October 21, 2011

Fewer games or smaller profits for Indian cricket

The implications of the vast amount of cricket that's being played are finally being felt in terms of viewership and revenues
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And so, after spending much time and money, after generating much hope and enthusiasm among lovers of Test cricket, the ICC Test Championship has more or less been put back by four years, to a rather distant 2017. Cricket will have had three or four world events in between. Much can change between now and 2017. I greatly fear that the ICC Test Championship will go down as a romantic idea that fell at the doorstep of television funding.

It is important to understand that different people view this game differently. The players, most of the media, and some administrators, represent the more romantic side of cricket. They want the game retained as it was in their childhood, and enjoy the relative timelessness of it all. Arrayed against them (in a manner of speaking, since accountants can be cricket lovers too!) are the number crunchers: people who will do the sums, add and subtract numbers and work out if a Test championship is indeed a profitable venture. You can be passionate, but nobody is in the business of losing money.

Every time I want to feel the pulse of cricket in India, I speak to media buyers - people who have the responsibility of spending money that belongs to their clients. Contrary to the widely held view of such people in the money markets, media buyers need to be responsible folk, since they are, eventually, answerable. The opinion of media buyers is an aggregation of what corporations interested in sport believe, and so it is a fair snapshot of the popularity of the game. The view of the media buyer is also critical to the rights holders, because they have to recover money that has already been spent.

You can understand why ESPN STAR Sports would have preferred an ICC tournament played over 50 overs over a Test championship. I suspect the ICC would have had the option of replacing one with the other at a lower rights fee, but the money that flows in from television rights funds almost all the cricket-playing nations, and the ICC cannot take a cut on that. The only option, therefore, would be to put a Test championship into the calendar while inviting bids for the next issue of television rights.

And so, in what must be rather humbling for all of us who like to have a say in where the world game should go, we don't count. In the commercial world that sport needs necessarily to exist in, it is not the ICC's cricket committee, made up of some respected names, that decides on a Test championship but the media buyers and sponsors in different parts of the world. Well, actually, India.

This has implications for cricket. Healthy as Test cricket might seem on the surface, it ranks third among the three forms of the game in terms of advertiser interest, which is a direct reflection of public interest. And it would be fair to say that outside of England, and occasionally Australia, India and South Africa, it may not be a good business proposition; that maybe the much-maligned one-day international still funds the much-feted Test match.

Something else is happening in India that might have a bearing on the future of the game here. A friend recently told me that for the first time since he can remember, nobody asked him if he could get them passes for the one-day international against England in Delhi -- the stronghold of "pass culture". Now that might be too little evidence to base a conclusion on but it is an indicator that Indian audiences now believe there is too much cricket thrust on them.

And so they will prioritise. A friend who works closely on the business side of television told me recently that only two questions seem to matter in the viewership stakes. Are India playing? And are India winning? He might have a point because we recently had an excellent Champions League that not many people watched.

In the days ahead, Indian cricket will either have to offer less to its fans or live with less rights money per game coming its way. It is still a huge market but for the first time the implications of too much cricket are starting to be felt in terms of viewership and revenues.

So 2017, by the looks of it, for the ICC Test Championship, and some breathing space for the teams placed 3-6.

ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | October 27, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    When there is no consistency the viewers will fail to watch... back those days, in 90s people used to put leave to offices and stay back to watch cricket at their home, thought we were not the supreme power to play cricket, yet we were winning 70% of the matches or at least until a semi finalists. but today, we either get kicked out in the first round like 2007 world cup or win it hands down like in 2011 WC. BCCI has completely commercialized the cricket body by introducing IPL, which make people to just think slogging is everything... except for those to watch the test match with real interest and a cricket ball in their hand, the test cricket is a boring 5 day process.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Fall in the TV ratings is also because of the viewers moving to the online streming of matches :)

  • POSTED BY STRAIGHT_TALK on | October 23, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    What has been thrust on the audience in the name of marketing and taking the game to deep interiors is coming back hard to hit the game itself. While time is money and every new generation has less time than its previous one, the obvious preference would be to maximize from the little time available. However, cricket is a game of skills that transcend beyond the practitioners and touch upon the hearts of knowledgeable audience which understands the nuances and beauty. To state that a T20 or an ODI produces result as compared to a Test match is putting things too simplistically. A hard fought draw and a see saw battle is anyday preferred to a boring ODI or a T20 when 600 to 400+ runs are scored on ultra-small grounds and flat pitches with heavy bats. It is possible to restore the Tests' status ONLY IF the ICC (or is it BCCI?) has the interest to work on it. This article is only a justification by a strong media-cum-marketing man who states his helplessness after doing the damage.

  • POSTED BY seminoma on | October 22, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    ''Is India Playing? Is India winning?". Good to know that for the spectators India comes ahead of the IPL or the CL teams, unlike for the administrators and franchises.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I have a very good idea. There are 10 test playing nations so each nation should play four series in a year and not more than that. By doing this "too much cricket" can be avoided as well as it will attract more audiences during the matches rather than half of the stadium remaining empty. It should be made in this similar fashion to avoid excess cricket. They are playing nearly 250 days of cricket in a year and offcourse it wont attract much fans if its a daily routine. Its a sport so it must be made exciting whenever a series commences rather now its like "one more series huh" in the minds of people. Something should be made otherwise the game is going to lose its fame. Also the T20 world cup should be made four years once rather than two years once otherwise the term "World Cup" remains senseless.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    I think the IPL adds to a lot of cricket. Having the IPL once every two years and every other year in between, we could have the CL. This could help cricket viewers and cricket players interested. This would also go a long distance in providing sufficient rest for the players to adjust to the cricketing calendar.

  • POSTED BY cricpolitics on | October 22, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    What is Champions league. When and where was it played?

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    I have watched the India-Eng Series in England.To be honest i liked it.India may have lost but i liked the skills of English bowlers.India should produce strong-fit-fast bowlers. Instead of organizing matches in same places again and again we should take the game to smaller places like Guwahati,Patna,Rajkot etc where people are waiting to see matches. We should not criticize IPL/T20 as these tournaments are doing what test cricket has not been able to do for quite sometime now- generating money and interest or vice versa. Killing IPL or T20 won't help test cricket.If test cricket is dying we should find ways to develop it. If one day cricket is losing ground we should develop it.Killing one form for other will not serve the purpose. Also, we should not forget people are getting busier- schools,offices,colleges,exams,business etc . They can't take holidays to see test matches.I could not see World Cup because i had my exams then so ONE AUDIENCE less. But i still love cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Harsha while conveying the sponsors' order of preference for the three varieties of cricket, has deliberately avoided stating the obvious: The collusion of broadcasters and administrators of cricket ie BCCI, in deliberately downgrading Test cricket by playing them on lifeless, batsman friendly pitches. The powers who control the game know very well that Test Cricket when played on bowler friendly pitches between major cricketing nations like India,Australia,England, South Africa and Pakistan (especially in the traditional Test centres like Chepauk, Brabourne, Eden gardens,Bangalore etc.) will attract a huge audience both on and off the ground. And then it will be difficult to find space in the calendar for spreading the cash rich T20s, which are played purely for private greed and do a great deal of harm for the truest form of the game. The cricket watching public has unequivocally given a thumbs down to the Champions league T20s and other club matches. But will the powers listen?

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 22, 2011, 2:35 GMT

    Sad state of affairs. I was hanging on the Oz v SL series recently, to see if Oz can grab back 4th spot & qualify for the Test Championship. The rankings are meaningless anyway.

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | October 27, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    When there is no consistency the viewers will fail to watch... back those days, in 90s people used to put leave to offices and stay back to watch cricket at their home, thought we were not the supreme power to play cricket, yet we were winning 70% of the matches or at least until a semi finalists. but today, we either get kicked out in the first round like 2007 world cup or win it hands down like in 2011 WC. BCCI has completely commercialized the cricket body by introducing IPL, which make people to just think slogging is everything... except for those to watch the test match with real interest and a cricket ball in their hand, the test cricket is a boring 5 day process.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Fall in the TV ratings is also because of the viewers moving to the online streming of matches :)

  • POSTED BY STRAIGHT_TALK on | October 23, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    What has been thrust on the audience in the name of marketing and taking the game to deep interiors is coming back hard to hit the game itself. While time is money and every new generation has less time than its previous one, the obvious preference would be to maximize from the little time available. However, cricket is a game of skills that transcend beyond the practitioners and touch upon the hearts of knowledgeable audience which understands the nuances and beauty. To state that a T20 or an ODI produces result as compared to a Test match is putting things too simplistically. A hard fought draw and a see saw battle is anyday preferred to a boring ODI or a T20 when 600 to 400+ runs are scored on ultra-small grounds and flat pitches with heavy bats. It is possible to restore the Tests' status ONLY IF the ICC (or is it BCCI?) has the interest to work on it. This article is only a justification by a strong media-cum-marketing man who states his helplessness after doing the damage.

  • POSTED BY seminoma on | October 22, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    ''Is India Playing? Is India winning?". Good to know that for the spectators India comes ahead of the IPL or the CL teams, unlike for the administrators and franchises.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I have a very good idea. There are 10 test playing nations so each nation should play four series in a year and not more than that. By doing this "too much cricket" can be avoided as well as it will attract more audiences during the matches rather than half of the stadium remaining empty. It should be made in this similar fashion to avoid excess cricket. They are playing nearly 250 days of cricket in a year and offcourse it wont attract much fans if its a daily routine. Its a sport so it must be made exciting whenever a series commences rather now its like "one more series huh" in the minds of people. Something should be made otherwise the game is going to lose its fame. Also the T20 world cup should be made four years once rather than two years once otherwise the term "World Cup" remains senseless.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    I think the IPL adds to a lot of cricket. Having the IPL once every two years and every other year in between, we could have the CL. This could help cricket viewers and cricket players interested. This would also go a long distance in providing sufficient rest for the players to adjust to the cricketing calendar.

  • POSTED BY cricpolitics on | October 22, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    What is Champions league. When and where was it played?

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    I have watched the India-Eng Series in England.To be honest i liked it.India may have lost but i liked the skills of English bowlers.India should produce strong-fit-fast bowlers. Instead of organizing matches in same places again and again we should take the game to smaller places like Guwahati,Patna,Rajkot etc where people are waiting to see matches. We should not criticize IPL/T20 as these tournaments are doing what test cricket has not been able to do for quite sometime now- generating money and interest or vice versa. Killing IPL or T20 won't help test cricket.If test cricket is dying we should find ways to develop it. If one day cricket is losing ground we should develop it.Killing one form for other will not serve the purpose. Also, we should not forget people are getting busier- schools,offices,colleges,exams,business etc . They can't take holidays to see test matches.I could not see World Cup because i had my exams then so ONE AUDIENCE less. But i still love cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Harsha while conveying the sponsors' order of preference for the three varieties of cricket, has deliberately avoided stating the obvious: The collusion of broadcasters and administrators of cricket ie BCCI, in deliberately downgrading Test cricket by playing them on lifeless, batsman friendly pitches. The powers who control the game know very well that Test Cricket when played on bowler friendly pitches between major cricketing nations like India,Australia,England, South Africa and Pakistan (especially in the traditional Test centres like Chepauk, Brabourne, Eden gardens,Bangalore etc.) will attract a huge audience both on and off the ground. And then it will be difficult to find space in the calendar for spreading the cash rich T20s, which are played purely for private greed and do a great deal of harm for the truest form of the game. The cricket watching public has unequivocally given a thumbs down to the Champions league T20s and other club matches. But will the powers listen?

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 22, 2011, 2:35 GMT

    Sad state of affairs. I was hanging on the Oz v SL series recently, to see if Oz can grab back 4th spot & qualify for the Test Championship. The rankings are meaningless anyway.

  • POSTED BY on | October 22, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    The problems is 20 20 has taken over as a 202 20 game is finished in 3 hours and is played at a faster tempo than test cricket. I think the younger fans have a shorter patience in their wiewing of sport and would rather watch a game which will have result after 3 hours than watch a test match which would last 5 days without a guarente of a result. I think also the fact that the exciting players of this generation(Malinga,Brett Lee,Afridi) have retired from Test cricket is another Reason. I think administrators should take on Geoff boycott's view of charging less at the gates and change the playing times as the price to watch test match cricket is way too much. £40 and above it costs to watch a days play in the UK which over 5 days of a test is way too much for families around the world. Less matches need to be played and a window needs to created in the calendar for the IPL as it generates alot of revenue. However,the IPL needs to be cut down as the last tornement ran for too long.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 22, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    5 day test cricket is what people have grown up with. But these days time is money. No one can afford to go to a 5 day match however enthusiastic they may be unless they are rich unemployed guys.So alternate is ODI or T-20. Money making side on a large scale only started since the advent of IPL. I personally like all formats because they all require different skills. For some enthusiast who are pressed for time,Test matches are boring waste of time - especially when at the end of 5 days there is no result. Both t-20 & ODI at least produce a winner at the end of the game.However Cricket is being over played and I fully agree that lesser is better. 5 Tests followed by 5 or 7 ODI's + 3 T-20's is just crazy but thats what England did in Australia recently. The best way to curtail it is to exclude T-20 & ODI games when a team is touring for Tests.Either have just ODI's + T-20 or have Tests only but not all in one tour.Injuries are a direct result of having all formats in a single tour.

  • POSTED BY Notout10 on | October 21, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    The postponement of the Test Championship is a huge disappointment for world cricket. The champions trophy is a huge yawn as it is essentially 'World Cup' lite, who needs it.The true measurement of a cricketer is their test record, because the game is much harder to master consistently, therefore a lesser player is found out if they do not have the necessary technique and composure to succeed. Importantly the bowlers are limited in their methods of attack in the limited overs & 20/20 formats as the field is set far and wide. A good example of this hypothesis is Suresh Raina's performance in the England-India tests,strokeless and bounced out due to poor technique. Yet he is supreme in the 50 over/T20 formats when the field is set back far and wide to contain.This leads to a question mark against is overall ability as a batsman. Funds need to be channelled into the nations where Test cricket struggles to help promote the game in it's entirety. Otherwise cricket will lose it's soul.

  • POSTED BY ElPhenomeno on | October 21, 2011, 23:01 GMT

    Its not that there is too much cricket. That cricket itself has become tedious to watch. Quality of the game (specially bowlers) have dropped so significantly since 90s. In 90s we had the likes of wasim, waqar, donald, warne, murali, ambrose, walsh and mcgrath actively at the peak of their powers. Now we're left with (with no disrespect) zahir, jimmy anderson and johnson. The only one who comes even close to the likes mentioned earlier is probably dale steyn.

    After all football is played just as much (if not more) as cricket. Its a full season of footy from august to may (with only 2 months of break and even that is sometimes filled with internationals) with PL, La Liga, Serie a, CL, Europa League and even international friendlies crammed in. I never once heard anyone ever saying we're getting tired of watching too much football. Somehow football has managed to maintain the standards, quality and excitement where cricket is failing miserably. That is of course, my humble opinion.

  • POSTED BY SaneVoice on | October 21, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    How about an annual test "League" instead of test "Championship"? 10 test nations divided in to two separate leagues (League A with top 5 nations and league B with bottom 5 nations) of 5 teams each. Each team plays two test matches with every other team on a home and away basis (i.e. a total of 4 matches with every other team). This way a team plays a total of 16 test matches a year with the bottom two of league A relegated to league B and the top two in league B promoted to league A every year. Can't be any worse than the current context-less bi-lateral format. Would like to hear what others have to say on this!!! Only Ashes should be allowed outside of these leagues!!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    Even Harsha has to support the Champions League...may be out of his Professional Commitment..." we recently had an excellent Champions League that not many people watched"...in a way this was good as this would atleast make the organisers to abandon the Champions League...an IPL in a year is more than sufficient for 20-20 cricket...we need to have a balance between the 3 forms of the game...and last but not the least the real beauty of cricket lies in Test Cricket...all the intricacies of the game come out in Test cricket and not in 20-20 or 50 over cricket...so Test Cricket always has to be given the preference...we need to imbibe this in today's youngsters or people who are starting to watch the game...only if Test Cricket is packaged and presented in the proper way to the people that the game will flourish...and also please note that the game will die a slow death if undue importance is given to 20-20...

  • POSTED BY vakkaraju on | October 21, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    Just another note on T20 and limited over cricket and the effect on tests. It is not unusual to see a result in test matches and I dare say the scoring and the speed of the game has improved a lot since the limited over formats have become popular. The shorter formats need to be shifted to smaller cities rather than the metros to give them taste of live cricket. The larger cities could hold test matches. The domestic cricket could be very competitive and should be promoted to give the game real sustainability.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    Uddyalok Bangabash "a bad T20 match is less boring than a bad ODI or a bad Test" - no it isn't, but it is shorter. Give me a test match anyday.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | October 21, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    A thoughtful article and, to my mind, probably sadly accurate in its assessment of where international cricket goes from here. Cricket, like all professional sports, has become income-generating entertainment more than an intense and fascinating team game. Test matches need to be saved, if not at all costs, then at least as a counterblast to the increasingly heavily-marketed T20 format. To this end, I would suggest that tests are scheduled for four days (starting on the first weekend day which seems to be Friday for many people in UK these days!) with a minimum of 105 overs per day and that ticket prices take account of the average income level of the host country. Schools should be encouraged to swell the Friday crowd with genuinely concessionary prices. Impressing the young is vital to saving test cricket. Value for money has to be the name of the game - and the rest, with help of skilful advertisers, can be left to the good and intelligent judgement of inspired youth - I hope!

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Have a two tier Test league. The Premier division would have just 5 teams ranked teams. Who play home and away best of 3 series (1 match home, 1 match away and an optional 3rd match if required). They should be able to cover all the matches in a much shorter time than what the current championship proposes. It will keep spectator interest and the quality of the matches. The matches would mean something to everyone involved. The 5th team gets relegated at the end of the year and the top second tier team gets promoted. If a third tier is also introduced, it will provide a fair, pure cricket ability way for countries like Ireland to move up rather than hoping for ICC to bestow a status.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | October 21, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    I think pretty much every cricket playing country knows that Test matches are the "real cricket". The 50 over & T20 formats are just offshoots of the 5-day games, driven possibly by marketing and business sponsorship. The popularity of these two formats notwithstanding, it would be a bold move if any country decides to scrap Test cricket from their calendar altogether. An ICC Test Championship would be a fantastic idea, but it would be difficult to implement the logistics as the event could last much longer than the 50 over World Cup.

  • POSTED BY Balldinho on | October 21, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Harsha an even bigger issue that is killing ALL forms of Cricket is the same 10 teams, repeatedly playing each other in Bilateral Series, since the BEGINNING of time in a INTERNATIONAL game how does this still exist!? There needs to be more Tri-Angular tournaments, Maybe 4-Team, 5 Team, 6 Team tournaments including 2 Test nations and 2 associates. Do maybe an African tournament including SA, Zim, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria ?? In Europe you have Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, England, Netherlands. Its time to bring MEANINGFUL games to International cricket, just like how in Football they are all MEANINGFUL and you are playing For something or TO something. Bi-Lateral series are a thing of the past and prove nothing!

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | October 21, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    The message of too much cricket has been preached for years, but the only effect is even more cricket. With the IPL taking on more significance than many international series, it's no surprise that even the most avid cricket fan would start to suffer from overload. There's only so much pie (even though Twenty20 has 'grown' it), but if you feed people too much of it they'll eventually get sick of it.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    The current series in India is an eye opener to BCCI that cricket doesnt sell always. I have had an eyeful of Dhoni since the begining of this year, so much so that I have not even bothered to subscribe for the channels that telecast the matches. I watch the highlights on the internet if India win and dont bother to even think about it otherwise. If test match cricket is not revived immediately, cricket will die, becuase those who prefer to watch T20s and ODIs are more like soap opera viewers who can switch their choices anytime and cricket will be left high and dry with true cricket fan already having abandoned it.

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | October 21, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Test cricket is dead in Australia and South Africa. Forget any smaller test series, even during the Ashes on most days there were more English fans in the Australian grounds than Australian fans. And now with gimmicks like the Big Bash League, test cricket will disappear in Australia within a few years. South Africa is in an even worse situation. Hardly a few hundred people attend even the most exciting test matches there. England and India are the LAST hope for Test cricket. BCCI should make sure Test matches are only played in traditional grounds like Eden Gardens, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi where people turn up. Mohali, Nagpur and Kanpur should be banned as test venues.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    if cricket is to survive, T20 has to be the way. no way i can see a germany vs bulgaria match 50 years down the line, with people cheering for 5 days. or even 1 day. the point is, T20, despite whatever people say (which is basically what the hear from self proclaimed experts on the electronic media,experts, who are trying to cling on to their own worldview, just like in the days of packer series, everyone thought ODI is a travesty) needs skills. just a different set from what you need in tests or ODIs. and ofcourse, a bad T20 match is less boring than a bad ODI or a bad Test.

  • POSTED BY ultimatewarrior on | October 21, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    Well its true that Test Cricket is most loved in England, Australia, India and South Africa than anywhere else so in looking upon the interest preference of rest Cricketing World, ICC Test Championship is postponed till 2017. But why can't you see these top 4 constitutes 80% of revenues, so why you going for 20% people's choice.....Also if you think commercially, until and unless you will show something better to these 20% people, how do they know what is good and what is great, so please don't always expect 100%........{Altogether even balance 10-20% can be covered from these 4 countries itself, in this particular Case...}

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    To be honest Champions League needs to be stopped and IPL should be played once in 2 years and that too in countries to promote cricket. Everything else would balance itself.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | October 21, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    bring cricket to teir II cities like coimbatore, patna, mangalore, etc...see the ticket sales explode...give cricket to those who are starved of any action

  • POSTED BY veira on | October 21, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    If the cricketing fraternity feels that Test cricket needs to stay on despite public interest waning, one may need to cross subsidise Test cricket through T20 and ODIs. The other thought of changing Test cricket to make it more attractive is more of a knee jerk reaction and will not work in the long run. Ultimately one does not want to see test cricket changed so much to see test cricket being played like 5 ODIs over the 5 days! It is a difficult call, but its a situation where one tries to do whatever possible to save test cricket, but at the end of the day is subservient to how the future evolves.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    I seariosly think IPL and Champions League t20 should be played once every 2 or 3 years....IPl is the played during the season which has the best climate for playing cricket....and after that rainy season starts. So it leaves very less space in the calender year for other ICC events. Due to this reason the Test championship had to be moved to a distant 2017 or else they could have place it on 2014-15 in the month of April had there been no IPL. I really love test cricket, but feel disappointed with many people loosing interest in it...Really its time that ICC should do something to keep 'the highest level of cricket' alive....

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    For the first time, a respected cricket commentator had the guts to speak the truth that many knew all along. That what matters to the indian public is whether "INDIA" is playing. I Highlight this because it doesnt matter who in the IPL or champions league is playing whom, it is eventually india as a team who matter. Take out the IPL and you will have two clear months of rest and recuperation for the players as well as the viewers. The artificially generated hype over " tamasha" cricket can only take you so far, but eventually everyone will loose interest and stop watching. It is high time the administrators realise this and prioritize International cricket over the so called "domestic" cricket. Give the viewers what they want. If they want one day and international t20 so be it.

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | October 21, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    I think Harsha, if the World Test Championships is packaged well using the best business brains like you have in India (Lalit Modi, N Srinivasan, etc.), then it can become a mega event that people would pay to watch & sponsor.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Nice and valid point at the right time harsha. Being a marketing guy i know what exactly you were trying to say.If india can settle with less profits then it affects the administration and eventually the game itself. We cannot do that. Having less games in not in indian calender. The only solution to this problem is we need another sachin tendukar. Yes, I am pretty sure even if we play a low profile series against zimbabwe with sachin in squad the viewership will be much more than a full strength-sachin taking on newzealand or srilanka. We need superstars.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | October 21, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Don't misunderstand me. I'm not craving for those days when human life in general counted for nothing. I do however, would like to see people's focus less on money and more on general welfare.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | October 21, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    Much as I admire your intellect, I'm afraid I have to disagree with this statement: "You can be passionate, but nobody is in the business of losing money." It is merely a reflection of today's world. There used to be times, in Europe, when people had so much money to spend that they could and did afford to lose money on, in their eyes, trivial things. In fact, all of us do indulge our own trivia, if we can afford it. Of course cricket developed in the world where the gap between the rich and the poor was far greater and democracy was a thing you heard of in the Greek lessons. Actually it made me a bit sad to read this line from an exponent of the new and rising economies, for there the gap between the rich and poor is about as is was two/three centuries back in Europe. The fact that people, incredibly rich, still have only more profit on their minds is discouraging with respect to the development of mankind as a whole.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 5:10 GMT

    Well said Harsha (btw, does Harsha Bhogle read these comments? Just out of curiosity. Will motivate me to write more that "Well said Harsha" next time).

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    India are not that special crowd wise anymore - Mohali, Nagpur especially get awful, embarrassing crowds for Tests. All matches should be stripped from these venues.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | October 21, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    I too found the crowds very disappointing for the current 50 over ODIs going on against England even if one accepts the reason as being too much cricket. In India I feel the crowds still come if they feel there is indeed a challenging prospect to be viewed. If it had been Australia, South Africa or Pakistan instead of England, the matches would have been better attended.For all their recent excellence in Test cricket which took them to the No 1 spot on the ICC rankings, England has never stirred the collective imagination in India in the context of limited over games. Things may change however if the likes of Bairstow and Brothwick show their capabilities somewhere soon enough. While too much cricket is indeed affecting the players the crowds come also when India does well. The recent England tour seems to have dampened their enthusiasm quite a bit. When India starts winning the crowds will be back. I am sure of that.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Its naive to think that Media buyers have a finger on the pulse of Indian TV viewers. A lot of media buy in India depends on what the channel/publication bribes the media buyer with. (And you thought graft was only seen in the public sector!) Also, you should knwo that TAM ratings are based on the 5000 odd people meters they have installed across 70-80 odd cities. 1.2 billions peoples' viewing interests are studied by observing just 5000? So Harsha, I beg to differ. The opinion of a media buyer is NOT a fair snapshot of the popularity of the game. Especially not the kind of media buyer who is sitting right now in his office wondering what the TV channels and Newspapers of the world are going to send him as a Diwali gift

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    frankly, the number of games India plays is ridiculous. CLT20 was excellent as the games were exciting. We grew up on a staple diet of Cricket, so our generation will watch the game. But the current crop doesn't know how it feels to wait for 3/4 months to watch the team play. People prefer T20's bcoz of the fast pace.... but nothing beats the white dress, red ball ...green top / crumbling wicket / batsman surrounded but 9 fielders.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 21, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Harsha, I think much of this is a consequence of the vast numbers of Indian viewers who were drawn to the game when India were winning, but who are not 'cricket fans' per se, but 'India' fans instead, the rise of India as a cricketing power being a metaphor for the rise of India as a commercial entity. In short, many Indian cricket watchers are only interested if India win, don't really know much about the game, don't have the patience to watch test matches, and have no appreciation or repect for the history of the game. You see it every day in comments posted on this site.

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  • POSTED BY Biggus on | October 21, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Harsha, I think much of this is a consequence of the vast numbers of Indian viewers who were drawn to the game when India were winning, but who are not 'cricket fans' per se, but 'India' fans instead, the rise of India as a cricketing power being a metaphor for the rise of India as a commercial entity. In short, many Indian cricket watchers are only interested if India win, don't really know much about the game, don't have the patience to watch test matches, and have no appreciation or repect for the history of the game. You see it every day in comments posted on this site.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    frankly, the number of games India plays is ridiculous. CLT20 was excellent as the games were exciting. We grew up on a staple diet of Cricket, so our generation will watch the game. But the current crop doesn't know how it feels to wait for 3/4 months to watch the team play. People prefer T20's bcoz of the fast pace.... but nothing beats the white dress, red ball ...green top / crumbling wicket / batsman surrounded but 9 fielders.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Its naive to think that Media buyers have a finger on the pulse of Indian TV viewers. A lot of media buy in India depends on what the channel/publication bribes the media buyer with. (And you thought graft was only seen in the public sector!) Also, you should knwo that TAM ratings are based on the 5000 odd people meters they have installed across 70-80 odd cities. 1.2 billions peoples' viewing interests are studied by observing just 5000? So Harsha, I beg to differ. The opinion of a media buyer is NOT a fair snapshot of the popularity of the game. Especially not the kind of media buyer who is sitting right now in his office wondering what the TV channels and Newspapers of the world are going to send him as a Diwali gift

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | October 21, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    I too found the crowds very disappointing for the current 50 over ODIs going on against England even if one accepts the reason as being too much cricket. In India I feel the crowds still come if they feel there is indeed a challenging prospect to be viewed. If it had been Australia, South Africa or Pakistan instead of England, the matches would have been better attended.For all their recent excellence in Test cricket which took them to the No 1 spot on the ICC rankings, England has never stirred the collective imagination in India in the context of limited over games. Things may change however if the likes of Bairstow and Brothwick show their capabilities somewhere soon enough. While too much cricket is indeed affecting the players the crowds come also when India does well. The recent England tour seems to have dampened their enthusiasm quite a bit. When India starts winning the crowds will be back. I am sure of that.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    India are not that special crowd wise anymore - Mohali, Nagpur especially get awful, embarrassing crowds for Tests. All matches should be stripped from these venues.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 5:10 GMT

    Well said Harsha (btw, does Harsha Bhogle read these comments? Just out of curiosity. Will motivate me to write more that "Well said Harsha" next time).

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | October 21, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    Much as I admire your intellect, I'm afraid I have to disagree with this statement: "You can be passionate, but nobody is in the business of losing money." It is merely a reflection of today's world. There used to be times, in Europe, when people had so much money to spend that they could and did afford to lose money on, in their eyes, trivial things. In fact, all of us do indulge our own trivia, if we can afford it. Of course cricket developed in the world where the gap between the rich and the poor was far greater and democracy was a thing you heard of in the Greek lessons. Actually it made me a bit sad to read this line from an exponent of the new and rising economies, for there the gap between the rich and poor is about as is was two/three centuries back in Europe. The fact that people, incredibly rich, still have only more profit on their minds is discouraging with respect to the development of mankind as a whole.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | October 21, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Don't misunderstand me. I'm not craving for those days when human life in general counted for nothing. I do however, would like to see people's focus less on money and more on general welfare.

  • POSTED BY on | October 21, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Nice and valid point at the right time harsha. Being a marketing guy i know what exactly you were trying to say.If india can settle with less profits then it affects the administration and eventually the game itself. We cannot do that. Having less games in not in indian calender. The only solution to this problem is we need another sachin tendukar. Yes, I am pretty sure even if we play a low profile series against zimbabwe with sachin in squad the viewership will be much more than a full strength-sachin taking on newzealand or srilanka. We need superstars.

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | October 21, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    I think Harsha, if the World Test Championships is packaged well using the best business brains like you have in India (Lalit Modi, N Srinivasan, etc.), then it can become a mega event that people would pay to watch & sponsor.