anything you are saying. I think you and I know pretty well cricket stands in the world. I am only saying that Indian cricket fans seems to be getting a warped idea of the importance of cricket as a world sport, from the newspaper coverage. Not that it is not a significant and very important sport in a few places in the world.

I had not checked how many medals Britain had in the last Olympics. I suppose I should consider them a country of bigger sports prowess than I give them credit for (but then I again I don;t give them credit for anything; that is just my nature and attitude towards Britain :)) ..

Interestingly one country's cricket covergae that has surprised me a bit is Thailand. The Bangkok Post occasionally has cricket articles and what always surprises me is how they write the articles as though the readers all know a lot of cricket!

Jay

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Postby PKBasu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:36 am

Indeed, both the Bangkok Post and The Nation (Thailand's two top newspapers) have ample coverage of cricket. But that is simply because these are English newspapers that cater to the large legion of expatriates in Thailand: locals mainly read the Thai papers, and only a few of the elite read the English-language dailies. Thailand has a cricket team, but it comprises mainly expatriates from England, Australia, India, etc. -- and the occasional Thai who went to school in England or India (my own old school, St Paul's Darjeeling, as well as the likes of St George's Mussoorie, used to attract quite a few Thais; the Thais were noticeably good at football and some at tennis; hardly any of them played much cricket...).

Similarly, the Japan Times has a bit of coverage of cricket (because it too is read mainly by English-speaking expatriates, although more Americans than Britishers I suspect). The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) of course provides lots of cricket coverage, although the local league has very few Chinese playing in it -- instead dominated as usual by expats from normal cricket-playing countries or Hong Kong-born Indians/Englishmen etc.).

On a different note, however, I myself was surprised to find that even the New Zealand papers' sports pages lead off with cricket. For instance, here's today's Dominion Post (btw, shouldn't they change that name???):
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpo ... 33,00.html

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Postby PKBasu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:43 am

On attitudes to Britain, Jay, you and I are in complete agreement :) . (That's partly why I can't get too excited about Arvind Parmar...). Britain's role in creating messes in virtually every part of the world shouldn't go unpunished or at least remarked-upon and exposed... The book I'm working on (too slowly for my liking) should help to expose their (and especially Churchill's) dastardliness.
But unfortunately they are a reasonably successful sporting nation. Cricket ( in the last 25 years) and tennis (in the last 65) are notable exceptions. Remember Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, etc.?

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Postby jayakris » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:49 am

Yes, I have noticed the South China Morning Post having quite a biut of cricket coverage.. Singapore Strait Times also has some coverage.

I once found a cricket article even in De Volkskrantsz online from Amsterdam. That was during the world cup time. I had never noticed any cricket in that newspaper and was surprised at that. It is really very rare to find any circket in the European newspapers.

The Toronto Sun did have a couple of articles on cricket during the world cup -- both basically talking about how canadians had no clue about there being a Canadian national team at the cricket world cup.

(By the way, till about 3-4 years back I used to keep up a big page of tennis articles links from world newspapers and used to go through some 50-100 newspaper sites every morning --- it took up so much of time that I stopped it after a few months .... That is how I know about world newspapers) ..

Jay

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Postby PKBasu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:08 am

The Toronto Globe & Mail does carry some cricket scores, as I remember from my trips there, but rarely has articles. The International Herald Tribune (owned now by the NYT) has quite good cricket coverage now, with an excellent writer called Huw Richards who covers cricket (and occasionally rugby) for them. International score updates are regularly provided too.
One problem that a lot of cricket coverage in non-cricket countries suffers from is not knowing what to cover. The English county championship scores often make it into the IHT and the Toronto paper, rather than international fixtures. This appears to come from the US sports tradition, where the focus is on city club teams rather than the national side. So American papers seem to be able to relate to English and European soccer (with its club system) but haven't figured out what to cover in cricket. There are a growing number of Indians, Brits, Australians, etc. on Wall Street, for instance -- as well as in Silicon Valley. So there is a clientele for cricket in the US.

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Postby sunnyd » Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:57 am

Both the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail carry scores. There is a large subcontinental population in Toronto (one of the largest in North America).

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Postby PKBasu » Fri Apr 30, 2004 2:24 pm

In one of the great ironies of post-imperial history, cricket has finally united Ireland. It is perhaps the only sport in which a united Ireland fields a team (and has for decades). Next year, a united Ireland is to host the ICC trophy, the qualifying tournament for the 2007 World Cup.
http://www.cricketeurope.org/SCRIPTDATA ... 0535.shtml

Delicious irony -- and a fitting if belated (81 years too late!) rebuff to Britain's imperial policy of Divide et Impera (or its departure policy of Partition Before Leaving).
Note Ireland's international cricket grounds are both in the British-occupied north and the independent south of Ireland.
http://www.cricketeurope.org/IRELAND/FE ... bout.shtml

Also interesting are these scores from the 2002 European cricket championship, hosted by Ireland (although all the matches were played in Northern Ireland -- ie, in British territory):
http://www.cricketeurope.org/ECC/DATABA ... bout.shtml

The interesting thing here is that, apart from a smattering of subcontinental names, all these teams are authentically European. Check out the Italians, Danes, Dutch, etc. who make up the vast majority of their national cricket teams.

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Postby mugu » Sat May 01, 2004 4:06 am

Interesting observations by Michael Ferreira:
http://www.hindu.com/2004/05/01/stories ... 812000.htm

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Postby PKBasu » Wed Jun 02, 2004 2:59 am

After software, China now welcomes India's guidance/assistance in cricket:
http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2004/jun/01china.htm

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Postby gurjeet singh » Fri Jun 11, 2004 5:12 am

hi ,

I think that Cricket should be banned in India.
SO that Hockey , the national game can be given its lost glory which it has lost with the advent of cricket in india.

:goodluck:


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