November 6, 2009

The threat to cricket's centre

It's not a battle between 50- and 20-over cricket, it's about who's playing. And that should worry the ICC
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Starting today, Harsha Bhogle's column will appear on Cricinfo on Fridays

More than halfway through what some thought would be a long series, the one-day international seems to be doing quite well. Stadiums in India are full, people seem quite happy to sit through 50 overs, crowds are as noisy as ever. For a patient we thought was on oxygen, the one-day international seems to be in extraordinarily robust health.

Two months ago, the critics panned another one-day series. After a hard-fought Ashes battle, England and Australia drove around the country playing each other in seven one-day games. The players said it was tiring (but one team seemed more tired than the other). Again it produced full houses and it seems things are a bit like in the movie industry, where big-ticket films routinely get trashed by the critics and deliver good numbers at the box office. So have columnists, commentators and critics lost touch with popular taste? Is the format under siege? Or do we need to delve deeper?

In recent times I have been lucky to be at two superbly organised, highly competitive cricket tournaments that delivered average returns at the box office. The Champions Trophy in South Africa and the Champions League Twenty20 produced quality cricket, some of it seriously good, but found audiences, both at the ground and in front of television sets, very choosy about which games to patronise. An England v Australia semi-final couldn't fill a relatively small ground in Centurion, and games that didn't involve home franchises were poorly attended in the Champions League - till the semi-finals and the final; and even so admission to those last games was easier than it has ever been in India.

If the value of multi-team tournaments drops - and that will automatically be reflected in sponsorship and television revenue - it could have implications for tier four, five and six games, where teams cannot survive without financial support from the ICC

So it does seem that it is the identity of the teams rather than the quality of cricket that seems to count. Where every game is a home game, crowds have been enthusiastic and ratings have been decent. Neutral games have floundered a bit. But remember, too, that the two series, England v Australia and India v Australia, have something else to offer. With the first there is a traditional rivalry that seems to rise above the occasional mismatch, and with the second there is a promise of combative cricket and an evolving antagonism that is sometimes good for sales. Maybe dreary games between teams that don't excite the senses are the ones to worry about; maybe New Zealand v Pakistan in Abu Dhabi will give us more clues. Maybe, like with most things, the context is critical.

But if we are indeed moving to the conclusion that bilateral games where one of the teams is playing at home are where audience interest lies, it has worrying implications for the ICC, which organises multi-country tournaments at one venue. It is these events that generate the revenue the ICC needs for its functioning, and more critically, for the development of the game in newer markets. So if the value of these games drops - and that will automatically be reflected in sponsorship and television revenue - it could have implications for tier four, five and six games, where teams cannot survive without financial support from the ICC. Already we have seen Scotland, Ireland and Holland playing better cricket because of more competition; and we have seen the spectacular arrival of Afghanistan. It helps that the ICC has a television deal in place till 2015, but if evidence continues to mount in favour of the bilateral one-day or Twenty20 game, the next round of rights could deliver lower revenues.

And if the IPL continues to deliver good returns for its stakeholders, not just broadcasters but advertisers and ground sponsors, that will mean more money sucked out of the global game and towards the local game. We could end up in a situation, to some extent prevalent already, where the game has large, influential local dynasties and a relatively loose, powerless centre. And I am not only talking about India, which continues to be the engine for the game, but England, Australia and South Africa. In fact, almost certainly, the England-South Africa games later this year will find greater support than the Champions Trophy did, and the India-South Africa one-day series in February will give us more pointers towards where the game is headed. As indeed will the numbers from Australia, who host Pakistan and West Indies.

But, increasingly, it does look like it isn't a battle between 50 overs and 20 overs cricket, but about who is playing it.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vakkaraju on November 7, 2009, 23:12 GMT

    It is not purely love of the game that drives cricket in India. If India Australia matches draw an audience it is one thing. But does a Ranji Trophy game however competitive generate interest in the country. Even the finals are watched by a few hundred at the most. Let us not kid ourselves. It is fashionable to watch and talk about some of these high profile matches. Real love of sports is not in our culture. It is the real reason for lack of success in olympics and other sports.

  • Sudeepm85 on November 7, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    Harsha, you couldnt have summed it any better. It is not a battle between the formats of the game. It is all about who is playing the game. Any game involving India is bound to have viewership all around the world. It is definetly not the case with other countries. And in India too, neutral matches dont attract viewership. I mean if Eng v WI is happeneing in india the viewership is going to be pale, whatever be the format of the game.The same was the case in Aus too when SLvIND was being played. It is the same everywhere. Personally i dont think League stuff helps ICC to generate money. It is a simple. no home team, imnt that bothered is the reaction of people.Now how do ICC take the game places, generate revenue? Its not that easy to answer i guess. ICC have been trying with different formats, different schedules, but nothing have clicked that great so far. Probably the indavidual boards can share a % with ICC to boost its revenues and ICC inturn uses that for taking the game places.

  • rahulbhagchandani on November 7, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    Absolutely. The emergence of club cricket in the game has created a near 9.0 richter scaled earthquake all round!! Hence, very soon a dedicated solution should be presented by the ICC. With IPL gaining extreme popularity and people waiting for the next edition just as one season ends, now, it can't be stopped. Almost the Same goes for CL. Something here which can be done is making the tournaments more complicated. Instead of holding multi-format tournaments at one particular venue, they must be hosted over multiple venues, say for example, the sub-continent and the Oceania! Similarly, the Carribean and the Africa and it goes on. Further, making bi-, tri-lateral series a stage for gaining higher position and advantage in the world cups bringing more enthusiasm for people and a sense of urgency for the players and the team and hence even if a team has already lost a series with 3 games to go, they play with a full-fledged unit and give crowds a run for their money!

  • IPLFan on November 7, 2009, 14:46 GMT

    bone101: Instead of wanting to wear national colours, they can aspire to wear their city colours. As for India not having enough talent, we can't go by the talent that we see today which is produced by the existing system of limiting opportunity to only 11 players. Look at it this way - SL is 1/50th of India's size and not that much different from India in terms of economic and social parameters. Doesn't that tell us that India should be able to produce at least a dozen teams of that quality?

    mcs: Aussies don't have to watch the IPL. You can have your own league. You can easily have 6-8 teams - Melb, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland, etc. Similarly Saffies and Poms can have their own leagues too. National teams can compete in a world cup once in four years for a world cup. And it is not necessary that these leagues should be limited to 20-20 cricket either. Let them play 5-day matches too.

  • couchman on November 7, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    I personaly think it is a battle between 50 and the long-format. Purists may not like or agree but I have a feeling that is the battle now.

  • shortofalength on November 7, 2009, 10:11 GMT

    I think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here. Cricket is a minor sport on the world stage. Sure try to expand the game by inviting other countries but the reality is that it is a minor sport even in countries that are fully fledged Test playing nations. I think that supporters in India get a distorted view of the game. Yes its huge in India, big in England and Aust but even in South Africa it ranks behind soccer and rugby, is a minor sport in NZ which has a short season, is struggling in the Windies which is not a country as such but a region that is increasingly under the influence of the US where the money in their sports attracts young athletes, both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have their own problems. Its a small group of countries with large disparities in wealth, different social make ups, attitudes to sport etc. Lets give thanks that the game does as well as it does where it is played and not kid ourselves about expansion into franchises etc.

  • TwitterJitter on November 7, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    @Neilm81 - "what is needed is more meaningful cricket for all nations to play in,that way ESPN will get their revenues from sources other than the BCCI". Are you suggesting that world cups are not meaningful? Why is that even for world cups 80% of ads/sponsorships are coming from India? Unfortunately, we are a one-sport nation. Personally, I would prefer a lot of that money go to other sports in the country and help other sportsmen. Instead most of the money is going out to a few players in India, BCCI, other boards, and players from other nations. It is not a good situation to be in. Corporates should invest some of that money in some olympic sports so that we can get some athletes. Its better than how its wasted now - contributing 80% to ICC and all that. It might sound chavunistic but look at the plight of other sports in the nation. They could sure use some infrastructure from these corporate sponsorship that is wasted by dumping it on ICC.

  • mcs_095 on November 7, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    IPLFan- deluded Indians like you make me laugh! Cricket is a game with a history built not on American style Franchises of the IPL but on the honour and passion of playing for one's country. If you get rid of nation vs. nation, you will kill the game. Australian's couldn't care less about the Dehli Dumbos or the Mumbai Egos, we love cricket because we love watching our national team taking on the world The day the ICC stops controlling cricket will be the day that cricket dies. The BCCI already is doing its best to control the game, and its influence is nothing but highly negative.

    If you think that IPL is the highest level of cricket, then you really are deluded. It removes the foundation of cricket- a contest between bat and ball. IPL and all those competitions will be nothing but 2nd grade cricket. It will never come close to replacing test cricket as the pinnacle of our game. And if it does, then I like a majority of cricket fans, will long have given up the game for dead.

  • Neilm81 on November 7, 2009, 7:45 GMT

    This debate is not about how great Indian cricket is, or Tendulkar's inning the other day(which was indeed great). Bangalore Kid,what is needed is more meaningful cricket for all nations to play in,that way ESPN will get their revenues from sources other than the BCCI. Otherwise why not just play cricket only in India all year round and let the Indian team have automatic qualification into the finals of any ICC tournament ? Cricket needs a truly international game so there are 15-20 nations playing instead of the 8 we have now.

    I'm a huge India fan and despite being upset at out exit in the ICC Twenty20 WC and Champions Trophy, it was clear that we needed to lose to get our focus back on players who need to play with a focus and hunger. This anecdotally seems to have been lost by the huge money on offer in the IPL and has created a new breed of 'soft' player that doesn't seem to have realised the efforts of people like Dravid, Tendulkar, Kumble(ie. the true Test cricketer)

  • AdityaMookerjee on November 7, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    It is not about who is playing the game, but about the involvement of the spectator. Personally, I would not watch the IPL. The last IPL, I did not watch a single match of forty overs, and I watched about four games partially. I would rather watch an India Vs Australia match, or India playing South Africa, Pakistan, etc. Today, we see the predicament Australia find's herself in. There are ten frontline players, who find themselves out of the Australian team, due to injury. Perhaps, Siddle is not considered by many to be a frontline bowler, reading some of the comments in Cricinfo,com, especially from the Australian patron's of the website. I would still watch the remainder of the cricket series, between India, and Australia.

  • vakkaraju on November 7, 2009, 23:12 GMT

    It is not purely love of the game that drives cricket in India. If India Australia matches draw an audience it is one thing. But does a Ranji Trophy game however competitive generate interest in the country. Even the finals are watched by a few hundred at the most. Let us not kid ourselves. It is fashionable to watch and talk about some of these high profile matches. Real love of sports is not in our culture. It is the real reason for lack of success in olympics and other sports.

  • Sudeepm85 on November 7, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    Harsha, you couldnt have summed it any better. It is not a battle between the formats of the game. It is all about who is playing the game. Any game involving India is bound to have viewership all around the world. It is definetly not the case with other countries. And in India too, neutral matches dont attract viewership. I mean if Eng v WI is happeneing in india the viewership is going to be pale, whatever be the format of the game.The same was the case in Aus too when SLvIND was being played. It is the same everywhere. Personally i dont think League stuff helps ICC to generate money. It is a simple. no home team, imnt that bothered is the reaction of people.Now how do ICC take the game places, generate revenue? Its not that easy to answer i guess. ICC have been trying with different formats, different schedules, but nothing have clicked that great so far. Probably the indavidual boards can share a % with ICC to boost its revenues and ICC inturn uses that for taking the game places.

  • rahulbhagchandani on November 7, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    Absolutely. The emergence of club cricket in the game has created a near 9.0 richter scaled earthquake all round!! Hence, very soon a dedicated solution should be presented by the ICC. With IPL gaining extreme popularity and people waiting for the next edition just as one season ends, now, it can't be stopped. Almost the Same goes for CL. Something here which can be done is making the tournaments more complicated. Instead of holding multi-format tournaments at one particular venue, they must be hosted over multiple venues, say for example, the sub-continent and the Oceania! Similarly, the Carribean and the Africa and it goes on. Further, making bi-, tri-lateral series a stage for gaining higher position and advantage in the world cups bringing more enthusiasm for people and a sense of urgency for the players and the team and hence even if a team has already lost a series with 3 games to go, they play with a full-fledged unit and give crowds a run for their money!

  • IPLFan on November 7, 2009, 14:46 GMT

    bone101: Instead of wanting to wear national colours, they can aspire to wear their city colours. As for India not having enough talent, we can't go by the talent that we see today which is produced by the existing system of limiting opportunity to only 11 players. Look at it this way - SL is 1/50th of India's size and not that much different from India in terms of economic and social parameters. Doesn't that tell us that India should be able to produce at least a dozen teams of that quality?

    mcs: Aussies don't have to watch the IPL. You can have your own league. You can easily have 6-8 teams - Melb, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland, etc. Similarly Saffies and Poms can have their own leagues too. National teams can compete in a world cup once in four years for a world cup. And it is not necessary that these leagues should be limited to 20-20 cricket either. Let them play 5-day matches too.

  • couchman on November 7, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    I personaly think it is a battle between 50 and the long-format. Purists may not like or agree but I have a feeling that is the battle now.

  • shortofalength on November 7, 2009, 10:11 GMT

    I think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here. Cricket is a minor sport on the world stage. Sure try to expand the game by inviting other countries but the reality is that it is a minor sport even in countries that are fully fledged Test playing nations. I think that supporters in India get a distorted view of the game. Yes its huge in India, big in England and Aust but even in South Africa it ranks behind soccer and rugby, is a minor sport in NZ which has a short season, is struggling in the Windies which is not a country as such but a region that is increasingly under the influence of the US where the money in their sports attracts young athletes, both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have their own problems. Its a small group of countries with large disparities in wealth, different social make ups, attitudes to sport etc. Lets give thanks that the game does as well as it does where it is played and not kid ourselves about expansion into franchises etc.

  • TwitterJitter on November 7, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    @Neilm81 - "what is needed is more meaningful cricket for all nations to play in,that way ESPN will get their revenues from sources other than the BCCI". Are you suggesting that world cups are not meaningful? Why is that even for world cups 80% of ads/sponsorships are coming from India? Unfortunately, we are a one-sport nation. Personally, I would prefer a lot of that money go to other sports in the country and help other sportsmen. Instead most of the money is going out to a few players in India, BCCI, other boards, and players from other nations. It is not a good situation to be in. Corporates should invest some of that money in some olympic sports so that we can get some athletes. Its better than how its wasted now - contributing 80% to ICC and all that. It might sound chavunistic but look at the plight of other sports in the nation. They could sure use some infrastructure from these corporate sponsorship that is wasted by dumping it on ICC.

  • mcs_095 on November 7, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    IPLFan- deluded Indians like you make me laugh! Cricket is a game with a history built not on American style Franchises of the IPL but on the honour and passion of playing for one's country. If you get rid of nation vs. nation, you will kill the game. Australian's couldn't care less about the Dehli Dumbos or the Mumbai Egos, we love cricket because we love watching our national team taking on the world The day the ICC stops controlling cricket will be the day that cricket dies. The BCCI already is doing its best to control the game, and its influence is nothing but highly negative.

    If you think that IPL is the highest level of cricket, then you really are deluded. It removes the foundation of cricket- a contest between bat and ball. IPL and all those competitions will be nothing but 2nd grade cricket. It will never come close to replacing test cricket as the pinnacle of our game. And if it does, then I like a majority of cricket fans, will long have given up the game for dead.

  • Neilm81 on November 7, 2009, 7:45 GMT

    This debate is not about how great Indian cricket is, or Tendulkar's inning the other day(which was indeed great). Bangalore Kid,what is needed is more meaningful cricket for all nations to play in,that way ESPN will get their revenues from sources other than the BCCI. Otherwise why not just play cricket only in India all year round and let the Indian team have automatic qualification into the finals of any ICC tournament ? Cricket needs a truly international game so there are 15-20 nations playing instead of the 8 we have now.

    I'm a huge India fan and despite being upset at out exit in the ICC Twenty20 WC and Champions Trophy, it was clear that we needed to lose to get our focus back on players who need to play with a focus and hunger. This anecdotally seems to have been lost by the huge money on offer in the IPL and has created a new breed of 'soft' player that doesn't seem to have realised the efforts of people like Dravid, Tendulkar, Kumble(ie. the true Test cricketer)

  • AdityaMookerjee on November 7, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    It is not about who is playing the game, but about the involvement of the spectator. Personally, I would not watch the IPL. The last IPL, I did not watch a single match of forty overs, and I watched about four games partially. I would rather watch an India Vs Australia match, or India playing South Africa, Pakistan, etc. Today, we see the predicament Australia find's herself in. There are ten frontline players, who find themselves out of the Australian team, due to injury. Perhaps, Siddle is not considered by many to be a frontline bowler, reading some of the comments in Cricinfo,com, especially from the Australian patron's of the website. I would still watch the remainder of the cricket series, between India, and Australia.

  • Bone101 on November 7, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    IPLfan: so I guess according to that logic; China should control the UN because they have the highest population? Come on, if the Indian team had acres of talent I could see why you would possibly want to split it up (because the rest of the teams couldn't compete). Clearly that's not the case. I think the Champions League showed the IPL for what it is - and that's second division club cricket. Yes, there were pretty dancers, yes there were lots of fireworks. And yes, locals in India had a local team to support. But the cricket was mediocre. International fixtures give us base and spirit. The problem with George W Bush's legacy is that he didn't look past is own front door, is that what cricket has become? Unilateral sycophanticism? The game of cricket doesn't belong to anyone. A kid in any part of the world that loves cricket grows up wanting to wear their national colours, and long should it be so.

  • sukhendra on November 7, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Firstly,Cricket is Cricket,whether its a T20 or an ODI or a Test match,.....people keep watching unless the interest dies.Few people who are trying to change the format of the game {eg-Sachin},.are just trying to make the game more interesting.Never forget that ODI cricket was born from a test match,......All that i feel is ODI and T20 are batting friendly,.so i would love to see the ICC make some minor changes to the game so that the bowlers can have their part in the game too. I also support the aussie coach about the long schedule.Yes,.the itinery indeed looks quite long,.many nations suffer from the same problem,..but i dont agree that intrest in ODI is dying out.Yes,IND-AUS,IND-PAk matches etc are more preferred over an IND-ZIM battle,..but the rookie nations have to play the major ones in order to improve their game.I think a max of a 5 match ODI series or a test match series is the best preferred to common fans.Shorter schedules and good sporting always keep the game ALIVE. BYE

  • SatyajitM on November 7, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    @RaghuramanR, Cann't really agree with you. You say other teams want to play T20 bcoz they cann't compete with Aus in the longer versions. Then why the hell Aus is placed at 4th place in test ranking. They have started playing good ODI from the Eng tour after a gap of almost 1.5 years. During that period, SA remained on top of the ranking for significant time. Other teams should have clamored for T20 three years back if that is the real reason (When Aus were real champ). I do appreciate the never die attitude of the Aussie team. But with due regards to current team, all their wins were close (while the losses were big) in this series. Ponting has been very lucky with the coin as well. I am pretty sure if Dhoni had won toss, Ind would have won at Hyd handsomely. The simple reason for young (and many old) cricketers going for T20 is money. The big buck they can make in short time. As far as ODI is concerned, it's in fine health provided people sense good quality contest.

  • rajukvaishnav on November 7, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    Thanks cricinfo.....I just got wat I was searching for....column from Harsha.....I am his fan.......he is sachin of Commentator......I am sure as he is worth every single penny you spend on him.......harsha, I am a big fan of rajasthan royals and would love you to be part of their coaching team. ....take care

  • Percy_Fender on November 7, 2009, 4:55 GMT

    Over the years, viewers have become more partisan towards their country.francises and players. This is true not only for the common watcher but for reporters as well.The top four teams, as Joel Garner,pointed out recently, engage each other more than the other teams. This is not because of cricketing merit alone as we all know. The rankings are, as a result not a very accurate barometer of quality just as attendance in any particular game featuring say England-Australia being a yardstick for great teams in contest.So if attendances for matches in the Chamiopn's league were small, where there were no local teams or players playing it is understandable.For instance, for me the West Indies with all their disputes will always be an exciting team to watch because the game of Cricket is synonymous with them.Pakistan in the days of the Imrans,Sarfaraazas, Majids and the Miandads were very exciting to watch too.

  • TwitterJitter on November 7, 2009, 4:54 GMT

    @asad114 - Let me the first one to tell you that none of the male cricketers from any nation excite my senses! It is good to know that Afridi and others excite your senses. :-)

  • IPLFan on November 7, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    bone101: Who is talking about skewing the game? I am saying bring talented players from all over the world, give them a chance to play at the highest level by playing for different clubs. It is this nation v nation structure that is limiting the quality of contests by imposing this artificial limitation that only 11 people from a "country" (no matter how big or small the country is) can play at the highest level. Take out that limit, form teams based on the market sizes and take talent from everywhere and distribute that talent among these teams.

  • drlimpel on November 7, 2009, 1:14 GMT

    Whoa......It was very unfair of you to label Pakistan and New Zealand as uninteresting teams which don't excite the senses. These are perhaps the two of the most mercurial sides in modern day cricket , each equipped with a bowling attack capable of sending pulses racing around the globe (the cricketing world anyway). I am dead tired of Indian and Pakistani journalists dissing each others teams while heaping praise on their own teams and harsha bhogle was the last person i expected to join this stupid trend.

  • asad114 on November 7, 2009, 0:46 GMT

    "Maybe dreary games between teams that don't excite the senses are the ones to worry about; maybe New Zealand v Pakistan in Abu Dhabi will give us more clues. Maybe, like with most things, the context is critical."

    Could you be anymore ridiculous? The Pakistan team is by a distance the most watchable team on the planet. Lets compare the bowling attacks shall we? Mohommad Amir, Mohommad Asif, Umar Gul (the best bowler in T20 cricket in the world), Shahid Afridi (also the scorer of the fastest ODI century of all time) and a quality offspinner in Saeed Ajmal. Not to mention there's a certain individual who has bowled the only two recorded deliveries at more than 100mph and he's sitting out of the team because there simply any space to fit him in there. OK now let's look at the Indian attack. Wow it really does excite the senses. Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra and oh yes ...the extremely charismatic Praveen Kumar....wow India really does excite the senses..

  • Bone101 on November 6, 2009, 23:15 GMT

    Some very interesting responses from some clearly patriotic Indian fans.....And yes India is a fantastic country with lovely people. But that's got nothing to do with international cricket. It doesn't bother me if Indian fans 'switch off' as IPLfan says because non-Indian teams are playing. I'm not concerned that governing bodies are not raking in big $$$ everyday of the week. Cricket isn't going broke.And cricket is definintely not just about making money, its about the sport itself and the quality of the contest. So to justify the skewing of the game to suit the needs of money makers or egotistical nationalism is just ridiculous.

  • sproutboy on November 6, 2009, 18:42 GMT

    vswami - I'm afraid I have to debunk your debunking re English Test crowds! The Windies series this year was the first I can remember since Zimbabwe in 2003 that has had poor attendances, no doubt due to the fact that it was hastily arranged, and because the two sides had just completed an uninspiring series in the Caribbean. For the rest of the decade, though, attendances have been excellent, and I speak as someone who goes to test matches every summer. Even against Bangladesh in 2005, there were good crowds. The main factor? From 2000 to 2005, because England were a good side. From 2005 onwards, the Ashes victory factor, which saw sell-out crowds for Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2006, and beyond. The bottom line is, if the England team are doing well, people will take notice and come and support.

  • minalpatel on November 6, 2009, 18:38 GMT

    Welcome to cricinfo Harsha,. What an inning the master blaster has played. He has entertain cricket lovers across the globe for 20 years., i am sure its a learning curve for all the Aussie youngsters who could witness master in this form. it hurts that Indian players have still miles to go in learning process. Well done; Sachin, Keep going and we Proudly say u PLAY FOR INDIA..

    Minal Patel(cousin of Jayesh Patel-(NC-USA): ur buddy): Hope to meet u in future.

  • TwitterJitter on November 6, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    @Bone101- "Firstly, cricket in an international game not soley based on the whims of India and fickle Indian crowds". Exactly! That is why ESPN is left holding the bag after last two ICC events where India departed early. You live in an utopian world. If you want to make it a reality, you need other nations to pick up the tab. ESPN is heavily dependent (80%) on Indian market to recoup the money they pay to ICC (in turn gets distributed to other boards). Advertisers from India are in turn looking for eyeballs from Indian consumer to get a return for hefty money they are coughing up to ESPN. It is an unsustainable market. IPL balances it where it guarantees certain viewership (albeit less than if India is in ICC final) and is not as risky as dependent on India reaching a certain point in ICC tournament. The only way this imbalance can be corrected is if more adverts from other nations are willing to chip into the pot and reduce dependence on one nation to cough up 70-80%.

  • saileshhhhh on November 6, 2009, 17:16 GMT

    Play less but highly qualitative and competitive cricket.

  • ww113 on November 6, 2009, 16:16 GMT

    Cricket is the sport broadcasters love.It fills endless hours of air time and provides advertisers with the opportunity to bombard the audience all day long with commercials.Regardless of who is playing and in which format,there will be always be a big TV audience,particularly in the sub continent.

  • Abhinandan on November 6, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    welcome Bhogle....you are the only thing missing on cricinfo

  • proteasfan99 on November 6, 2009, 15:07 GMT

    any doubts bwt tendulkar's class were eliminated yestadae...i think the 2nd division cricket league should have players from the test playing countries except Bangladesh playing cricket against the rising nations...promotion can then be contested if they can beat such countries such as Australia A, India and S.A A sides...lets save test cricket but we can do with a little of it to save the players too...

  • Neilm81 on November 6, 2009, 13:11 GMT

    I think IPL fan must be having a laugh about having India take over the running of world cricket and his/her arguments are flawed. I am an avid India cricket fan, but even more so I am fan of all good cricket, regardless of who its played by. I can't imagine that Indian fans would pass up an opportunity to watch two non Indian clubs in a match. The Champions League had reasonably good attendance considering there were no Indian clubs in the final. Multi-team tournaments have strong TV interest from the countries playing and if the tickets are priced sensibly, the locals would attend as well. (The 50-over 2007 WC was a classic failure on this count)

    To deny the opportunity to keen countries like Ireland to join the top tier is making the pie bigger for all. Rather then try to make cricket an Indian only game, it should be looking outwards. More players mean more potential stars.An opportunity was wasted when the kenyans were not allowed to build on their success in the 2003 World Cup

  • IPLFan on November 6, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    "Cricket's financial future is likely to be driven by 20-25 clubs spread mainly over India, Australia, SAF." Absolutely.

    btw, Harsha is only talking about stadium attendance for multi-team events here, but the TV viewership also works along similar lines. If you take a typical ICC tournament, only about 10% of the matches involve India. Which means 80% of the market is tuned off for the remaining 90% of the matches. Whereas, if you play a 7-match odi series involving India and any other team, you have that 80% of the world market watching every game. So what ICC earns by staging a world cup lasting six weeks and involving over a dozen teams, BCCI can earn the same amount by just having a bilateral series of 4 weeks. With that kind of difference in efficiency, ICC can never hope to compete with BCCI.

  • vswami on November 6, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    @KiwiRocker .. that English fans love test cricket is one of the biggest myths going around. English fans love Ashes cricket .. barely 3000 people turned up on most days to watch the test matches against West Indies. More than 50% of the population doesnt even have access to cricket on television, and most of the rest have access because they want to watch football. I would love to see published figures on the number of people watching non Ashes cricket matches on Sky. Pakistanis cry out for tests in their home country, barely a few thousand people including school children bothered to watch the tests against Sri Lanka. Atleast BCCI is doing all it can to popularise and bring in more people to watch the game. Instead of constantly punching BCCI below the belt ( while running to it with a begging bowl in breathtaking displays of shameless hypocrisy), other boards would do well to study their own domestic markets and get off their ivory towers and do something about getting bums on seats

  • tranmerechris on November 6, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Agree with AmitSinhaDelhi. T20 would work well as a version of football's Champions League for clubs - no reason why it couldn't include Windies and England too. 40 over ODI's would work better for TV. Also, play the ODIs before Tests - it builds the anticipation.

  • AmitSinhaDelhi on November 6, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    Given the work load on players, ICC will have to seriously think in terms of keeping T20 as club level only and not have any bilateral matches or multi nation tournaments. They will have to handle T20 like soccer leagues and keep international cricket as the longer version. Further, there is a case for shortening the ODI to a 5- hour affair, say 40 overs. It will take nothing away from ODI and will require different skills than T20. Cricket's financial future is likely to be driven by 20-25 clubs spread mainly over India, Australia, SAF. The benefit to ICC will be that clearly 40 overs ODI between nations will be it's area of operation. I thnk shortening the ODI to 5 hours or thereabouts is a necessity. Also ICC dabbling into both T20 and ODI is just not tenable and player injuries will mount.

  • Nuxxy on November 6, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    When considering the Champions Trophy and Champions League, don't forget that it was a lot of matches played at only a few stadia. So it's the same batches of home fans you're trying to get to watch multiple games, where, for a lot of people, they can only spare the time and/or money to go to one or two games. The multi-game series in England and now in India toured the country, with new home fans for each game.

  • U.A.1985 on November 6, 2009, 11:06 GMT

    @IPLFan

    It is important for you to realize that highest level of cricket is international cricket not domestinc structure like IPL. If IPL is exciting it is because there are international players playing in IPL teams otherwise Ranji Trophy was enough for India. If you over power one member i.e. India, quality of cricketers from other countries will fall making IPL unattractive.

    Maintaining neutrality and staying away from that 80% formula of yours is perhaps not only in favour of cricket but also IPL...

    Pakistan did not play IPL but they are still the T20 winners and pity isnt it they wrnt involved in Champions League....that is like having a World Cup without Australia...

  • mayurbaruah on November 6, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Cricket has the habit of thrwoing up upsets as again evident from the 5th ODI btwn IND-AUS. 50 over cricket is exciting NOT bcoz Sachin hit that magnificent 175 BUT of the intensity of the followings!! Cricket clearly won with all the support amidst the hoopla that it mgt be experiencing a slow death...Test Cricket needs all the support it can get. Ireland's application to the ICC for a FULL MEMBER status is well and truly absorbing matter as bcoz they have displayed some wonderful brand of cricket as too has Afghanistan !! I would surely wanna have a look at newer markets coming into cricket...Eagerly waiting for the new FTP post 2012...!!

  • Hasan-Shahid on November 6, 2009, 10:25 GMT

    I agree with Harsha in some extent:But I would like to add few points too. It's true that who's playing- does matter a lot but it's also true that we are experiencing fewer crowds in ODIs recently. Only England and India have capacity crowds on their home soil,Australian or even South African grounds do not have full houses, these days. No need to mention teams playing each other on neutral grounds. On the other hand T20 attracts much bigger crowds, we saw a jampacked MCG when India played against Australia. We saw good crowds in the last World T20 in England, even smaller teams got good support. We saw Bangladesh and India had fullhouse at Trent Bridge. Even the World T20 in SA had decent crowds. Thus we can see that people are loving this format whoever plays this game.

  • Ilin on November 6, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    well @ipl fan said one thing correct,that icc and world cricket is 80% depend on bcci.acb,ecb,csa,pcb always begged bcci to send indian team in their nations.the present over excessive cricket b\w india and australia is an example.

  • RaghuramanR on November 6, 2009, 9:59 GMT

    It does look like the gap between Australia and rest is huge. The only advantage with 20-20 is that any team could win, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Well almost. As the duration goes longer, teams are going to be found out. This is precisely the reason why other teams want 20-20. They know that they can stand Australia or even South Africa for that matter. No team is going to beat Australia with one player or playing well for 30 minutes or one session. They have to play well consistently for however long they have to play. The clamour for 20-20 in atleast India is because we know this is the only format where we can beat Australia or South Africa. Harsha is trying to paint India with good colour, but the point is that India has no clothes. Tendulkar or no Tendulkar.

  • chachax on November 6, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    Why Harsha, I have seen some matches between the local teams and the visitors not getting the crowds that somehow keep turning up for India matches. You will recollect the fact that during the Champions Trophy, the tickets for the India-Pakistan match were sold out long before the South Africa matches. This also seems to be the case for matches in England, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The only other team which seems to be capable currently of pulling in the crowds seems to be Australia, and even then lags far behind. Having said that, India is far far away from the potential and quality that we like to see - this series shows clearly that even if we manage to win it from here, we are stretched and sometimes overcome by the Australia C team.

  • afridi102 on November 6, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    IPLfan is Lalit modi...

  • Rajit on November 6, 2009, 9:02 GMT

    Absolutely bang on!!! It;s the quality of two teams involved which stirs up the viewers interest more than anything else.Also multi nation tournaments will not attract that much interest specially for the in stadia crowds if the home team is not involved & it will eventually lead to decrease in commercials.Thats whay Cricket Australia also moved away from the annual tri-series.

  • KiwiRocker- on November 6, 2009, 8:51 GMT

    I think it is rather unfair to compare attendance in ODI matches in India and other countries for several reasons. Main being that Indian population makes a huge difference. Countries like New Zealand have a far smaller population so attendance will be equally small. I can guarantee that you pitch Pakistan and New Zealand playing against each other in India, they probably will get as much attendance as India VS Australia did.

    Problem lies with IPL which is ruining ODI and test cricket and cricket in general. Pakistani players did not even participate in IPL, Champions league this year and yet became world champions. IPL is an attempt by BCCI to somehow push Mediocre team India to top of world. So far, it has spectacularly failed as India seems to be losing in ICC champion's trophy, Champions league and now against a 4th string Australian XI. A good 'cricket contest' between any one will be followed. A pure example is excellent attendance for test matches in England and Australia.

  • abhijithsimha on November 6, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    IPL teams when they migrated to South Africa, were extremely well received given their abnormal timing (matches starting at 12:30 pm). But was it the case with their local T20 competition??? i would say improbable. So how can we expect diamond eagles who dont attract crowds enough to fill the 20,000 capacity stadium in their native country to draw crowds that fill stadia that can hold 40-50 thousand people elsewhere. This game has always been about the Stars who can draw people. Not necessarily Indian stars, prime example for that are the Deccan Chargers, who dont have any big Indian names, but the likes of Gilly and Symmo manage to fill the stadium. A Sachin century leads to so many more ppl joining the game rather than a Watson century, The survival of this game depends on how well the stars play. saying that we cant expect a full stadium for a Ranji match Sachin is playing in.. Have matches with significance, and the stars playing them, this way no cricket will ever run dry.

  • Tejna on November 6, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Harsha, You hit the nail on the head! Let's face it and India vs anybody in Mumbai be test, odi, t20, 1over, whatever is gonna bring in a capacity crowd with another 100 000 people outside the stadium trying to get in, and 1billion people worldwide wacthing, then lets say a West Indies vs New Zealand...and I think it's not so much about the cricket loving Indians around the world (me included) but really about the quality. India just makes everything interesting :) and thats what we love about India, we love the drama they create...take last nights match India vs Aus...we had it in the bag with that wonderful innings from Sachin Tendulkar...and then we threw a game in hand...India lost! Aus didn't win! That's why an India vs anybody series anywhere in the world is so interesting! I agree with Harsha that it's not about what format is being played, but who plays it! I always believed that every form of cricket be it Tests, ODI's, T20, 5 over, 1 over, has it's place & will draw a crowd.

  • tick on November 6, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    well i agree with harsha.but strengh in stadiums is also determined not only by quality but also quantity.a clear example is that of VB trination series that has been abandoned because of too mny meaningless games.what harsha misses is the series much greater than overhyped ashes and that is PAKISTAN vs INDIA.we have seen in t20 as well as champions trophy that the attendence in grounds and the atmosphere created by fans was at its peak even when they played in england and southafrica.as compared to the pin drop silence crowds of ashes.imagine this series in pakistan or india and on the next day talk about future of 50 over cricket.

  • narenkash on November 6, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    From my side i enjoy all form crickets except 20-20 some how i find T20 world cup interesting but all other cricket seems sense less cricket. We don't get to watch Sachin 175 or a fight btw bat and ball. And i completely agree with Harsha for his point of view to see cricket's further. Its the good cricket that attracts true fan rather any sense less cricket. We always enjoy watching India playing cricket against good team it makes you passionate about your country. For me it's high time we should not criticize cricket rather enjoy some good games btw India & Aus. And i have a feeling India is going to win next 2 matches and everyone will stop taking about the death of ODI.

  • IPLFan on November 6, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    bone101: Who wants to watch IPL? The people of India who make up 80% of the cricket market, that's who. We need get beyond thinking only in terms of "countries", as if all countries are equal. You talk about cricket's "global reach", but 80% of that reach is in India. Does it make sense then to treat India as just another country on par with say, New Zealand or West Indies? It is that kind of thinking that has got ICC to where it is today. IPL fixes it by having more Indian teams, a team for every Indian city, so that Indians can enjoy more matches. Sure there are lot of talented players outside India (especially in Australia and South Africa), that's why bring them in to play for these IPL teams. So that way it aligns the teams perfectly with the market. India has 80% of the world's market, so have more Indian teams. There is talent elsewhere, so distribute that talent among these teams.

  • Sups93 on November 6, 2009, 7:11 GMT

    Hey IPL fan we all love IPL, the CLT20 and those club tournaments. But u better need to know that IPL and the like are tourneys where players main tempt is to cash in and not play in. Now u better tell me a $5.5 million KP would not bother to throw away his wicket for RCB which was evident in IPL2. While for playing for the Poms he would knw that all hopes are riding on him, he play in the most sensible way and see England through though only for a paltry pay there. Club-level tourneys r here to stay I salute His Royal Highness Lalit Modi for that but you need to realise that Nation V Nation is the backbone, blood, nerves, heart of the GREAT GAME we love.

  • Bone101 on November 6, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    IPL fan you can not be serious when you say,

    'India should take over the role of managing world cricket from ICC. Club-based leagues like IPL and Champions League should expand further.'

    Firstly, cricket in an international game not soley based on the whims of India and fickle Indian crowds. Who wants to watch IPL cricket where basically there is a few mercenary players mixed with punters who no one as ever heard of outside of India? Get real, as the champions league showed those franchises don't even stand up against a first class level of team. Boring!

    The best part about cricket is it's global reach and it's great that more countries want to give it a crack at the top level. Clearly though, there would have to be some sort of divisional structure so umatched teams wern't regularly playing each other.

    Who knows, the next Tendulkar, Ponting or Warne might be Irish. Go the ICC and spead the love!

  • IPLFan on November 6, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    Looch: It is simple. For minnow countries, it is always easier to produce one or two good cricketers than to produce an entire decent team. With club structure, those individual players can get a chance to play at the highest level, make a name for themselves and inspire rest of their countrymen to take up cricket. With nation vs nation structure, their talent goes wasted, their team continues to be a minnow and the interest for the game in those countries never catches up.

  • heesam3 on November 6, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    As always Harsha has got it right this time too.Though Harsha has changed his or rather got his hair some style! ,his unique way of analyzing the game has not changed.I guess to make the game more interesting ICC should have the' tier tournaments ' .For eg India,Australia,Pakistan,South Africa playing a tournament &Bangladesh,Zimbabwe,Kenya fighting it out with each other.This will solve the issue of non patronage of the home crowd for the neutral matches as these can provide nail bitters matches.All said and done, the bilateral series are going to continue to get the best viewership both in ground as well in drawing rooms as we all are Hero Worshipers and we love to see our heroes performing for us the way we want ,though it may be a scenario of David vs Goliath!

  • Looch on November 6, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    Great to se Harsha Bogle getting a column at Cricinfo, he is one of favourite commentators and always makes a good point backed up logic. Shame to see IPLFan continue his obscene obsession with everything IPL. Club leauges will do NOTHING for the players development, only international exposure will improve quality. I am amazed you cannot see that.

  • Rooboy on November 6, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    Seemed like a pretty decent crowd at last night's match, so it's a good sign when so many are prepared to turn up to watch Australia's B team in action ...

  • Ilin on November 6, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    also i suggests that there should be some matches in small venues.people belong to major cities becomes bore of so much of cricket.they are regular.they are use to of high level of cricket.now the ranji experiments in india,where bcci is holding the matches in small and negligible and non regular venues like meerut,where stars like dravid,kaif,uthappa,rp etc playing,in the ranji match,is a huge success.even crowd appreciating both teams.match refree said that he never saw such a huge crowd in a ranji match.so its a good positive sign for cricket,as there was huge crowd gathered in a ranji match.now you can just imagine what happen if an international match will be held there..//,..not only in india,this step should be taken by all nations and icc too,that they should give some matches in small venues where the quality cricket has been absent since its origin.matches should be shifted to small and NON REGULAR cricket venues.mark my words harsha,it would be a huge successful experiment

  • TestCricketUltimateCricket on November 6, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Hi Harsha, I'm a big fan of yours. Its great to see you on Cricinfo.

    Amazing column!!! I agree with your views. Yes,teams sell better than the quality of cricket. Its always been like that. This is because with teams you get identity,you get history ,rivalry etc. Something that you cannot substitute for.

    As far as poor response to multinational events is concerned, it is indeed a worry(specially for you and ESS).This happened in WC 2003, we blamed it on format of the tournament and how it allowed poor teams to play more games.It again happened 4 years later in WI, we blamed it on early exit of India and Pakistan and higher ticket rates. I think we are running out of reasons now.

  • Ilin on November 6, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    it sure is a definite point to raise that game between india australia is pulling so much of crowd whereas on the other hand there are very few people sitting in the stadium in abu dhabi.its not even the question of t-20 or tests or odis,its the matter of quality and competitiveness of cricket.you can see all the matches between india and aussies been nail biters whereas in abu dhabi the game b\w paki and kiwis was all one sided.who wants single domination?nobody wants.infact if T-20 will have this single domination in games like nly few teams become superpower in the format,then nobody will watch them.eveyone wants competition.

  • 68704 on November 6, 2009, 4:58 GMT

    I think we should not be deceived by the aus-India and the england australia turnouts and vieweships. The ICC is killing the game and quickly.Look at the sort of injuries to the Australian team at the beginning of their season and that is because they have been playing non-stop since November of last year. India is just starting its season and I shudder to think of what our injury position will be by the time the cricket T20 world cup happens in West Indies. Cricket is heading towards IC thanks to the greed of the various boards and leading the pack is the BCCI> Companies think of the long term and the short term. No sane person will kill the long term for the short term. If Cricket is surviving it is because of the Tendulkars and the Pontings of the world. Give them a cnance to last and the game too will survive. sridhar

  • Sups93 on November 6, 2009, 4:44 GMT

    Harsha is absoloutely to-the-point in pointing out that it solely matters who is playing and is not a battle between the 3 beautiful forms of the game. Talking about India where most people pass out their lives in the daily hustle bustle and some even struggling to manage two square meals a day, who has the time to go and enjoy the thrilling super over between two teams called eagles and sharks at Kotla but on the contrary watching the Indian team play and sachin scoring a breathtaking 175 at Hyederabad is a fantasy of every Indian. This fact was first proved in the ICC Champions Trophy in India the Indian team attracted packed houses while matches involving other teams just faded away leading to a commentator on air saying "People in India are crazy about just 'Indian cricket' and not 'every cricket'. Wonder how will India receive the 2011 WC!!

  • AB99 on November 6, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    There is an overdose of cricket these days ... it gets boring beyond a stage to see any form of cricket day in and day out. However, competitive cricket series between well matched teams are interesting. Eg. the match at Kotla was more engrosing than the one at Vadodara as there was a factor of the mystery of the pitch. Overall, one shd expect audiences attending matches between good teams and well matched contests - even the India vs Australia test series in 2008 had good viewership and audience. The satisfaction of a multi course meal cannot be derived from instant noodles and soup that T20 dishes out.

  • IPLFan on November 6, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    First of all, congratulations to Cricinfo for getting Harsha Bhogle to write a column for them. The average quality of their columnists must have more than quadrupled now with his addition :-)

    I agree with him that ICC's future is doomed, but unlike him, I don't find it a worrying development. There is little point in hoping that we can build quality teams in Ireland, Scotland or Canada. That premise itself is flawed. Even if you can develop good players in those countries, it will be through club leagues like IPL, not through nation vs nation cricket.

    India should take over the role of managing world cricket from ICC. Club-based leagues like IPL and Champions League should expand further. If we find that 50-over cricket has not yet lost its popularity, then maybe it is time for IPL to hold two tournaments a year - one for 20-20 and another for 50-50. But yes, we should move towards a structure where most matches can have a home team.

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  • IPLFan on November 6, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    First of all, congratulations to Cricinfo for getting Harsha Bhogle to write a column for them. The average quality of their columnists must have more than quadrupled now with his addition :-)

    I agree with him that ICC's future is doomed, but unlike him, I don't find it a worrying development. There is little point in hoping that we can build quality teams in Ireland, Scotland or Canada. That premise itself is flawed. Even if you can develop good players in those countries, it will be through club leagues like IPL, not through nation vs nation cricket.

    India should take over the role of managing world cricket from ICC. Club-based leagues like IPL and Champions League should expand further. If we find that 50-over cricket has not yet lost its popularity, then maybe it is time for IPL to hold two tournaments a year - one for 20-20 and another for 50-50. But yes, we should move towards a structure where most matches can have a home team.

  • AB99 on November 6, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    There is an overdose of cricket these days ... it gets boring beyond a stage to see any form of cricket day in and day out. However, competitive cricket series between well matched teams are interesting. Eg. the match at Kotla was more engrosing than the one at Vadodara as there was a factor of the mystery of the pitch. Overall, one shd expect audiences attending matches between good teams and well matched contests - even the India vs Australia test series in 2008 had good viewership and audience. The satisfaction of a multi course meal cannot be derived from instant noodles and soup that T20 dishes out.

  • Sups93 on November 6, 2009, 4:44 GMT

    Harsha is absoloutely to-the-point in pointing out that it solely matters who is playing and is not a battle between the 3 beautiful forms of the game. Talking about India where most people pass out their lives in the daily hustle bustle and some even struggling to manage two square meals a day, who has the time to go and enjoy the thrilling super over between two teams called eagles and sharks at Kotla but on the contrary watching the Indian team play and sachin scoring a breathtaking 175 at Hyederabad is a fantasy of every Indian. This fact was first proved in the ICC Champions Trophy in India the Indian team attracted packed houses while matches involving other teams just faded away leading to a commentator on air saying "People in India are crazy about just 'Indian cricket' and not 'every cricket'. Wonder how will India receive the 2011 WC!!

  • 68704 on November 6, 2009, 4:58 GMT

    I think we should not be deceived by the aus-India and the england australia turnouts and vieweships. The ICC is killing the game and quickly.Look at the sort of injuries to the Australian team at the beginning of their season and that is because they have been playing non-stop since November of last year. India is just starting its season and I shudder to think of what our injury position will be by the time the cricket T20 world cup happens in West Indies. Cricket is heading towards IC thanks to the greed of the various boards and leading the pack is the BCCI> Companies think of the long term and the short term. No sane person will kill the long term for the short term. If Cricket is surviving it is because of the Tendulkars and the Pontings of the world. Give them a cnance to last and the game too will survive. sridhar

  • Ilin on November 6, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    it sure is a definite point to raise that game between india australia is pulling so much of crowd whereas on the other hand there are very few people sitting in the stadium in abu dhabi.its not even the question of t-20 or tests or odis,its the matter of quality and competitiveness of cricket.you can see all the matches between india and aussies been nail biters whereas in abu dhabi the game b\w paki and kiwis was all one sided.who wants single domination?nobody wants.infact if T-20 will have this single domination in games like nly few teams become superpower in the format,then nobody will watch them.eveyone wants competition.

  • TestCricketUltimateCricket on November 6, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Hi Harsha, I'm a big fan of yours. Its great to see you on Cricinfo.

    Amazing column!!! I agree with your views. Yes,teams sell better than the quality of cricket. Its always been like that. This is because with teams you get identity,you get history ,rivalry etc. Something that you cannot substitute for.

    As far as poor response to multinational events is concerned, it is indeed a worry(specially for you and ESS).This happened in WC 2003, we blamed it on format of the tournament and how it allowed poor teams to play more games.It again happened 4 years later in WI, we blamed it on early exit of India and Pakistan and higher ticket rates. I think we are running out of reasons now.

  • Ilin on November 6, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    also i suggests that there should be some matches in small venues.people belong to major cities becomes bore of so much of cricket.they are regular.they are use to of high level of cricket.now the ranji experiments in india,where bcci is holding the matches in small and negligible and non regular venues like meerut,where stars like dravid,kaif,uthappa,rp etc playing,in the ranji match,is a huge success.even crowd appreciating both teams.match refree said that he never saw such a huge crowd in a ranji match.so its a good positive sign for cricket,as there was huge crowd gathered in a ranji match.now you can just imagine what happen if an international match will be held there..//,..not only in india,this step should be taken by all nations and icc too,that they should give some matches in small venues where the quality cricket has been absent since its origin.matches should be shifted to small and NON REGULAR cricket venues.mark my words harsha,it would be a huge successful experiment

  • Rooboy on November 6, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    Seemed like a pretty decent crowd at last night's match, so it's a good sign when so many are prepared to turn up to watch Australia's B team in action ...

  • Looch on November 6, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    Great to se Harsha Bogle getting a column at Cricinfo, he is one of favourite commentators and always makes a good point backed up logic. Shame to see IPLFan continue his obscene obsession with everything IPL. Club leauges will do NOTHING for the players development, only international exposure will improve quality. I am amazed you cannot see that.

  • heesam3 on November 6, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    As always Harsha has got it right this time too.Though Harsha has changed his or rather got his hair some style! ,his unique way of analyzing the game has not changed.I guess to make the game more interesting ICC should have the' tier tournaments ' .For eg India,Australia,Pakistan,South Africa playing a tournament &Bangladesh,Zimbabwe,Kenya fighting it out with each other.This will solve the issue of non patronage of the home crowd for the neutral matches as these can provide nail bitters matches.All said and done, the bilateral series are going to continue to get the best viewership both in ground as well in drawing rooms as we all are Hero Worshipers and we love to see our heroes performing for us the way we want ,though it may be a scenario of David vs Goliath!