The cricket arena is developing a growing popularity of short format matches such as T20 cricket, making the phenomenon of instant gratification more relevant than ever before. Whether or not you buy in to the view that test match cricket is obsolete and arguably holding the game back, it’s clear that there has most certainly been a recent shift in the way that the game is played.
The discoveries of a 2017 survey suggested that T20 cricket was more popular than the FA Cup and whilst this could be to a limited extent ascribed to the general disquietude related with the competition, cricket overthrowing football in any way, shape or form looked next to impossible 10 or 15 years ago.
In theory, there is no reason why test cricket and the shorter format games shouldn’t have the capacity to co-exist but the problem lies with the players sparing themselves for the latter and not wanting to risk burnout. Since the turn of the century, cricket has moved towards a more entertainment-based approach in a bid to attract a new demographic of followers and shift tickets. The proof suggests that this has worked however to the detriment of test match cricket and there is a growing concern amongst cricket enthusiasts that some of the more promising players are now picking the more lucrative forms of the game over the longer formats due to the lure of the IPL and other similar competitions.
Although the IPL rewards the very best players with handsome salaries, the competition only lasts a few weeks and in comparison, to other sports it is clear that cricket is being left behind. Traditionally games such as snooker and darts are rapidly increasing their fanbases and prize money, whilst sports which have always been full of money such as tennis, golf and football are always adding to their ever-swelling wallets with corporate giants such as Barclays and BMW putting their money forward. When it comes to attracting new players to any sport, the harsh reality is that most young prospective talents are driven by a desire to be rich and famous as opposed to simply enjoying the sport and this is surely in part down to our newfound fascination with the concept of celebrity.
When it comes to prospecting sporting careers for most young people, cricket is usually at the bottom of the pile. To make the sport more attractive, the more unpredictable and explosive stars need to be given as much coverage as possible for all of his recent controversy, players such as Ben Stokes who bring a new dimension to the game apparently do more good than harm when it comes to the future of the sport.
Thankfully, the changing attitudes towards cricket aren’t entirely negative and this can be seen with the giant strides that the women’s game has made in the recent years. Women’s cricket is on the rise and the added coverage from Sky Sports is helping the game of Cricket become a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone. In addition to this, cricket is helping eliminate the barriers of sexism in countries such as India which can only be seen as a positive and the introduction of more young women into the sport could help rejuvenate the stalling junior game. Men’s cricket has had enough time in the sun and pretty soon, it could be the women’s time to shine.
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