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The use of the Decision Review System in the Ashes in England earlier this year split the cricketing world over the effectiveness and relevance of the technology to cricket. In an academic paper, excerpted at Phys.Org and soon to be published in the Journal of Sports Economics, Vani Borooah tries to identify the exact value that DRS brings to cricket.
"The gain from using DRS, in terms of an improvement in the percentage of correct decisions (from 93.1% to 95.8% for the first Ashes test of 2013), is miniscule relative to the large sums of money required for installing DRS. If 'getting it right' is so important to international cricket then, arguably, the same gains could be harvested, at much lower cost, by investing in more training of umpires and a determined search for more good umpires."
Star TV, the broadcaster in India, have spent $2.9 billion in buying broadcasting rights and now they have decided to venture into sponsorship rights as well. Surajeet Das Gupta, in the Business Standard, finds out why the broadcaster is pumping so much money into the game.
But the risks come with immense potential for growth for those who have the cash to stay put. To begin with, despite the criticism and fears, cricket constitutes over 10 per cent of the annual TV advertising pie (currently estimated at around Rs 14,000 crore), or Rs 1,400 crore, and in 2011, when IPL and the World Cup were held, it raked in over Rs 2,000 crore in revenues. Also unlike general entertainment channels (which draw 60 per cent of their revenues from advertising), subscription constitutes for over 60 per cent of a sports channel's revenue. So, more viewers mean more revenue through subscription.
In a piece for the Guardian's weekly segment The Spin, Andy Bull questions whether fast bowling in Test cricket is actually losing its pace. Bull cites a study of baseball pitchers conducted by Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute, and the latter has suggested that fast bowlers might also be reaching their physical limit. The important question is whether the trend may be depriving fans of one of the most exciting elements of Test cricket.
That mindset has been passed down by coaches, who see the perfect action as being the one that bears the most repetition while minimising the risk of injury and maximising the degree of control. As Brearley says, Test cricket is poorer for it, stripped as it is of the physical threat to the batsman and robbed of one its most exciting elements. But bowlers have longer careers as a consequence. Fans and players love to argue about who was the fastest. That's a debate that can't be settled. But it is clear that you won't find many contenders in this day and age. We are in a time of tortoises, not hares. The perfectly fast action, like the perfect game of draughts, is a thing of the past, a target players have long since stopped pursuing.
On Thursday, Durham won their third Championship title in 21 years, a victory that was built entirely by players picked from the community. In the Telegraph, Scyld Berry says that the Durham's victory is an example of what can be achieved when new regions are empowered with first-class status. While admitting that the addition of another county may stretch first-class cricket resources too thin, Berry also suggests that the road ahead for English cricket may lie in empowering communities.
I suspect our inner cities contain many cricketers who play below the official radar of premier leagues, or never play formal cricket at all, now or in the past. Not a single England Test player has been born in Wolverhampton, one in Hull, two in Stoke-on-Trent, and one in Liverpool since the nineteenth century.
There needs to be a pathway for inner-city players of all ethnicities, who either have no access to proper cricket facilities or cannot afford to join the few inner-city clubs that exist, with their costly membership and match fees, quite apart from expensive kit.
Ireland versus England is never short of interest and Malahide could not have hoped for a better introduction to the world stage. Home captain William Porterfield struck a century to ignite hopes of another famous upset. But his opposite number and fellow Irishman, Eoin Morgan's skill at controlling the chase fetched him a ton and England the victory. Despite the loss, Sport for business believes the game provided an occasion for the fans, journalists, people in political office and from industry to realise the market for cricket in Ireland.
The best estimate of the financial exposure taken on to build a 10,000 seater temporary but international standard arena was between €375,000 and €400,000. When the final financial calculations are done they will likely show that a small cash profit was made. In straitened times that is important but the real and invaluable benefit lies in the establishment of the sport in the public eye as a serious endeavour, with the scope for young players to advance, and as a medium for corporate investment that delivers a return.
Australia are doing their best to ensure their young batsmen learn the art of building innings. Former England batsman Graeme Hick, has taken up the position of a consultant at the Center of Excellence for the winter, and Cricket Australia are hoping their emerging batsmen can benefit from his experience. In the Courier-Mail, Hicks says that flashy cricket is a symptom of a society that moves fast.
"A few of the young players now like the flashy stuff and are probably more concerned about playing the reverse sweep than batting a long time."
With a large immigrant population, Cricket Australia is devising a 'diversity strategy' to assimilate and attract more players from Asian backgrounds. In the Age, Jake Niall believes this can benefit the game with effects that go beyond the playing field.
The cricket diversity strategy needs a specific subcontinental bent, because Australian cricket's future lies with the subcontinent - and with the subcontinent within Australia. It should study carefully what the AFL has managed with indigenous Australia, albeit Indians et al are coming from a very different place.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan introduces the concept of a two-tier Test cricket system with greater financial rewards in the Telegraph, suggesting it could be a way to save Test cricket and improve the quality of the game.
If the incentives do not change then Test cricket in 15 years' time will be under huge threat. You have only to look at the May Test series in England that clashes with the Indian Premier League. At the moment there is no incentive for visiting players to skip the IPL and play Tests for their country in England. The prestige of playing a Test at Lord's only goes so far when weighed against a big IPL contract.
But that could change if we have two divisions. Just imagine if New Zealand have to come to England and win one out of three Tests to stay in the first division or win promotion. If there is a proper financial incentive to playing in the first division, like there is in football's Premier League, then players would be less likely to choose the IPL instead.