OCTOBER 19, 2014

Broadcasting

Has cricket hit the roof?

Cricket's dominance in India might not be fading just yet, but the team's performance has not been as compelling as the last decade and high-profile retirements since have also had an impact on viewership. Ashok Malik, in Asian Age, wonders if a saturation has been reached, especially with other sports enticing the average fan.

Cricket viewership, even Indian Premier League viewership, is not growing. It has either reached a ceiling (IPL) or a floor (Test cricket). Even limited-overs cricket (the Fifty50) game, the mainstay of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is showing a worrying pattern. On-ground presence is lower than previously. The BCCI is masking it by hosting matches mainly in smaller cities and towns, where the novelty may still be there. As for television, a comparison between the India-West Indies limited-overs series of 2011 and 2013 would be telling. Both series were played in India. The first was played in the aftermath of India's World Cup victory and showed a TRP of 3.4 (male/15-34/Sec A, B and C). By the 2013 series, the TRP number had fallen to 2.2. TRP figures for the just-concluded (October 2014) India-West Indies series were not immediately available.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Indian cricket

MS Dhoni, the movie

If it is superheroes in Hollywood, it is sports biopics in India. After the stories of Olympic medal-winning boxer Mary Kom and legendary athlete Milkha Singh hit theatres, it is the turn of India's captain MS Dhoni.

MS Dhoni - the untold story is a biopic produced by Rhiti Sports, the company that manages Dhoni's commercial interests. The film, due to release in 2015, hopes to highlight Dhoni's life prior to becoming one of the most successful cricketers on the international circuit. It will be directed by Neeraj Pandey, who was at the helm of the acclaimed thriller A Wednesday. Sushant Singh Rajput, who is two films old and also has experience on the television circuit, plays the lead.

"MS Dhoni is one of the biggest sporting icons in this world, and his biopic will certainly be an inspiration to those who dare to dream and then go all out to achieve their dreams," said chairman of Rhiti Sports Arun Pandey.

AUGUST 27, 2014

Bolt versus Yuvraj

Usain Bolt isn't a stranger to cricket. He played during his early years, did a number on Chris Gayle's stumps in a charity match in Jamaica in 2009 and almost turned out for Melbourne Stars during the 2012 Big Bash League. And he will be at it again when he squares up with Yuvraj Singh during an event at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium, on September 2.

Though Bolt's abilities on the open track are considerably more impressive, Gayle had a word of warning about Bolt the cricketer: "In a charity game he [Bolt] played against me, he almost knocked my head off with a good, competitive bouncer."

Bolt's trademark celebrations have been copied by cricketers, but here is a chance for catching the original one on a cricket field. Look out, Yuvraj.

FEBRUARY 25, 2014

Bigger, better? Sorry, no

Jonathan Wilson: Why does cricket have to succumb to the marketers' eternal need for everything to be bigger, flashier, and more in tune with youth - whatever that means?
FEBRUARY 24, 2014

Let's be honest about T20

Kamran Abbasi: The format generally, and the IPL particularly, is all about fun and entertainment. It isn't an exacting test of skill
FEBRUARY 17, 2014

Australia in South Africa 2013-14

The Johnson show

Could Mitchell Johnson carry his Ashes form to South Africa. Damn right he could. At Centurion Park he ended with a career-best 12 wickets and inflicted some potentially serious scars on the South Africans. Writing for the Guardian website, Russell Jackson says that Johnson is now a must-view event, one where you stop what you are doing and race back to the TV set. It's a remarkable tale with, you sense, more to come.

He's also now an event himself, which is an astounding thing to achieve over the course of six Tests. It's Mitch as appointment television. It's Mitch as default headliner and Mitch as TV news bulletin place-setter. You find yourself rushing back with a drink in time for the first ball of his over. It's a cage fight and we're all clamoring for a better look. For opponents it's more about endurance and survival than winning or losing. In those six Tests he's taken 49 wickets at 13.14 with a strike rate of 27.1, a rare case of numbers doing justice to what you're seeing with your own eyes.

JANUARY 14, 2014

Australia's Ashes win: a blast from the past

Ahmer Naqvi: The 5-0 result was the ultimate validation of the impulse towards an idealised notion of Australian cricket
DECEMBER 07, 2013

English cricket's pointless brainwaves

Sam Blackledge: Rebranding the domestic T20 competition smacks of just another fiddle that will only confuse fans
NOVEMBER 22, 2013

When petulant jingoism is mistaken for news

Michael Jeh: A Brisbane newspaper's campaign to vilify Stuart Broad has backfired spectacularly, and deservedly, as it wrongly portrays Australian fans as churlish and immature
NOVEMBER 20, 2013

The Official Confectionery Stall Ashes Preview

Andy Zaltzman: Andy Zaltzman provides the almost-definite preview of the Ashes series and why England should, could, or might not retain the urn
JUNE 28, 2013

Pakistan cricket

The talented Mr Najam Sethi

Mani Khawaja insists criticism against Najam Sethi's appointment as interim president of the PCB is a sign of people wanting to stir things up. He says Pakistan cricket is in good hands, even if they are largely inexperienced in cricket administration, through a satirical blog entry in the Express Tribune.

With a deteriorating infrastructure that was failing to produce quality cricketing talent, mired in controversies and allegations of nepotism and sexual misconduct, a very capable and seasoned pair of hands was needed to steer the ship back into steady waters.

And that is why the current government went with Najam Sethi, a senior journalist with no prior experience in cricketing matters whatsoever

APRIL 03, 2013

IPL: The fascination of the abomination

Peter Miller, United Kingdom: There are plenty of things to dislike about the IPL, but the cricket certainly isn't one of them
FEBRUARY 08, 2013

Chanderpaul Junior ready to take centrestage

Roger Sawh: It is not uncommon to see sons and daughters unable to live up to the 'hype' of their parents' great successes because, quite frankly, the bar has been set impossibly high
FEBRUARY 27, 2012

Australian cricket

Presenting the Ozcars

Michell Johnson's wife Jessica Bratich Johnson wore a dress by Zhivago © Getty Images

Matthew Wade's date for the Allan Border Medal awards night, Julia Barry, wore a dress she designed herself and made by Shirley Keon from Keon Couture, while Mitchell Johnson's wife, Jessica Bratich, accessorised herself. How do we know that? Cricket Australia's commitment to make the awards night a glamorous event had them send out a press release with details of those attending and what they'd be wearing - in some cases down to jewellery and accessories. The event, held at Crown Casino in Melbourne, saw players and their dates arriving in 30 cars - the press release also detailing who would arrive in which car. And, hours after Oscar night, Hollywood was in attendance too - Shane Warne turned up to be inducted into the hall of fame.

OCTOBER 09, 2006

McGrath the pantomime villain

Tim de Lisle: Dear old Glenn McGrath is at it again
SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

A good line from Monty

Tim de Lisle:
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