Perspective. That’s the point I was able to take away during a brief discussion on Cricket during my sports-writing lecture. Perspective is everything.
The question was simple:
What are the top two popular sports around the globe?
Students shouted out answers with confidence. Baseball! Soccer! Basketball! Sadly, they were only 50% right. We must have guessed 10 different sports from volleyball to water polo and still weren’t able to satisfy our professor with our responses.
Our professor chuckled while the students seemed to be in distress as if they were walking into an engineering final, but were prepared for geography.
Gracefully, he whispered, “…cricket…” and the students appeared more baffled than when they had first started. Some even going as far as challenging the statistic thinking their choice was a more sufficient answer.
Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world with an estimated following of about 3 billion fans, mostly across India, the U.K., Pakistan, Asia and Australia.
Cricket is similar to baseball in the way that each team gets a chance to bat and score runs and also to defend. After one turn of fielding and batting, the inning, which is what it is called, is over and a new one begins.
The 2015 Cricket World Cup final, a battle between Australia and New Zealand, garnered an estimated 2.2 billion viewers for the matchup. To put in perspective, the NFL Super Bowl averages about 111 million viewers.
The following of the game of Cricket is astonishing, especially given that only about 15 countries consider Cricket a major sport and has the least amount of professional leagues as any other major sport. The two major leagues that dominate the sport are the Indian Premier League, a fairly recent league, and the Big Bash league in Australia.
The average salary of a cricket player is in the six-figure range, which should come as a surprise given that it’s the second most popular sport in the world.
It’s the fact that the sport of cricket is so easily accessible to the general public that its popularity is so high. The only requirements for the sport are: a bat, a ball, wickets and a field to play on. For this reason, you can see children playing throughout the streets of India and Bangladesh rather than throwing/kicking a football or playing basketball.
Cricket is an expanding sport, and normally draws much larger audiences during their more competitive events, such as the ICC Cricket World Cup held every four years. Recently, an increase in popularity of the sport has happened due to social media. However, it’s only exposure coming from countries that already recognize cricket as a major sport.
Cricket is making its mark on the world, and not just through the constant annoying chirping.