Samir Chopra June 30, 2010

Cricket and the World Cup

The sights and sounds of a World Cup football game are among the most enthralling in sport
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The sights and sounds of a World Cup football game are among the most enthralling in sport © Getty Images

I read Rahul Bhattacharya's "where is my love for cricket gone" piece with great interest. Like him, in recent times, I've experienced a rather dismaying loss of interest in the great game.

Last year, I could not be bothered to pay attention to the India-West Indies one-day internationals, and this year, I barely took note of the Asia Cup. Given the Asia Cup involved India playing Pakistan, I should have been more enthused, but the emotional roller-coaster that I associate with those encounters was missing. And it is not just with ODIs that I'm finding it hard to get excited about. The South Africa-West Indies series also failed to evoke serious interest on my part: I had subscribed for a broadband video package but spent most of this last Test thinking about, and watching football.

I mention football deliberately because La Copa Mundial brought me two things that I've been missing (rather desperately) in a lot of recent international cricket: a physical environment that places the game in an appropriately dramatic setting and a meaningfulness associated with each game. (I know a lot of folks aren't happy with the number of goals scored and the refereeing, but that for now, is besides the point).

The meaninglessness of so much international cricket that is played in a year has been commented on in too many fora and by too many writers to bear repeating here. There is much to be learned from football here, especially as regards the World Cup.

Ironically, even though the football World Cup has become bloated in recent years, its qualification process and structure still make a good case for a leaner, meaner cricket World Cup; one staged every two years, and featuring a qualification system that permits six countries to qualify (15 round-robin games, to eliminate two more teams, then semi-finals and finals). Qualification points would be earned over the intervening two years' ODIs. It would make individual ODIs more meaningful and hopefully lead to some standardisation of the annual ODI calendar.

I know this cuts against the grain of the "lets popularise cricket world wide by bringing in minnows" thesis but there are many other ways to do that without sinking cricket's premier tournament.

The question of an appropriate setting and stage for cricket is a little more tricky. The sights and sounds of a World Cup football game are among the most enthralling in sport. It would be too much to expect such an atmosphere at all Test matches or ODIs but cricket seems to specialise in providing the direct opposite.

For a few years now, watching a Test in the subcontinent or even the West Indies has been to watch a rather drab affair. The aura of an important international game is simply not to be detected. The stands are, more often than not, sparsely populated, the ground's physical infrastructure is substandard, and there is little spectator atmosphere to soak up or revel in. To tune into too many cricket games today is to be treated to the sight of an international sporting event taking place in a rather forlorn setting. While the game is supposed to provide sporting drama by itself, it is always aided by its placement. That, in modern cricket, too often seems to be lacking.

I'm still looking forward to the India-Sri Lanka Test series. As Rahul Dravid sagely pointed out a while ago, there is a challenge to be met here. But even acknowledging that fact will not bring about an abatement of the desire for packed and boisterous stadiums. I wouldn't even mind a few vuvuzelas being sent over from South Africa.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sid on July 4, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Yes Imran I'm an Indian and I agree with you wholeheartedly that most Indians watch soccer only during FIFA WC and Euro Cup and have nothing to do with Indian Soccer or even Asian..But during the Fifa Cup they all behave like they know it all but in actuality they dont know a thing about soccer,they only watch because world cup is going on and all the hype surrounding it. I would rather prefer watching a T20 match between Essex and Sussex than a Soccer match between Argentina and Germany.

  • Critic on July 3, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    I think it's an unfair comparison between cricket and soccer. Soccer World Cup is being played since 1900. And every team game has it own charm. Soccer has qualifiers as more than 190 nations have teams for it, and it is not humanely possible to conduct a World Cup with so many teams. Cricket relatively has much lesser teams, and hence a different format. You should remember mate necessity is the mother of invention. Whenever the need arose, even cricket has undergone a lot of change in the rules of the game, so it is more competitive. Use of technology has made cricket more competitive than ever. I think despite its longer time of existence football is yet to use any technology for its betterment. I wonder why something like UDRS is not being tried for football. Does it mean people should stop following football or for that matter runaway from cricket? So, it is an unfair and little ridiculous between two completely different kind of team games.

  • chris on July 3, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Modern day soccer is boring; players and spectators are childish or worse; referees don't know the laws, or if they do they don't enforce them; television commemtators are ecxruciating. Forget soccer. I am writing this with radio commentary of England v Australia LOI on, but only because there's nothing else on. Has there ever been a more meaningless series, let alone a match? England played Australia last year. They are going there again in the autumn. Australia are here to play Pakistan, not to play England. I love test cricket (and other first class). T20 is enjoyable. Is there any reason for 50 over matches. One comment says reducing overs leads to more exciting matches. Does it? The Gillette Cup/NW Trophy and the initial World Cup were far more exciting with 60 over matches. 50 and 40 over matches have been progressively more boring with the dice loaded in favour of batting. A bowling analysis of 8-8-0-0 has been described as perfect! I would think a lot more of 3-15.

  • S.Siddiqui on July 3, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Ipersonally feel that the ODI WC should have a round robin phase with the 4 going into the semi final. This keeps the interest in all games and tests each team agianst the other. The idea of groups in ODI WC where there are only 8 teams that can effectively lift the cup with a couple of minnows is incorrect. Its alright to have groups if you have16 or 32 teams. And we have the 1992 ODI WC, that seems now to have been the pinnacle of ODI cricket, or one of the high points. I think the only blight that had was the rain rule otherwise it tested every team against the other, and this I believe would make the ODI WC more eagerly awaited.

  • THE ULTIMATE EXPERT !!! on July 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Who the hell said that cricket is not popular in the world. For your kind information "CRICKET IS THE SECOND MOST POPULAR SPORT ON THE PLANET EARTH" according to the most trusted informational sites of the world including "WIKIPEDIA", number 1 is soccer.Moreover, ICC cricket world cup is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world just after the fifa world cup and the olympics. So, get yourself educated dude.....

  • aftab on July 3, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    I try to watch as much Cricket as possible and read about the rest. I sometime watch (only) the final of World Cup soccer. What should my column say? Perhaps soccer needs to have more elements in it just like Cricket for a person like me to like it.

  • Anneeq Anwar on July 2, 2010, 23:56 GMT

    Iv always thought that the cricket calendar seems to have no structure to it. It just seems to be be randomly put together. Im sorry but having just the 6 countries in a w/c is the most ridiculous idea ever!! How on Earth is cricket going to increase in popularity if you're just going to have 6 countries? I think we should have a football style qualification process, that way the 'minnows' can get exposure to all the big nations regularly rather than on one off matches. We should get rid of useless tournaments like the Champions Trophy. The pinnacle of our sport should be the world cup, why try to distract us from that?

    We have to accept that there are other sports in the world anyway, this is football's turn and theyr taking the limelight.

  • Anonymous on July 2, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    A cursory glance at 2011CWC fixtures tells us that ICC needs a mind-boggling 42 matches between 14 teams playing at 13 venues in 3 countries to determine the QFs!! Elsewhere, the debate rages on about the future of ODIs, keeping the “experts” gainfully employed, and the audience “spell”bound. Finding themselves hard-pressed for time (given the success of the FTP) at the business end of the event, ICC come up with a masterstroke - a mere 6 more matches to decide on the two “lucky” finalists. QF mantra - just beat the minnows and gain match practice. Maybe R1: 16T (4G,4T,24M), R2: 8T (2G,4T,12M), R3: 4T (1G,4T,6M), Bo3 Finals and Bo3 3rd place deciders – total 48 matches would not have been a bad alternative idea. Points could be carried over to next rounds, giving an indication of how well a particular team has done throughout the tournament. At least the teams and fanatic supporters would get “bragging rights” for a couple of years. Anything for an exciting CWC and real world champion.

  • py on July 2, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    Yes, I almost entirely agree! The 20 over game should be used to expand cricket around the world - with the 20-20 world cup expanded to 16-20 teams, and the 50 over game should be kept more rigorous, with only I would allow 10 teams qualifying in groups of 5, with the top 2 from each group going into the semifinals.

    All friendly international matches should be abolished with immediate effect as an irrelevance. Each limited overs match should be scheduled 2 years in advance and count for qualification for the relevant world cup, and each test match series victory should accumulate points towards a 5 year test championship.

  • DERAJYDAC on July 2, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Unfortunately i too have found the football world cup more exciting in recent times, despite the fact i like cricket more. At times it's been a choice of watching australia v england ODI's or nations i do not support play soccer, mainly because the soccer matches do have meaning, whereas a random 5 match ODI series does not

  • Sid on July 4, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Yes Imran I'm an Indian and I agree with you wholeheartedly that most Indians watch soccer only during FIFA WC and Euro Cup and have nothing to do with Indian Soccer or even Asian..But during the Fifa Cup they all behave like they know it all but in actuality they dont know a thing about soccer,they only watch because world cup is going on and all the hype surrounding it. I would rather prefer watching a T20 match between Essex and Sussex than a Soccer match between Argentina and Germany.

  • Critic on July 3, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    I think it's an unfair comparison between cricket and soccer. Soccer World Cup is being played since 1900. And every team game has it own charm. Soccer has qualifiers as more than 190 nations have teams for it, and it is not humanely possible to conduct a World Cup with so many teams. Cricket relatively has much lesser teams, and hence a different format. You should remember mate necessity is the mother of invention. Whenever the need arose, even cricket has undergone a lot of change in the rules of the game, so it is more competitive. Use of technology has made cricket more competitive than ever. I think despite its longer time of existence football is yet to use any technology for its betterment. I wonder why something like UDRS is not being tried for football. Does it mean people should stop following football or for that matter runaway from cricket? So, it is an unfair and little ridiculous between two completely different kind of team games.

  • chris on July 3, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Modern day soccer is boring; players and spectators are childish or worse; referees don't know the laws, or if they do they don't enforce them; television commemtators are ecxruciating. Forget soccer. I am writing this with radio commentary of England v Australia LOI on, but only because there's nothing else on. Has there ever been a more meaningless series, let alone a match? England played Australia last year. They are going there again in the autumn. Australia are here to play Pakistan, not to play England. I love test cricket (and other first class). T20 is enjoyable. Is there any reason for 50 over matches. One comment says reducing overs leads to more exciting matches. Does it? The Gillette Cup/NW Trophy and the initial World Cup were far more exciting with 60 over matches. 50 and 40 over matches have been progressively more boring with the dice loaded in favour of batting. A bowling analysis of 8-8-0-0 has been described as perfect! I would think a lot more of 3-15.

  • S.Siddiqui on July 3, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Ipersonally feel that the ODI WC should have a round robin phase with the 4 going into the semi final. This keeps the interest in all games and tests each team agianst the other. The idea of groups in ODI WC where there are only 8 teams that can effectively lift the cup with a couple of minnows is incorrect. Its alright to have groups if you have16 or 32 teams. And we have the 1992 ODI WC, that seems now to have been the pinnacle of ODI cricket, or one of the high points. I think the only blight that had was the rain rule otherwise it tested every team against the other, and this I believe would make the ODI WC more eagerly awaited.

  • THE ULTIMATE EXPERT !!! on July 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Who the hell said that cricket is not popular in the world. For your kind information "CRICKET IS THE SECOND MOST POPULAR SPORT ON THE PLANET EARTH" according to the most trusted informational sites of the world including "WIKIPEDIA", number 1 is soccer.Moreover, ICC cricket world cup is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world just after the fifa world cup and the olympics. So, get yourself educated dude.....

  • aftab on July 3, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    I try to watch as much Cricket as possible and read about the rest. I sometime watch (only) the final of World Cup soccer. What should my column say? Perhaps soccer needs to have more elements in it just like Cricket for a person like me to like it.

  • Anneeq Anwar on July 2, 2010, 23:56 GMT

    Iv always thought that the cricket calendar seems to have no structure to it. It just seems to be be randomly put together. Im sorry but having just the 6 countries in a w/c is the most ridiculous idea ever!! How on Earth is cricket going to increase in popularity if you're just going to have 6 countries? I think we should have a football style qualification process, that way the 'minnows' can get exposure to all the big nations regularly rather than on one off matches. We should get rid of useless tournaments like the Champions Trophy. The pinnacle of our sport should be the world cup, why try to distract us from that?

    We have to accept that there are other sports in the world anyway, this is football's turn and theyr taking the limelight.

  • Anonymous on July 2, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    A cursory glance at 2011CWC fixtures tells us that ICC needs a mind-boggling 42 matches between 14 teams playing at 13 venues in 3 countries to determine the QFs!! Elsewhere, the debate rages on about the future of ODIs, keeping the “experts” gainfully employed, and the audience “spell”bound. Finding themselves hard-pressed for time (given the success of the FTP) at the business end of the event, ICC come up with a masterstroke - a mere 6 more matches to decide on the two “lucky” finalists. QF mantra - just beat the minnows and gain match practice. Maybe R1: 16T (4G,4T,24M), R2: 8T (2G,4T,12M), R3: 4T (1G,4T,6M), Bo3 Finals and Bo3 3rd place deciders – total 48 matches would not have been a bad alternative idea. Points could be carried over to next rounds, giving an indication of how well a particular team has done throughout the tournament. At least the teams and fanatic supporters would get “bragging rights” for a couple of years. Anything for an exciting CWC and real world champion.

  • py on July 2, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    Yes, I almost entirely agree! The 20 over game should be used to expand cricket around the world - with the 20-20 world cup expanded to 16-20 teams, and the 50 over game should be kept more rigorous, with only I would allow 10 teams qualifying in groups of 5, with the top 2 from each group going into the semifinals.

    All friendly international matches should be abolished with immediate effect as an irrelevance. Each limited overs match should be scheduled 2 years in advance and count for qualification for the relevant world cup, and each test match series victory should accumulate points towards a 5 year test championship.

  • DERAJYDAC on July 2, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Unfortunately i too have found the football world cup more exciting in recent times, despite the fact i like cricket more. At times it's been a choice of watching australia v england ODI's or nations i do not support play soccer, mainly because the soccer matches do have meaning, whereas a random 5 match ODI series does not

  • Sandeep on July 2, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Cricket may be lengthy game but at every stage something is happening. And it requires skill on part of the player to do that even if its just a case of taking a single or defending a good ball on batsmens part or bowling a dot ball on bowlers part. It doesn't require skill only to hit boundries and sixes and take wickets. If you understand the skill involved in doing it, you would not find it boring. You would rather enjoy it. Thats how cricket is to be watched and enjoyed. There are variety of cricket fans and I think cricket offers entertainment for all kinds of fan. I love test cricket first then one day cricket and then T20. Every form of game involves its own challenges. It also offers opportunity for different kind of players. Also I like international cricket more than club-cricket(IPL) because it is more challenging for any player to perform against international team as compare to club. India will have to produce real good local talent for IPL to become more interesting.

  • Dr athar abbas on July 1, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    The writer of the article is very rightly discussing a basic fact. Relevance of a match. If Australia beats England or vice versa, what is the outcome other than pride? If England and USA match was a draw in the first round of football. It had an immediate meaning. USA had more chances to qualify to the next round and England had a possibility of first round exit. This makes the match relevant.

    If there is SOMETHING associated with the 5th ODI (Aus/Eng) like e.g. "the winner will add these many points to qualify to the worldcup"; that will make the match relevant. At the moment, dozens of ODI's, T20's and all test matches are meaningless friendlies. NO BIG PICTURE associated with it at all. I repeat, T20, ODI or Test Match, until there are big picture achievements connected to it, they will all be irrelavant and friendlies, no real purpose: boring. DONT DOUBT ME though, I am an ardent cricket lover and watching almost every match!!!!

  • Imran on July 1, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    Mr.Samir Chopra,you should Enjoy cricket not criticise it.If you were a true cricket fan you would not have criticised it.

  • Zulfi on July 1, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    why the hell u guys are trying 2 compare cricket with soccer??? cricket and soccer are 2 different games with different styles... In soccer there is alot of money and it is popular in Europe and America thats why it is more popular in the world. on the other hand u can see HOCKEY, which is 90% similar with soccer and almost same rules like the card system,2 half,penalties etc...but Hockey is not popular as soccer and is less popular then cricket. why???

    i think we should discuss why hockey is not popular as soccer. cricket is completely different game, if u compare cricket with baseball then it is more popular...in my opinion comparing the popularity of cricket with soccer is completely injustice..cricket has style,dignity,honor,patience,glory,respect,limits and but not least, test cricket is a complete battle of 5 days and this is such thing which is impossible 2 see in fifa soccer...

  • Gizza on July 1, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    The numbers of minnows in a World Cup should be determined by asking the question: How many of these teams can cause an upset? In ODI cricket's case it is 3 at the moment (Zim, Bang and Ire) along with the 8 giants. For evenness 12 teams can be a good number. You don't need to determine the number of teams by asking how many can win the World Cup. Even in soccer only 5 or 6 teams actually have a chance of winning the tournament. In T20 16 teams can be involved (hence used to expand the game) because even a Netherlands, Kenya, Canada or Scotland have a chance of upsetting.

    If ALL multilateral limited over cricket was removed apart from one T20 World Cup and one ODI World Cup every 4 years, they will be very successful. Removing the Champs Trophy would be a start (although maybe the World Cup should be shortened so it similar to the Champs Trophy?). If the CT has to stay it should be KNOCKOUT (like the first 2 tournaments) since that has a very different feel to a league-ish tournament.

  • Michael on July 1, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    It is unreasonable to expect Test cricket to provide the same atmosphere regularly (apart from iconic events like Melbourne's annual Boxing Day Test match or the Ashes) since it is played over five days. Usually, the ground attendances are highest as a game draws to a conclusion on day 4 or 5.

    The author mentions how fewer international games are played in football. That's only because the time available for international football is limited by club football, which takes precedence. In cricket, it's the other way around. Football fans cannot be expected to care about every single game played in the EPL or La Liga or the UEFA Champions' League or the Europa League. Football fans are used to their being an unlimited supply of games. Cricket fans are also experiencing this now. They just need to get used to it.

  • Akshay on July 1, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Just tell me when was the last time you saw a Test match at the stadium in India.... Let alone India..... Cricket needs a two tier system maybe three, but even then the 10 nation world cup will not be boring....

    The T20 World cups in SA and Eng were not boring, but that in WI was. So now T20 is boring, is it so?

    Similarly with ODIs, Teams like WI, bangladesh, are not upto the mark. But that doesn't take away anything from Eng-Aus, Eng-SA, Aus-SA. Aus-Ind, Ind-Pak, Ind-SA, matches, just to name a few.

    So to follow Football, as Mohan rightly said, make it franchise based and reduce Nation vs Nation matches. You follow this recipe and then whatever little interest there is in cricket outside the Test playing nations will plunge even further.

  • Russ on July 1, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    I don't see how people read into Samir's criticisms that he thinks cricket is too slow. He says he is finding difficulty maintaining interest in such drab meaningless contests, but that is not the same thing. Moreover, he is far from the only person to say this recently.

    Samir, I find it interesting though that you praise FIFA's World Cup, but ignore the nature of its tournament processes in your own suggestions. If cricket was to follow football's example, they would work on a four year cycle: yr.1 (yr.0) - Regional qualifying yr.2 - Regional championships yr.3 - World cup qualifying yr.4 - World cup

    Far from excluding minnows, forcing test teams to qualify would increase the exposure of minnows to the best teams without compromising the world cup. And the chance to see new players would pique your interest.

    I don't agree with a 6-team contest however. Part of the charm of a global world cup comes from the variety of participating teams and their fans. More is sometimes more.

  • sunil on July 1, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I completely agree with Imran.Cricket as a global sport will never be as popular as soccer but It will not die from the heart of cricket fans.Infact the best match during recent times has been the Indo Pak clash in the asia cup.

  • Pat on July 1, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    The idea of a six-nation World Cup in cricket (in some format) is great. It'll mean a lot fewer dead rubbers. And I'd love to see India fail to be one of the six sometime.

  • Daniel Alexander on June 30, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    I agree with Imran. Every game has its own style,elegance and history. Cricket is a game evolved to test the players stamina,skill and temprament.This is the format, this is how it's been ever since.Already we have reduced the number of overs per innings to make it more exciting and commericial.That's all could be done.You know soccer is an hour and half game and cricket is not from the beggining.Now just because you have soccer worldcup ruling the television for this couple of months you can't expect to spice up the cricket to compete with it.I still love the five day format than the 20/20. You can't expect F1 to be reduced to 100 meters to make it more exciting like a 100 mts dash.I believe even today if countries like India and Australia play test maches, the stadium oozes out with audience.It's all on the level of competition.You want a match between India and Bangladesh,even if it is soccer unless Kaka and Messi play for India.Cricket was a great game,is a great game and will be..

  • Michael on June 30, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    There is a difference between cricket "thriving" and cricket "surviving". "Surviving" is boring, guaranteed draws played out in front of empty stadiums. There's a palpable paranoid and fearful hatred of all things not cricket, which has prevented our game from becoming truly global & worldwide. Anytime there's ever an initiative to think outside the box, people drop the portcullis and trot out shields labelled "tradition" and "it's not cricket". Tradition is obviously good, it's what cricket is built on, but if you constantly suffocate any kind of development for the game, then cricket will never get off the ground floor.

  • Mridul on June 30, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    I dont think the interest in the game is dieing. I completely agree with mohan here

  • Fraky on June 30, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    I agree totally. Some changes are desperately needed. Living in the USA..... it is almost impossible to get live cricket. Please help us.

  • Mohan on June 30, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Watch the IPL then. Every match has packed stadiums with plenty of atmosphere.

    That is another lesson to be learnt from football. Allow the club competitions to take up most of the calendar and restrict the nation vs nation contests to a quadrennial world cup or so.

  • Imran on June 30, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    I cant understand why indians always tend to copy west from A to Z.I know a lot of folks who are not interested in soccer but are watching it blindly to just make a stylish point.I cant understand it.Cricket is my passion and soccer is aso my passion.I dont understand why people like you are writing tens of blogs criticisng cricket and its slowness.Leave it.Cricket can never be as popular as soccer.Everyone knows that.But everyone should also know that Cricket can never die.It will always survive.

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  • Imran on June 30, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    I cant understand why indians always tend to copy west from A to Z.I know a lot of folks who are not interested in soccer but are watching it blindly to just make a stylish point.I cant understand it.Cricket is my passion and soccer is aso my passion.I dont understand why people like you are writing tens of blogs criticisng cricket and its slowness.Leave it.Cricket can never be as popular as soccer.Everyone knows that.But everyone should also know that Cricket can never die.It will always survive.

  • Mohan on June 30, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Watch the IPL then. Every match has packed stadiums with plenty of atmosphere.

    That is another lesson to be learnt from football. Allow the club competitions to take up most of the calendar and restrict the nation vs nation contests to a quadrennial world cup or so.

  • Fraky on June 30, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    I agree totally. Some changes are desperately needed. Living in the USA..... it is almost impossible to get live cricket. Please help us.

  • Mridul on June 30, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    I dont think the interest in the game is dieing. I completely agree with mohan here

  • Michael on June 30, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    There is a difference between cricket "thriving" and cricket "surviving". "Surviving" is boring, guaranteed draws played out in front of empty stadiums. There's a palpable paranoid and fearful hatred of all things not cricket, which has prevented our game from becoming truly global & worldwide. Anytime there's ever an initiative to think outside the box, people drop the portcullis and trot out shields labelled "tradition" and "it's not cricket". Tradition is obviously good, it's what cricket is built on, but if you constantly suffocate any kind of development for the game, then cricket will never get off the ground floor.

  • Daniel Alexander on June 30, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    I agree with Imran. Every game has its own style,elegance and history. Cricket is a game evolved to test the players stamina,skill and temprament.This is the format, this is how it's been ever since.Already we have reduced the number of overs per innings to make it more exciting and commericial.That's all could be done.You know soccer is an hour and half game and cricket is not from the beggining.Now just because you have soccer worldcup ruling the television for this couple of months you can't expect to spice up the cricket to compete with it.I still love the five day format than the 20/20. You can't expect F1 to be reduced to 100 meters to make it more exciting like a 100 mts dash.I believe even today if countries like India and Australia play test maches, the stadium oozes out with audience.It's all on the level of competition.You want a match between India and Bangladesh,even if it is soccer unless Kaka and Messi play for India.Cricket was a great game,is a great game and will be..

  • Pat on July 1, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    The idea of a six-nation World Cup in cricket (in some format) is great. It'll mean a lot fewer dead rubbers. And I'd love to see India fail to be one of the six sometime.

  • sunil on July 1, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I completely agree with Imran.Cricket as a global sport will never be as popular as soccer but It will not die from the heart of cricket fans.Infact the best match during recent times has been the Indo Pak clash in the asia cup.

  • Russ on July 1, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    I don't see how people read into Samir's criticisms that he thinks cricket is too slow. He says he is finding difficulty maintaining interest in such drab meaningless contests, but that is not the same thing. Moreover, he is far from the only person to say this recently.

    Samir, I find it interesting though that you praise FIFA's World Cup, but ignore the nature of its tournament processes in your own suggestions. If cricket was to follow football's example, they would work on a four year cycle: yr.1 (yr.0) - Regional qualifying yr.2 - Regional championships yr.3 - World cup qualifying yr.4 - World cup

    Far from excluding minnows, forcing test teams to qualify would increase the exposure of minnows to the best teams without compromising the world cup. And the chance to see new players would pique your interest.

    I don't agree with a 6-team contest however. Part of the charm of a global world cup comes from the variety of participating teams and their fans. More is sometimes more.

  • Akshay on July 1, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Just tell me when was the last time you saw a Test match at the stadium in India.... Let alone India..... Cricket needs a two tier system maybe three, but even then the 10 nation world cup will not be boring....

    The T20 World cups in SA and Eng were not boring, but that in WI was. So now T20 is boring, is it so?

    Similarly with ODIs, Teams like WI, bangladesh, are not upto the mark. But that doesn't take away anything from Eng-Aus, Eng-SA, Aus-SA. Aus-Ind, Ind-Pak, Ind-SA, matches, just to name a few.

    So to follow Football, as Mohan rightly said, make it franchise based and reduce Nation vs Nation matches. You follow this recipe and then whatever little interest there is in cricket outside the Test playing nations will plunge even further.