March 26, 2010

The future of cricket

The rapidly changing landscape of sport

Siddarth Ravindran

Matthew Syed is having a hard time keeping up as sports evolve at a dizzying pace - the many rule tweaks in Formula 1, the switch-hits and scoops of Twenty20, the changes in the badminton scoring system. He writes in the Times that sports which fail to adapt to the demands of the Xbox generation will be consigned to the backwaters of village halls.

There is little point resisting the logic of the global market, unless you want your sport to be dependent on the subscriptions of half a dozen members. I happen to love the tempo of Test cricket, its soothing rhythms and evocative associations, but I would be foolish to suppose that my preference counts for more than one vote in the democracy of the market.
Those who proclaim that there is something “wrong” with Twenty20, or that administrators should somehow resist its march, do not recognise how capitalism works. Either the existing governing bodies (the ICC, ECB and so on) embrace what the fans want, or they leave the door ajar for others to take control, able to purchase the best players and the biggest stars with money the traditionalists can never match.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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