April 4, 2013

How to tell if you're watching the IPL or county cricket

It's that time of year when you need help distinguishing between the two

This isn't a rhetorical question. Which are you watching? Do you know? Follow this handy guide if you don't. It will help you distinguish between these two almost identical branches of cricket.

Time of day
Is the match taking place at night? If it is, you are more likely watching the IPL. However, are you sure that it is definitely night-time and not just a particularly cloudy day? The only way you can be certain is by counting shadows. If there are four shadows around each player - one from each floodlight - then you are watching the IPL. If there is one massive shadow, shrouding the entire ground, you are probably watching Surrey.

Hot = India. Cold = springtime in England. It can be difficult to gauge weather conditions from a television broadcast, but there are a few things you can look out for. Headwear is a good indicator. If bright sunlight is glinting off even brighter helmets, blinding you, then it's the IPL. If any player is seen wearing multiple hats, it's probably England. Don't be fooled by broad-brimmed sun hats. Sometimes they conceal a wool hat underneath.

County cricket and the IPL have radically different attitudes to advertising. IPL advertising tends to feature banks, whereas the names of building societies and insurance firms are more commonly seen during county cricket matches. It's a totally different world. Of course both competitions advertise the functional products on which the economies of their respective host nations are built as well - concrete in the case of the IPL and real ale in county cricket.

Is anyone in the crowd dancing? If they are, it's the IPL.

Is anyone in the crowd having a nice sleep? If they are, it's county cricket.

Underwhelming overseas players
Overseas players you're sort of vaguely aware of but who certainly aren't household names are part and parcel of both the IPL and county cricket. If the player in question is a young Australian who can bat a bit and bowl a bit but doesn't yet do either particularly well, then you're watching the IPL. If the player in question is an old South African who can bat a bit and bowl a bit but doesn't do either particularly well anymore, then you're watching county cricket.

Fast-medium bowlers
Domestic player you've never heard of trundling in and bowling at about 130kph? Check the speed gun. If it reads 150kph, it's the IPL. If there is no speed gun, it's county cricket.

If all you can hear is birds tweeting because the commentator doesn't feel they have anything to contribute, it's county cricket. If a booming voice is trying to pass off thoughtful gems such as "Wow" as insight, it's most definitely the IPL, in which case press the mute button immediately before you put your foot through the screen in despair at the inanity of the modern world.

Skin colour
It's an obvious one. Look at the spectators in the expensive seats behind the bowler's arm. If they have dark brown skin then you are watching county cricket. These are the members. Like birds, these wealthy, retired individuals have flown south for the winter and, unlike birds, they have returned with a deep tan. If the faces are pale, it is the IPL. These wealthy industrialists and film stars have evaded direct sunlight by spending their lives moving from one plush, air-conditioned environment to another.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bunty on April 5, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    Great fun reading, The only one I can come up with If you turn up the volume to full and still think you are on mute then your are watching county cricket. if you turn your TV to mute but still hear the sounds then you are definitely watching IPL.

  • Dummy4 on April 5, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    haahaha living in england this is sooo true. who watched county cricket anyways>?

  • Bhaskar on April 5, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    The entire article was superb, cannot get better.

  • Santanu on April 5, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Brilliant! You might also add that if the ball is staying mostly below waist to knee high and being hit for sixes frequently it is IPL.

  • Srinivas on April 4, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Skin color: Hilarious and soooo true.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    "Weather Hot = India. Cold = springtime in England."

    Of course, you'd have to specify that it's cold in *springtime* in England. Far be it for you to generalize regarding the weather of a chunk of rock spanning 130,000 square kilometers in the North Atlantic Ocean. That's unenlightened, to not appreciate the diversity of English weather.

    When it comes to the weather of pretty much an entire subcontinent spanning more than 3.2 million square kilometers (across 25 degrees plus of latitude and thousands of meters of altitude), eh, it's hot. At the very least you could mention that the IPL is held during the summer in India, therefore it's hot. The Barmy Army would have a nasty surprise if they happened to come to the cricket ground in Dharamshala in tank-tops in January.

    I did like the last one though. Another thing to add. Indian film stars and industrialists also use copious amounts of Fair & Lovely / Fair & Handsome.

  • Mark on April 4, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    Very good article. Love having a nap in the afternoon session.

  • Govindaraj on April 4, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    I especially liked the last one about the skin colour, when I started to read i felt the paragraph is going to describe it other way round but then towards the end i realized an important truth.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Hilarious! Especially the one about the commentary.