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The Changing Face of Cricket

The face of cricket has changed worldwide in last decade or so—especially in a country where cricket is nothing less than a religion. If you have watched cricket in 90s and in early 2000s, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The thrill of those day-night Sharjah matches; the excitement of triangular series; the continues roar of fans in a jam-packed stadiums; and of course, the non-stop playing of a cricketing anthem ‘Come on India Dikha Do’ in every corner of a cricket crazy nation. I’m talking about days when every match, whether it was India Vs Pakistan or India Vs Zimbabwe, was much awaited by every fan in India. I’m talking about the time when Cricket was nothing but a pure, simple ‘cricket’.

The score of 300 was rare in those days; nobody dared to hit six 6s in an over; there was no power-play, no free-hit, and no T20, yet the love and level of excitement for the game within cricket fans seemed much greater than it is today.
If you are a true cricket crazy fan who happen to be in comma for last 15 years and were to wake up to watch an IPL game, at first it will appear as if the game has conquered the world. The presence of entire bollywood film industry and business tycoons in the pavilion will suggest to you the extent to which cricket fever has spread. Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty, and oh my goodness! Even Mallyas and Ambanis now can’t live without cricket! The colorful jerseys, gorgeous cheerleaders, loud music, hot-shot spectators, and young and new looking faces can only mean one thing—the love for the game has become a global phenomenon.

However, it won’t be too long before you will want to go back into comma. You will learn that Sharjah matches and triangular series don’t exist anymore; 50 overs game is a new ‘test’ match, and test matches are taking their last breath. You will then find out that somebody came up with an idea of a game called T20 with a following logical explanation—if more revenue can be generated with less hours of work/play, why not? This way, more number of matches/products can be produced, more money can be made and cricketers/employees can also have enough time for after parties (which would last longer than the game itself). When you will watch the game closely enough, you will probably notice that all this is more like a movie and everyone on the screen including players, spectators and commentators are all part of an act, the goal of which is to overrate and hype up the actual success of the game.

If you are still not back into comma yet, it will do it for you, when you will find out that Sachin Tendulkar is a part-time politician; Mr. Shahrukh Khan has his own team; players are auctioned; cricketer’s opt out of team India on the name of fitness but are suddenly fit to play for Mumbai Indians. And if you were lucky enough to survive the shocks of commercialization, privatization, and ‘bollywoodization’ of cricket, you will have a stadium full of questions, answers to which will probably remain buried.

Don’t bother asking questions such as, why in the world did cricket have to change so much so fast? Is it because fans were getting bored? Not at all! Is it because other sports were taking over in India? Ummm…Nope! Is it because cricket lovers demanded it? Never! Did someone think of fans as potential customers and the game as a business opportunity? Clearly. Few creative brains decided to take cricket and turn it into a revenue generating model. Thinking they understand the business of cricket, these few individuals started deciding the fate and future of the game. Treating it like a product and creating a monopoly considering Indian cricket lovers have no option but to accept the game in any form. I would be laughing in tears if someone was to tell me that these few individuals had one goal in mind—to ‘help’ cricket. That probably was not even on the agenda.

Of course change is not always a bad thing. It is required and should be supported given that these changes are designed and intended to preserve, protect and spread the game [and just that]. Despite all the glitters, colors and hype in the cricket today, test match stadiums remain empty, spot/match fixing remains the secret girlfriend of many cricketers; corruption still decides the fate of talent; people who know nothing about cricket still rule the game. So yes, changes were necessary, just not sure if we are in the right direction. Not so sure, if we are treating an illness with a right medication. Or maybe, we just don’t intend to do so. Let us not manipulate or rather temper with the game so much, that the originality of it diminishes from the roots. Let us—as true cricket lovers—not give the control of this game in the hands of those few individuals [good or bad] who may one day call cricket their ‘bitch’ and do whatever they want with it.

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3 thoughts on “The Changing Face of Cricket

  1. latika says:

    Great !!! article has tried to enlighten one unknown corner of cricket. I think no one has thought about changes which are mentioned here because evry one is just enjoying new form of cricket without thinking about its consequences. Article makes me to think whether changes in cricket are good or bad.
    I think changes and innovations are required at every where so changes in cricket are not surprising and there is no single game is in the pure form as it was invented. For example, football, tennis and so on. I think all changes in cricket have made cricket more interesting and flourish. Here is stated about loud music, cheerleaders and bollywood stars but all these things have made cricket more popular than before. All things have not any bad impacts on real charm of cricket.
    Its about what i think.

    1. Jigar Patel says:

      Thanks for your views and yes i agree that changes are important and good. But i would also say that ‘popularity’ in my opinion doesn’t always mean a good thing when you think of those the impact of those changes in long term. Even a 10 0vers game become popular for a ‘short’ period of time, but is it a good idea keeping in mind the foundation on which the game is based on?

      In addition, it is still not a good idea to let the leaders of IPL or BCCI to mold & fold the game in ways they deem is interesting to ‘them’. Giving them so much freedom may mean that one day they will say, forget about International tours and let’s just make IPL the only form of cricket.

  2. latika says:

    I agree that foundation of game must be keep in mind at any cost but here i want to make clear that purpose of any game if it is cricket or any other is to spend the time in qualitative manner means which gives enjoyment and build competitive spirit in players and give entertainment to audience. This was basic idea behind foundation of cricket or other game and i think it is still in the same form players and audience. So do not try to impugn the recent changes by proving it has long term negative effects.

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Devang Vibhakar
Devang Vibhakar
(Editor, www.SpeakBindas.com)
SpeakBindas is a Limca Book of Awards winning blog. It's a PR3 blog with 1000+ articles & Interviews. Devang Vibhakar - Founder - has interviewed more than 350+ people and has been to Scotland, London & Germany. He's a writer, speaker, traveler & movie-goer !! He has also written four books. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of people from various sectors of life to avid readers of SpeakBindas. You can reach him here .