Ed Smith
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Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman; writer for the New Statesman

India: cricket's Brazil

It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation

Ed Smith

April 14, 2014

Comments: 139 | Text size: A | A

Is India's recent dominance of international competitions just the beginning of a long-lasting dynastic supremacy? © AFP

As losing finalists, India had a bad World T20. That is a compliment, not a criticism. Under MS Dhoni, India completed a kind of limited-overs grand slam: the World T20 (2007), the World Cup (2011), and the Champions Trophy (2013). If an international tournament is played with a white ball, India are about as likely to win as everyone else put together. India are now as good at cricket as Brazil are at football - and they are likely to become much better than that.

Fourteen years ago, researching my book Playing Hard Ball about cricket and baseball, I had a debate with an American executive from Major League Baseball. Naturally, we both argued that ours was the better sport. One of my arguments was that cricket was more genuinely a world game, whereas baseball was skewed towards the US. I've never forgotten his reply: "You estimate how many people in the world play cricket, I'll do the same for baseball. Then we will each subtract from that total the biggest single national population - so I get baseball minus America, and you get cricket minus India. How's your world game looking now, Ed?" His point was that cricket is wildly skewed towards India, in terms of both participants and fans. I went quiet. Over the last decade and a half, India's weight within world cricket has only become more marked.

This raises an interesting point about performance in international competition. We - as professional players, pundits and supporters - seldom take into account how our team "ought" to perform given its population, wealth, talent base and resources. We find it difficult to adjust expectations to fit reality.

In their excellent book Soccernomics, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski try to do just that. First, they ask which underlying conditions determine why teams win and lose; secondly, the authors ask which countries "overperform" given the resources at their disposal.

The authors analysed all international matches, then used the mathematical technique of regression analysis to determine which factors influence the performance of national teams.

First, international experience - simply chalking up the games played as a nation - is an excellent head start. Having twice as much international experience as your rival is worth just over half a goal per match. Secondly, sheer weight of numbers has an effect. Having twice your opponent's population is worth about a tenth of a goal. Thirdly, money talks. Having twice the GDP of your rival is also worth about a tenth of a goal. All taken together, it makes perfect sense: a huge talent base exposed to good facilities that has a long history of competing as a nation - that is pretty difficult to beat.

India's economy has been growing fast, it is now the fulcrum of well-paid cricket (the IPL), and for that reason boasts the strongest concentration of cricketing intelligence and knowledge

Of course, these three factors - experience, population size and national wealth - are pretty much outside the control of sports coaches, selectors and administrators. But Kuper and Szymanski explore a further influence: knowledge networks. Mainland European nations, they found, have punched above their weight because so much elite club football happens in Europe. They benefit by always being close to the game's tactical and strategic cutting edge.

Between 1968 and 2006, Germany, France, Holland, Italy and Belgium shared 12 World Cups and European Cups. Spain's more recent success further demonstrates the power of connectedness. It was Johan Cruyff, who imported the Dutch idea of "total football" while coach of Barcelona, who led first Barcelona then the Spanish national team to become world-beaters. In contrast, the performance of Brazil - the greatest of all footballing powers - has slipped in the 2000s as the Champions League has changed the way the game is played.

So how does this matrix - population, wealth, experience and knowledge networks - apply to cricket? India has always benefited from a huge talent base (though it has got even greater as a new generation has been turned on to cricket since the arrival of T20 on TV). But for much of the 20th century, India was held back by the comparative wealth and knowledge networks of old powers such as England and Australia. That advantage has gradually crumbled and, looking forward, the picture is even rosier for India. Its economy has been growing fast, it is now the fulcrum of well-paid cricket (the IPL), and for that reason boasts the strongest concentration of cricketing intelligence and knowledge. (For proof of this last fact, try to persuade a top international coach to leave the IPL and coach England - a role that demands being away from home for 280 days a year.) It is very likely that India's recent dominance of international competitions is just the beginning of a long-lasting dynastic supremacy. India, in fact, has all the advantages of Brazil and a few more.

There is a political dimension to India's rise as cricket's superpower. The last few years have been dominated by a long-running series of rows and negotiations about the power of India within world cricket. I'm not interested here in the particular rights and wrongs of each instalment of that dispute. Instead, I make a much more general point. In a game that is dominated so completely by one marketplace, one fan base and one national board, it is very likely that the power of that country will be a source of perpetual anxiety and resentment among the other nations. I continue to hope, of course, that cricket's governance improves. But I am realistic enough to accept that the best guarantor of democratic fairness is not appealing to good intentions but widening the vote. If cricket had more countries with a huge fan base, there would be a greater democratic equipoise at the game's high table.

That is easier said than done, of course. But one way to protect the interests of cricket's smaller powers is to encourage new, expanding markets in wealthy, populous countries. Cricket needs to find new Indias. Time to take cricket to America and China.

Ed Smith's latest book is Luck - A Fresh Look at Fortune. He tweets here

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Posted by jay57870 on (April 18, 2014, 0:28 GMT)

Seriously Ed's "Soccernomics" logic is irrelevant in the world of "Realpolitik": He who has the gold, makes the rules! Like the old ICC (Imperial) duopoly of Eng & OZ. And the present ICC (International) troika of Ind, Eng & OZ - with Ind the "superpower". But if Ed thinks its "superpower" clout can be broken by a democratic "widening the vote", he's sadly mistaken. Take cricket to USA & China? Really? Has Ed ever observed the (veto-crazy) UN Security Council? Namely its (gridlocked) 5 permanent members: China, USA, UK, France & Russia? No seat at the high table for India - world's largest democracy, 2nd most populous nation & 4th largest economy! So where's the "greater democratic equipoise"? As it is, all USA wants to do is promote its own home-grown sports - baseball & basketball - overseas. That's why MLB's promotion of the 2014 season opener last month at SCG. As for China, all they're interested in is to totally dominate the Olympics. For cricket's sake, just leave it alone, Ed!

Posted by jay57870 on (April 18, 2014, 0:24 GMT)

Ed - It's futile to compare cricket & football, India & Brazil. They're like apples & oranges. If Ed thinks the Champions League has "changed the way the game is played", then so too has IPL-T20. It's a great leveler. IPL has had 5 different winners in 6 years. Furthermore, WCT20 has been hosted by 5 nations so far, producing 5 different winners at each venue, never the home side - Ind, Pak, Eng, WI & SL. Look how Ed misfires: "If any international tournament is played with a white ball, India are about likely to win as everyone else put together"! LOL! Check the facts: Nothing could be further from the truth! No. India is not a limited-overs grand-slammer. Even the Test crown has changed heads over recent years: SA, Eng, Ind, OZ. As The Bard says: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"! So how in the world is India as good at cricket as Brazil at football? And likely to become "much better than that"? OMG! The evidence just isn't there to support "India: cricket's Brazil", Ed!

Posted by   on (April 17, 2014, 16:21 GMT)

Ed, the title led me to think that you think of Brazil as a superpower in soccer. In the text however, you paint Brazil as the aging superpower whose dominance is 'slipping' for whatsoever reason. India in cricket, is the other part of the day when the sun is just about climbing, or so is what you say in the later part of your article. Then, how is India cricket's Brazil? As for that last statement of yours: since you care for being realistic... Cricket does not need USA and China where it has been sowed unsuccessfully several times now. Try bringing baseball to India: get the point? Instead, if you want the power to decentralize, think of empowering promising and passionate cricketing nations like Ireland and Afghanistan.

Posted by ashok16 on (April 16, 2014, 20:00 GMT)

It is an interesting comparison but conclusion is not correct. Brazil in Soccer is a far more dominant power than India in cricket, purely on sporting terms. India's few brief years as World No. 1 in tests (70s and recently), two 50 over world cup wins and 1 T20 cup win pales in comparison to what other countries have achieved in cricket (West Indies, Australia) and Brazil has in football. All the more remarkable considering that the West Indian countries are significantly poorer than Aus/England and that Brazil was similarly poor as India for most part of the 20th century. The reasons for India's mediocrity may not be easily statistickable and may force us to delve into the nether regions of polticial incorrectness- socio-cultural and genetic.

Posted by t20cric on (April 16, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

@Adnan Younis Lodhi: Ending up as finalists so consistently doesn't mean SL is the best Asian team. In terms of actual world cup (t20 & ODI) wins SL has 2, Pak has 2 & India has 3. Also in terms of W/L ratio in tests Pakistan(1.10) is 3rd, SL(0.83) is 6th, India(0.80) is 7th. In ODIs the W/L ratio is (disregarding Asia XI but non-test nations included): Pakistan(1.23) is 3rd, India(1.10) is 6th, SL(0.99) is 8th. In T20Is the W/L ratio is (disregarding teams who played less then 10 T20Is): SL(1.78) is 1st, Pakistan(1.58) is 2nd, India(1.50) is 4th. So yes, SL is the best T20I side but Pakistan is best Asian team in terms of W/L ratio in test & ODI & India has the most world cup wins among Asian teams. So its hard to say who is the best Asian team & it all depends on what measure do you use to figure out the best Asian team.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

This is a really bad article Ed. You premise that India is cricket's Brazil is faulty in the fact that Brazil does not dominate the club football leagues, and is a mass exporter of players. In addition, India does not have the history of Brazil with their 5 world championships, nor do they play the free flowing Brazilian football style.

West Indies is a much better comparison to Brazil. West Indies, with the Brazilian free flowing style, grace and power combined with their history and their exporting players to the English county system. Whereas Europe is a far better comparison to India, recently winning championships, playing very formulaic football, and having all the money and club leagues.

Very poor article, as you did not even mention the similarities between Brazil and India.

You didn't even mention Test cricket. England, South Africa and Australia, the 3 best teams in the world clearly rate limited overs cricket as a distant 2nd which gives a false rise to indian cricket

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 2:03 GMT)

SL played WC final in 1996,2007 and 2011. T20 Final in 2009, 2012 & 2014. CT Final in 2002. They have reached Finals of ICC events more than India, Pakistan and BD. They have won Asia cup five times not less than India. Let us be honest, they are the best performing South Asian team at ICC events in history. Moreover, they are the best T20I team since the inception of the game.

Posted by cheapskate on (April 16, 2014, 0:28 GMT)

At least Brazil's soccer team can win abroad. When was the last time India won a test series in Australia or South Africa. Also India might have a limetless talent base and financial clout yet havent had a decent fast bowler since Javagal Srinath. Even their spinners aint that great overseas but look at Bedi and co they could suceed overseas but this current lot are overpaid pampered little wimps who dont want to do the hard yards.

Posted by krik8crazy on (April 15, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

No, India is NOT cricket's Brazil. WI is the only team which comes close to that description. And one or two Aussies aside, most cricket fans feel happy when WI wins.

Posted by t20cric on (April 15, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Compare this to most other countries who have almost equal number of batting, spin & fast bowling greats. In terms of population India is far ahead of all other cricketing nations but that actually works against them cuz it gets that much harder to find the best 11. When it comes to wealth then again India account for most of cricket's money but if/when the problems I said about BD & Pak in the previous post are resolved then they too will get wealthy. Overall I guess for India to become like Brazil (atleast performance wise) they need to get a few more young batsmen (current batting doesn't look good overseas) & some higher quality spinners who do well overseas (like Harbhajjan & Kumble) as well as some really good fast bowlers. All these guys have to be in there early to mid 20s & be really consistent in order to dominate for 10-15 years. After all that it might be right to call them Brazil of cricket.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

They have facilities, resources, cricketing intelligence, financial muscle and a huge talent base to choose from but still cant produce a world class fast bowler. How Sad!

Posted by t20cric on (April 15, 2014, 16:36 GMT)

If Brazil & India are compared in terms of performance then it is definitely wrong. But if you compare the passion of fans then it might be closer. The thing is though, that as seen in the recently concluded t20 wc Bangladesh's fans are also quite passionate, that to when there team is doing so poorly so you can just imagine if the team was good then Bangladesh cricket passion would match India. Then there is also Pakistan who's cricket passion is already equal to (maybe even more) then India's but it's not seen cuz cricket no tours have happened there & when cricket returns there then fans will be even more passionate & the team itself will get a lot better. I would say that even here India is not dominating in passion, infact the whole subcontinent is more passionate about cricket then all other countries combined. Also in terms of talent India aren't quite far ahead as most of there greats are batsmen or spinners with very few being pacers. continued.............

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (April 15, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

myself totally agreeing with article. cricket in India and football in brazil has striking similarities. both are third world country, have plenty of raw talent but little infrastructure. i mean to to say whoever emerges out, that is due to their sheer quality like sachin, sehwag, yuvi you can't make another one. whether in australia most of the players are product of their good infrastructure, just like european teams in football. India-pakistan rivalry can be compared with brazil-arzentina rivalry. saeed ajmal is like messy, one of the best spinner, but alone not able to make country champion. current west indies is like england in football, because their players are dominating club cricket, but as team their performance is poor except previous t20 world cup. gayle can be compared with beckham. south africa can be compared with holland, not able to get trophy even after being favorites.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 15:57 GMT)

Good article but West Indies are the Brazil of limited overs and actually all cricket. Australia are the Germany and India is somewhere between Italy and Argentina.

Posted by HawksEyeFocused on (April 15, 2014, 15:45 GMT)

I almost fell off my chair when I read the title only!!! Can't help giggling!!! India is the Brazil of cricket??? lol

Posted by HealthyCric on (April 15, 2014, 15:28 GMT)

@Sanks555 India underperforming in not an issue at all with the way the things are going in the world cricket. That IPL is a good thing for all foreign players they know each and every Indian cricket players strengths and weaknesses.

All the countries are more familiar with Indian conditions than before. What some didn't notice is, over all, Indians are performing average in spite of transition from retired to young players/the number games play/glamour/money.

Last but not least, Indian fast bowling/all rounders - it has been always an issue BUT 1000s of younger generations lined up to get the fortune waiting for them, world will know in couple of years. Indian board/franchises have money they will make it happen.

No one is invincible any more(Look at AUS)! I have seen many Indian fans saying 'let Srilanka win this time they deserve it, after all their effort these years'!

India wins or loses BUT cricket is growing and winning, India has major role in it.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

IPL is fun, for players and fans to enjoy cricket in its purest form, without bothering about national pride, honor or fear of loss. This is what cricket was played for, for having fun and enjoying, but somehow it has turned fans into haters, by writing comments against other nations..........this is where IPL is different, it brings back the harmony in cricket, where ppl used to relax and enjoy a good game. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!

Posted by JB34 on (April 15, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

I read the title and I thought it was a satirical piece.

Posted by Grasian on (April 15, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

It's a good thing that Ed Smith made no attempt to compare Indian cricket to New Zealand rugby union. The All Blacks remain the most successful team in rugby history despite a very small population and limited commercial potential. Another factor that may operate is how many major sports compete for the attention of a particular nation - Indian cricket has benefited from the decline of Indian hockey and the lack of success of its Olympic sports, whereas cricket in Australia and England compete with two or more major football codes and multiple successful Olympic programs.

Posted by armchairjohnny on (April 15, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

If we're equating Cricketing nations with footballing nations then I think a more accurate equivalent for India would be either Mexico or Portugal. Both have a passion and a population that revolve around a single sport, but both are woeful under achievers.

South Africa are like Holland (both very good teams, have a habit of 'bottling it at the big time' and not too many trophies in the cabinet). Australia are like Germany. Ruthlessly efficient, and always competitive even when they go through transition periods with 'weaker' sides. Pakistan are like Argentina... a fascinating mixture of genius and controversy. New Zealand are like Croatia; a small population consistently punching above their weight, but never winning trophies. Sri Lanka are a tricky one... they are unique -- A small champion Island!. Bangladesh are San Marino. England are like... well, England. I agree with other posters that the West Indies side of the 80's is the only side that can equate with Brazil.

Posted by anshu.s on (April 15, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

Well put out article Ed , lot of fans posting here are missing the point, this is not so much about on field excellence but more about the kind of passion and fan following game of cricket has in India and the financial wealth surrounding the game .Only nations which come remotely close to matching India's passion for the game are Pakistan and Bangladesh and potentially Nepal and Afghanistan , but all these 4 nations lack the financial muscle of BCCI.

@ Shan Dantanarayana, mate you seem to have got all your economics wrong, you have very conviniently chosen per capita income which only indicates how uniformly is wealth spread in a particular country relative to its population. True worth of economic vitality of a nation is GDP(Nominal), as per latest estimates India is ranked 10th in the world while SL is 69th.If you consider GDP(PPP) method then India is ranked 3rd while SL 65th.There is a reason why India is a member of G 14 group of nations...

Posted by AQ13 on (April 15, 2014, 10:32 GMT)

If any team is the Brazil of cricket it is unmistakably Australia who have won 4 WCs and have the best test record by far(home and Away).unlike India and like Brazil they have never faltered in their cricketing history and have always been a giant.India's head to head in Tests and Odis belongs to the lower tier of the top 8 sides.if India resemble any football nation it is England(Great boast,Little roast)

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

India is not Cricket's Brazil they are more like Cricket's England (football) as someone already pointed out.... they have lot of money but not much results historically speaking...their overall test record is still below Aus, Eng, Pak, WI....Aus is more like Cricket's Brazil.... the title of the article is wrong

Posted by brusselslion on (April 15, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

@Pari_den: "this article is .. about the comparison of economics in cricket and in this view India is rightly placed in comparison with Brazil." Your conclusion is totally incorrect on at least two counts. Cricket finance is almost totally dominated by India, whereas no one nation/ league dominates football finance in quite the same way. Notwithstanding my first point, football finance is dominated by Europe - although the source of the money may be non-European e.g. Man.City: According to Deloitte, in 2012/13, 29 of the top 30 richest clubs in the world were European; Corinthians at #24 were the only non-European club.

Posted by borninthetimeofSRT on (April 15, 2014, 8:08 GMT)

India might be the Brazil for cricket, and possibly the host of something more equal to the English Premier League, or the NFL in US. But I personally feel that India needs to hit the goldmine, go the NFL/MLB way of opening franchises across the country and also in other nations for IPL merchandise, create a strong fan base. There are large NFL, MLB, NBA authorized stores in America that sell anything and everything touched by those who have played the game. Moreover, there are other stores that only sell memorabilia associated with the leagues. And there are die hard fans who always buy. Jerseys, accessories, pictures, posters, bats, balls, etc. There is a whole new industry for such a thing not yet streamlined in India. And there is no better place than India where people understand marketing so well. Let people wear there favorite team jerseys, hats, gears on all seasons, and not just when the IPL is on. The cricket world needs India like oxygen.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (April 15, 2014, 8:06 GMT)

India are Cricket's England-All the money in the world because of the most watched League, with not any on field achievements(apart from on home surfaces) to match it.

Posted by Sanks555 on (April 15, 2014, 7:28 GMT)

India does possess the population, wealth, experience and knowledge networks. But is its performance reflective of its resources. India has more money and more cricket-hungry populace than all other countries combined. It also hosts the most popular domestic league cricket. Given these resources, it should completely dominate cricket in all three formats as teams with much less relative resource benefit exhibit much greater dominance (example Real Madrid and Barcelona FC in La Liga).

In spite of that, in international T20s and T20 World Cup, its performance is behind that of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In Tests, its performance lags that of Australia and South Africa in the last 5 years.

It is only in ODIs that India has been the best team in the last 5 years (as evinced in the victories in World Cup 2011 and Champions trophy 2013). However, even here, India's ranking has fallen below Australia's.

So the question should be: Why is India under-performing despite its resource richness?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (April 15, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

For a number of reasons this comparison between India and Brazil doesn't stack up to my mind. Take strikers: in football they score goals; in cricket the approximate equivalent is the strike (i.e. fast) bowlers. Now if there is one area of cricketing skills that is particularly (and historically) weak in Indian cricket, it's fast bowling. (I have my own thinking on why this might be so,connected to diet.) And the whole cricketing world knows that India is a fine wine; it never travels well. Brazil, on the other hand, can - and does - win outside its own country with some regularity. There again, are we talking cricket or t20? As many posters hereabouts have been quick to point out, they are as chalk is to Camembert.

Posted by Pari_den on (April 15, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

I have huge appreciation for this article. It's wonderfully written by Ed Smith. Few people who have commented on this post have not understood the article very well as this article is not about win/lost records of a particular team. It's about the comparison of economics in cricket and in this view India is rightly placed in comparison with Brazil. Please read the article very well and then put your comments rather than making foolish points here.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (April 15, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

@ cric1965, author is not comparing the India-Brazil performances. He is comparing the India and Brazil's craziness over games.....so the game is no longer remain just a game, but it becomes like a culture or religion. You better read the entire article or you might be confuse.

Posted by Ammar72 on (April 15, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

Not convincing or not so convincing. Where goes the important attributes like natural ability, skill or born-capabilities. If people of a certain smaller region in the world have such traits, you may well find and form best teams. eg. West Indies teams of 70s, 80s and 90s. Probably it was said in those days that even a waiter in a hotel in WI is a medium pacer. Moreover, to not consider Pakistan while analyzing fan base (and not wealth & facilities) is a mistake, in my opinion. The number of legendary players produced is a testament in itself. With about more than 16 crore population, how one can neglect it in analysis.

Posted by Mr_ICC on (April 15, 2014, 5:13 GMT)

For a fair comment from a neutral fan, i persoanlly think India is more like Argentina or Germany. Dey are passionate and talented and do well in a World Cup more often. I also agree with Author when he comapres India to Brazil. I tell you why, in Suda America no one cares for cricket, our passion is soccer we live and breathe soccer and our football star are our hereos. As a Venezuelan we envy the passion Brazil has for soccer and the star they produced...Ronaldinho, Pele, Socrates, Ronaldo, Kaka, Carlos, and many others. India very similar has long history of amazing players, very big country and growing economy like Brazil. Both Brazil and India are big economies and part of BRICS. Also someone who comes from the western part of the world. We are aware of Sachin, Dhoni, Kohli and many Indian legends. IPL is popular in the Carribean and America's, persoanlly I love Indian Team and I support them in all their matches.

XOXO from Venezuela.

Posted by Naseer on (April 15, 2014, 5:05 GMT)

I actually dont agree with idea that massive population will produce good players because it is very difficult to choose best 11 from so many people, but if the population is less it is very easy to find out 11 players to form the team, because too many option will confuse you whom to choose and whom to leave.

Posted by Kingman75 on (April 15, 2014, 5:03 GMT)

No one, except Indians, cares about T20 world cups or Champions Trophy. A single test match is more important than those whole tournaments, although perhaps I'm being a little harsh. Maybe a dead rubber test is just as important as those trophies.

Posted by towf on (April 15, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

Cricket being a complicated game with many variations but with similar skillsets does make it interesting to discover how different teams perform outstandingly in one place yet ordinarily in another. India has only started about 10 years ago to have a big fan base that generates a lot of interest and money and over time they will possibly be dominant everywhere.

India's problems with cricket though is that there are a lot of political influences which has also generated money but more significantly the fans are more interested in batting rather than bowling. Until first class cricket gets the attention that their local limited overs cricket generates bowling will never consistently be great.

For newer countries to join, cricket needs to go back to basics in new countries and this will take a lot of time which may mean that places like China or USA will take at least a full generation to take the sport seriously.

Posted by IndianEagle on (April 15, 2014, 4:40 GMT)

india won all three major global tournament without geninue fast bowling! So Why should india need fast bowling?

Posted by pritamdas_circ on (April 15, 2014, 3:35 GMT)

It's a huge statement to call India the Brazil of Cricket. And India do deserve it.

Posted by ThemanID on (April 15, 2014, 3:05 GMT)

The reason we are struggling to dominate cricket despite our population ( or any other sports) is simple. Facilities. There are cricket,soccer,basketball etc clubs everywhere in western countries. There are hardly any clubs in india. And even if there are, half the people focus on studies rather than sports which is why we aren't athletic.

Posted by Sinhabahu on (April 15, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

India is not nearly as good in cricket as Brazil is in football. Their overall record is mediocre, barring a few years of consistency in ODIs under Dhoni's captaincy. They should be champions in all forms of cricket by sheer weight of population alone- it is statistically possible to find 7 very good batsmen and 4 very good bowlers from the largest cricket playing population on Earth- but they continue to be a laughing stock outside their home grounds. Only Dhoni and Kohli qualify as potential greats in their current lineup.

Posted by cric1965 on (April 15, 2014, 2:40 GMT)

Breazil won world cup 5 times. Australia won world cup 4 times. India and west indies won world cup 2 times. Then who is comparable in cricket to Brazil in performance vice.

Posted by sray23 on (April 15, 2014, 2:38 GMT)

@ kitten, you forgot the most important thing about winning overseas - bowling! Pujara, Kohli coming up is well & good, but where are the bowlers? Tests are still the real cricket as every skill plus endurance is tested ie. you need to bowl sides out, you need to bat against pace, bounce, swing, seam, spin, you need to bowl long & hard and bat long & hard. Until any team (including India) is a great Test side, one can never call them a great cricket team.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

Taking Cricket to the USA (Americans) & China is paramount, must happen & is the point. It must happen with T20 though (in the future, hope it will be the only Cricket). I realize that there are many who are fond of Test Cricket, but for our glorious game to be more popular it has to be the short form & only the short form must be Cricket. America is doing its best to "encroach" on Cricketing lands, with baseball (boring: I played it here as an exchange student), but not boring compared to the long & one days. I realize that many traditions will have to change if T20 will be the only Cricket. To name two: International tours will be shorter & in Sri Lanka the school Cricket & Big Match Season will have to change (best of 3 or team with the highest aggregate score from two games win?). All these changes will be painful & full of disruption: constructive disruption. It must happen, if Cricket is to be a truly world game & S. Lanka a great staging nation to take Cricket to China.

Posted by ramzi462000 on (April 15, 2014, 1:27 GMT)

its ridiculous to compare India with Brazil... Brazil has true talent... not like India... India only has crowd based Population.... They have money, wealth, sponsorship,etc.... when it comes cricket they are an ordinary team... in addition they are weakest bowling attack.... so its funny to hear that India Like Brazill... ha ha ha

Posted by Happy_hamster on (April 14, 2014, 23:11 GMT)

The similarities between India and Brazil are a large population, massive peasant population and focussing on only one main sport. Brazil have been 'dominant' in the only recognised format of the game played competitively whereas India have been successful in variants.Cricket is unique in that people who have no athletic attributes, like Gavaskar or Kohli can be star batsmen so Indians can associate with this, although to be a quickie a certain degree of strength is needed hence...As for baseball being played in a greater amount of countries I am only aware of Cuba, Canada and the USA.

Posted by PlayfromDallas on (April 14, 2014, 22:37 GMT)

Domination is an over statement in this article. India lost to New Zealand before losing T20 2014 World Cup on a surface that was tailor made for India, India lost in the Asia Cup 2014 as well. The term domination will also require India to be self-sufficient in batting and bowling in the case of seam bowling it is not true. Good example of domination is the West India batting of the 80s on all surfaces. Indian batting should be term as 'competitive' rather than dominating; this rating will be lower on tours abroad. Going back in the history India was very lucky to win the 1983 World Cup. And luck favored India again when they won the 1985 Mini World Cup by not facing mighty West Indies they met Pakistan in the final since Pakistan defeated West Indies in the semi. India is bringing money in the game shows its strength is very true, as far as Indian cricket is concern it is not dominating. India would require twice much more work to become dominant.

Posted by Real_ist on (April 14, 2014, 22:34 GMT)

India is definetely not the Brazil of cricket in cricketing terms. I think the author means it in the sense of how pivotal India are for cricket at the global stage.

That being said India are the best team in Asia by far. All the stats against all oppostions are at Statsguru. You can verify the same.

To give you some sample stats, from 2000 to 2014 India, in all test matches vs Australia ( home and away) India have a winning record. WON 13 LOST 11.

In comparison Sri Lanka are 0-10 in tests v Australia and 4 of those tests, SL has lost in SL.

Pakistan have won 1 test vs Australia and lost 10.

in addition India is the only asian country to win WC twice. and CT twice. and has been no 1 ranked test team

so its clear that India is best team in Asia and the numbers back it up

Posted by HealthyCric on (April 14, 2014, 22:17 GMT)

This one of different articles after a long time. I am sure it doesn't digest to some people as always. They start talking as usual about fast bowlers wins/loses and stuff. Indian cricket increased the value/standards of a cricket player all over the world. Ask any world class player, how much popularity or respect he gets even compared to in their own country. Its driving other cricket boards and indirectly some countries economies! Yes cricket surpassed foot ball already and see what happens all the new countries start playing cricket. Gone those days of one team dominating years together. 'No one' is invincible from losing matches let alone India. Indian players don't have time to listen to critics Indian population don't have time to track what India won or lost. Don't be surprised at all, make a note of it - Soon India must have three different teams playing all over the year in three different formats and still will not be able cope up the demand all over the world.

Posted by hhillbumper on (April 14, 2014, 21:13 GMT)

If you want to beat India then have fast bowlers or bounce. Or play them in tests. Frankly despite all their advantages they still have never had a dominant team. Let's face it Brazil can win away from home whereas as India have won how many series in south Africa or aus

Posted by t20cric on (April 14, 2014, 20:46 GMT)

This is a really bad comparison in anyway. Comparing football to cricket in the 1st place is a very bad comparison cuz cricket has 3 very different formats whereas football only has 1. To dominate these 3 formats you need a very different set of players. So which format are you saying that India dominate like Brazil? Also if you check India's performance outside of worldcups it's hardly dominating. I admit India do very well to step up in world events (CT & WC) & if someone only watches cricket during these events (but not bilateral tours) they would think that India dominates cricket (still not as much as Brazil though). I think a more accurate comparison to Brazil would be Australia of 90s to early 2000s or even better WI of 70s & 80s. No country has dominated cricket as much as these 2 & I guess the only one that has come close is SA of late 2000s to now in tests (although that might be over with Kallis & Smith gone). India need to develop bowlers to be called Brazil of cricket.

Posted by GrindAR on (April 14, 2014, 20:37 GMT)

Well, the only criteria that is comparable is "Passion for the game". As we say 'Brasil is a football nation", we can say 'India is a cricketing nation'. Nature of dominance is ok to compare, as both countries are kings in their own den, when they go outside, Brasil cannot win without their fan support ringing around, and India cannot win without a turning pitch. Regardless, players play with the attitude needed for a dominant side, either they are smoked or they smoke others...

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (April 14, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

Too soon to call that. India has to prove itself in around the globe cricket. Their recent tour to SA and NZ really puts them in a category far from being the best in the game. In recent years also India has shown it's strength in Asia but here has fallen short several times, eg the recent Asia cup, T20 and in past from the not very able team of Pakistan in India's own home one day series. So a lot to be desired before it claims the status of Brazil of Cricket. Future holds for those who prove themselves around the globe, after West Indies of the 70s and 80s and than Australia up until the recent past are the only nations that came close enough. Keep up the hard work.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 17:56 GMT)

I would argue that there are a lot more anomalies of countries doing better despite the factors outlined missing. For example, Brazil itself was a more dominant soccer force when they had less international exposure, were smaller and had a far far lower GDP growth. Also there are differences between Brazil's soccer and India's cricket: Cricket has 3 completely different formats with different players and different team for each format. Home experience is different than overseas. All international teams play each, year round so India has no clear advantage. There goes the biggest factor. IPL exposure only applies to T-20 and to ODI to a certain extent and that too on domestic pitches. But it is detrimental for skills needed for Test cricket. Also good international players play in IPL and other leagues. GDP and population are not big factors anyway (1/10 of a goal in soccer). So India is nowhere close to Brazil in cricket and aren't likely to become one except T-20 on Asian pitches.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

India can be termed as Nepal of cricket and definitely not Brazil.outside india they simply get thrashed while Brazil proved they are class of their own.India's strength lies on the population size and in terms of talent they belong right on the bottom.

Posted by cornered_again on (April 14, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

Ed , Don't really agree with you....Pakistan could be called Brazil of cricket but not Inida. They have never produced a fast bowler out of a 1 billion population and can only win in subcontinent like conditions...Well they are absolutely terrific in such conditions, Their preformamces nose dive as as they are in foreign conditions.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

Oh please.. India the Brazil of football? That is wayyy off target.. You could only compare that had India enjoyed same success over same period as Brazil..

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 15:57 GMT)

a rare poor article on cricinfo, most of the comparisons are not comparisons at all. Brazil are in a league of their own, they used to be a poor country well not anymore but their domination in football is undisputed. india is a good cricket team but no where to what brasil did/does. i personally would compare it with the west indies as they dominated cricket for years n years but fell away slowly but surely.as for the fans indians are passionate ppl, take cricket a bit too seriously but cant match the flair, fun value that the Caribbean crowd brings ,sometimes i rather watch the crowd :D

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 15:55 GMT)

ABSOLUTELY Strange article...........they didnt win a single game in SAF and newzeland ........... got beaten 4-0 in england and 4-0 in australia last time around...........they lost to pak in home series last year .......they alos lost home test series against england last year............which dominance r u tolking about..

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (April 14, 2014, 15:49 GMT)

conditions in india doesnot requires geninue fast bowler, square turning pitches will do that for spinners. SA, ENG, OZ AND NZ teams historically never performed well in india bcz of spinning tracks. They clearly exposed in asia, not even put a bat on ball. Even ricking ponting avg 26 in india. Pitches doesnot play a role in football, but in cricket its huge.

Posted by Kaminey11 on (April 14, 2014, 15:31 GMT)

@ Farooq3, in football u need to score goals to win a game similarly in cricket u need to score runs to win the match.Every Indian side has always had a player who was well recognised to be the best batsmen in world cricket at that point of time. And i feel India is highly capable of scoring heavily againt any opposition.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (April 14, 2014, 15:30 GMT)

Actually a combination of the best of India and West Indies cricket would be closer to cricket's version of Brazil.However since West Indies cricket has been in decline and languishing close to the bottom of the cricket rankings for the last two decades barring a few impressive limited overs cricket triumphs of the WI over the last 20 yea I however would argue in fact the West Indies was Cricket's Brazil for 40 long years where they dominated the game The period from early 1950s to early 1990s. In that era WI was Cricket's Brazil West Indies Culture was even very similar to Brazil. Also re baseball and cricket. You're American friend is right. Baseball is alot more popular in terms of countries than cricket Lot of it due to Cricket being played and understood only in a few countries of the former British Empire. Don't forget until the 1970s cricket matches lasted at least 2 days. Baseball is 3 hours Cricket's a superior bat and ball game to baseball in my opinion.Although less popular.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

Very funny... Thanks for this...

It made my day so light. Still laughing.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 15:25 GMT)

What a poor article Ed! How on earth you compare Brazil to India. India is no way near to Brazil when winning games outside home. If you look closely at India they have a population of 2.2 Billion. But apart from very few Great cricketers like Kapil Dev, Gavaskar, Dravid, Sachin, Kumble,Ganguly India haven't produced much more. India never had a great fast bowler after the Kapil Dev period. Even he is an average bowler when compared to today's standards (He took 131 test matches to bag 432 wickets). India has IPL money that is it. They are rich in that. It is just a Casino. Look at SL we only have a 20 million population. But just see how much we have progressed as a nation in the game. We are poor and we don't worship Cricketer's either. But as the nation who has the number one literacy level in South Asia we have traveled really far Ed! Our tiny island has taken 11 cricketers to the field of cricket in 6 ICC Major events in a very short span of time. Don't you think we are RICH ??

Posted by Brahams on (April 14, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

If this was missed - Ed's trying to make a parallel to Brazil in terms of culture, a large, almost fanatical following, and occasional spurts of brilliance on the field that lead to a few tournament trophies.

By no means Ed's making the argument that India has been the best ever!

Like it or not, India's neighbors will depend on India for survival (from a cricket point of view) - it is ludicrous to see arguments such as these - SL has a per capita twice that of India!

Posted by Mutukisna on (April 14, 2014, 15:17 GMT)

Ed Smith, I agree with you on one facet of the game namely that the BCCI when compared with the ECB, CA, CSA, SLC, PCB, NZC, WIC, etc. is the Brazil of Cricket if it is based on financial resources. To earn your assertion that India is the Brazil of Cricket it has got to do what Australia and WI did during their periods of domination, and MORE. Furthermore, can India take credit for ANY of the innovations in Cricket like the doosra, the dilscoop, the switchhits, square arm bowling, reverse swing, the pinch hitting in the powerplay overs, slow bouncers, wide yorkers etc.? The answer is a categorical NO.Brazil is known for its innovations in football not just for its wins. Mr. Smith, if you want your column to be taken seriously, you should refrain from making such outrageous assertions. BTW sadly as a Cricket fan, I know that Cricket will NEVER overtake Football in terms of popularity not in my lifetime or anybody's lifetime, as some of your contributors appear to delude themselves.

Posted by Farooq3 on (April 14, 2014, 15:07 GMT)

Linking India with Brazil is joke! India has never produced a genuine fast bowler since its inception! Its hard to imagine Brazil's football team with a genuine striker!

Posted by gandabhai on (April 14, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

When i think of Brazilian football i think ' flair and carnival atmosphere ' . Thats Indian cricket in a nutshell. We have always had the most delightful strokemakers anyone would wish to see and 90% of the time , all around the world, we have the most enthusiast crowds.

Posted by PrasPunter on (April 14, 2014, 14:55 GMT)

Are you really serious about what you have put up Ed ? Have not been a big follower of Football, but am aware that Brazil has been one of the most consistent teams over a period of time. And you compare them with india ???

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

I find this article quite appalling. First of all Ed you take out US from baseball and all you have left is perhaps Japan. You take out India and you are left with 9 full countries and a lots of associate nations including two of the biggest economies of the world (England and Australia ) and still a member of BRICS (Saffers). Not to mention some of the most populous countries in the world (Bangla, Pak and Srilanka). It is a game with a nation from (almost) every continent even if you remove India. So please don't use your brain freeze as an argument. Amazingly you argue that the heartland Europe is doing better in last decades because of better facilities compared with Brazil. Funnily you try to draw parallel with India as having better facilities in the past few decades resulting in better results and call India the next Brazil... If you use simple logic then you are calling India the Europeans, NOT the Brazilian, since better facilities are improving the Indians like the Europeans!

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 14:49 GMT)

Well that's a lot of nonsense. India are a wealthy cricketing nation yet have a rather poor record of turning that money into success. Brazil are a poor nation in world football yet have great success. If anything, India are the total opposite of Brazil in all aspects bar the fervour of the fans. On that front though, neither nation is truly on their own.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Talent-wise Australia can only come close to matching Brazil as they have dominated and re-dominated the world cricket.Ed sees a rosy picture for the future of Indian cricket. Most of us Indian fans would like to share his optimism but choose to remain skeptic regarding current state of affairs. Very predictably, the Pakistani and SL fans have come out to attack the author citing current recent downfalls in India's esp overseas on-field performances and pretending as if their respective teams never lose outisde the sub-continent :P . Relax guys, sometimes we are a few notches up, sometimes you are. Ed's comments are more concerned with the fan base I think. And yes,would like to know that which of Jayasuriya's record in ODI's is insurmountable?

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (April 14, 2014, 14:22 GMT)

@Herath-UK: Aww one win in a final after 18 years that too in T20, in which any team can beat anyone, and you are questioning what World Records India has? Use Cricinfo's excellent Statsguru and you'll find which records we have, which include, most test runs scorer, most ODI runs scorer, most balls faced in test matches, third highest wicket taker in tests to name a few.

And SL has "beaten India on the world stage three times consecutively now"?? Oh I'm sorry but I must have seen some different WC final in 2011 and a different CT semi final 2013 where we beat you with ease.

Getting into finals is no measure of consistency sunshine, winning them consistently matters, like we did in 2007, 2011 and 2013. It's good that you ran out of space because as someone rightly pointed out India is the only team that has a complete set of trophies in Limited Overs World tournaments and have won ICC test mace.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (April 14, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

OMG, people please read the article before getting on the band wagon of "lets hate India". We know you hate us, it's abundantly clear, but please read like a literate and understand what Ed is trying convey. We know we are not world beaters, just like today's Brazil. When was the last time Brazil beat anyone in a tournament that really mattered, yet when one talks about soccer first country that comes to mind is BRAZIL and not any of the European countries. It's not about how dominating one is, but about the popularity, the fan base, and off course who generates nost revenue. One can market anything related to cricket in India. Why do you think IPL is the only kind t20 tournament that is successful. BD and SL tried, but they failed. Ask any international player where they want to play, it is IPL, much to the dislike of many of you. Why do you think PAK wants to resume bilateral series with IND, not coz IND is going to benefit from that. Ed, gr8 article keep it coming.

Posted by brusselslion on (April 14, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

The article's premises is undermined by it's references to football. Firstly, Cruyff has never been manager of Spain, and was manager of Barca in the 90s. Therefore, his influence on Spain's recent success is minimal at best: Secondly, "..the Champions League has changed the way the game is played." True, the CL has affected the game's economics, but what's its effect on tactics? Moreoever, to attribute the decline of the Brazilian national team to the increased power of the Champions League is ridiculous. Off the top of my head, there are 20 or so Brazilians playing in the Champions League, and countless others in major European leagues, so why would the national team be negatively affected? Whether "Brazil (are) the greatest of all footballing powers.." is also debatable. What about Germany? Finally, Belgium have never won a WC or EC, although they've got half a chance this year; here's hoping. Best stick to cricket, Ed.

Posted by Pickwick on (April 14, 2014, 13:31 GMT)

Perhaps someday India will become cricket's Brazil, if they can learn to perform outside Indian conditions. As an Indian fan, if I had to choose any kind of comparison with Brazil it would be the Clive Lloyd's Windies pace/destructive batting or the rampaging Warne/McGrath Aussie team. No current team comes anywhere close to deserving the tribute of being compared to Brazilian soccer.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 13:14 GMT)

Forget about football, take Rugby, take NZ dominance of the the sport. NZ has population of 4 million, yet they are the undeniable brazil of rugby. infact, NZ are far more dominant at Rugby, that Brazil at football. If Ed's argument has any validity the all blacks can never achieve what they have achieved.

Even if you disregard all of that, the fact is, India is a very very poor country. I know how poor Sri Lanka is, but India has a per capita GDP that half of ours. so while the BCCI maybe rich and the IPL glamorous, at the grass root level Indian cricket underfunded and the cricketers probably malnourished. The latter may explain partially why india struggles to produce fast bowlers.

Posted by Vilander on (April 14, 2014, 13:13 GMT)

India is the only country to have done all the below atleast once. 1, World cup win 2, Test mace 3, World t2o win 4,ODI no 1 5,Test no 1 6, T20 no 1.

Posted by Vilander on (April 14, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

I think SL fans do not like this article since their national team just beat india in t20, its understandable. A cursory glance on the comments section would provide a clear picture of India's popularity amount crickets other nations, esp SL and Pak.

Posted by Unnikuttan on (April 14, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

Not Brazil. India is the England of football. Huge number of followers with passion second to none. Super Star studded (Beckham, rooney). Sum is way less than the parts. Stars who shine @ their clubs (read EPL and IPL)

In terms of world cups india in cricket has a better record than Engalnd in cricket.

India can never be a team like Brazil which was a world beater for so long a period.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 12:52 GMT)

This is a poor article. How can India's cricketing heroics can be compared what Brazil done in the football field. Football World Cup is the biggest tournament in the world, more than 200 countires taking part in the preliminary rounds and 24 teams fighting out in the final round as against about 35 counries in all plahying cricket and about 10 teams playing in the world cup. Brazil has won the world cup 5 times as agtaisnt India's 2. Whilst Brazil has been a team that travel any where in the world and rarely loose matches. India only dominant in home conditions and very poor performers abroad. So this comparison is a disgrace to Brazil.

Stanley Mayadunne

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 12:41 GMT)

@herath SLC had a tough time paying his own players and you call them a super power in cricket Have they ever won a test series in England or Australia......?

Posted by Eic145 on (April 14, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Bahaha what? A team that loses EVERY SINGLE MATCH it plays outside the subcontinent is cricket's Brazil??? What fairy land is Ed living in?

Posted by Herath-UK on (April 14, 2014, 12:20 GMT)

I think you got it wrong probably wanted a quick step to popularity.If you go by the sheer skills on the field see what Sri Lanka have done;out of the five T20 WCs three times in the final,once in the SF & maintained top of T20 league for over one year.India were just hammered in NZ 4/0 & beaten in the Asia cup too. Sri Lanka have beaten them on the world stage three times consecutively now & it has featured in the final of both 2007 & 2011 50 over WCs successively.Do not go by the population & resources figure in that case India will remain unbeatable. Compare skills & fanfare Sri Lanka have produced such mavericks like Malingas Jayasuriyas & Muralis. See the RECORDS they have established in the one day games, insurmountable, what world records India have? poor article. I have no space to go on now.

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 12:19 GMT)

@warm coffee- cricket is not backward than football,but other countries are backward in cricket because they don't have good facilities and coaches.otherwise cricket require lot more skills,technique,temperament,coordination,Patience and reflexes than football.it proves that cricket is of high quality than football.

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (April 14, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

First of all, it is ludicrous to say that Baseball is anything close to an "international game" with the same base as cricket. I don't believe that the sport is taken seriously outside of the U.S, Japan and South Korea. Thus cricket is far more of an international game, concentrated as it is in India. and that brings me to my point. If you need to be successful in cricket you need to succeed in different conditions. Brazil may have the talent to succeed in any football pitch in the world, but India will never have the fast bowlers to blow away teams in South Africa and Australia. It is plausible that one day, maybe, Afghanistan will.

Posted by murtazaz on (April 14, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

Saying India is crickets brazil is like saying a melon is like coconut. Brazil has been the most exciting , thrilling , energetic and skillful team to watch .. Just winning few tournaments in one decade doesn't mean you are on top. May be Australia's dominance from 1999-2007 could be termed as brazil like or Westindies in 70's and 80's . Those team had flare , thrill, and brazil like dominance of nearly embarrassing the opposition. India's performance away from home is terrible without any consistency. A Brazilian will feel ashamed if they accidentally read this article !

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (April 14, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

Well yes of course,Ind are def. on par with Brazil.No,not the Brazil in football-that world knows-but in hockey or even archery.For the recd. I know nothing about their ranking in these or if they even play!-:) Publish this time.

Posted by Herath-UK on (April 14, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

I think you got it wrong probably wanted a quick step to popularity.If you go by the sheer skills on the field see what Sri Lanka have done;out of the five T20 WCs three times in the final,once in the SF & maintained top of T20 league for over one year.India were just hammered in NZ 4/0 & beaten in the Asia cup too. Sri Lanka have beaten them on the world stage three times consecutively now & it has featured in the final of both 2007 & 2011 50 over WCs successively.Do not go by the population & resources figure in that case India will remain unbeatable. Compare skills & fanfare Sri Lanka have produced such mavericks like Malingas Jayasuriyas & Muralis. See the RECORDS they have established in the one day games, insurmountable, what world records India have? poor article. I have no space to go on now.

Posted by stormy16 on (April 14, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

The sad reality about Indian domination is I need to word this comment carefully to ensure it gets published! The author notes that any tournament played witht the white ball has a higher probability of an Indian win, If you go back to say last 3 WC 50 and t20, I think India featured in two and won one - not exaclty fitting outcome for the dominant nation. The other important factor is teams such as Eng and SA excel in a variety of other sports such as soccer, rugby etc. As for spreading the game, the latest trend is to actually do the opposite and a few nations to dominate.

The English invented the game and nutured it for many years, the Windies and Aus dominated it as different stages but thankfully only on the field. Its Indias turn now and we await the legacy the Indias will have on the game we all love so much.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 11:40 GMT)

The only thing wrong with this article is the Indian Cricket performance compared to the Brazilian Football performance. This is not said cause of bias, but because Brazil have been consistent, and continue to be consistent in their sport. Whereas India have not. Yes they have won trophies, but you forget that they also have not performed well at all in between those victories.

I think the Aussies fall more in line with the Brazilians in performance. Other than that, I believe yes, we do need a China or an America to really wage in for the success of cricket, but the problem is the ICC is not even doing much to integrate the current list of minnows into the bigger league. I think they need to get this right first before they could really look at working with countries like America or China.

Work with what we have, build a working model, then focus of the goldmine

Posted by Naresh28 on (April 14, 2014, 11:31 GMT)

@warm_coffee - disagree with one of your points. Netherlands, Ireland, China, Hong Kong etc play cricket e.g. Nepal was at the W T20. So saying that only 8 teams play is an exaggeration. At the end of the day it is a matter of choice for a country to play a particular sport e.g. Would you force Nigerians to play cricket? Despite this the Indian origin indians now live in most parts of the world e.g. Narine (world class spinner - WI) and Amla (SA) top class batsman - so the game is spreading as e.g. Canada has Indian players in their team. One fast bowler even turned out for Oz U19 (Singh)

Posted by rizwan1981 on (April 14, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

USA will NEVER embrace test cricket - As it is , they have American Football , Baseball , Basketball and Ice Hockey - The college/university sports are also very popular. Even South Asians(at least the second generation) in England prefer football rather than cricket.

China should be persuaded to take up cricket ( will be a countervailing force for the big 3) and if they do , its quite likely they will be better than everyone else given that they are very good at Table Tennis which is a skills based sport as opposed to raw power and brawn.Sri Lanka which has excellent relations with China , should provide assistance and hopefully the world will see a game that involves a potential 3.5 Billion audience !

Posted by gdevilliars on (April 14, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

I would suggest they are more like Mexico. huge population, very passionate about there sport but never the quality of the great teams of the past or present. The only thing this article does is make you wonder how different cricket would be if Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany played the game and how far behind cricket truly is as a world game!

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

wouldnt really make a bold statement that India are crickets Brazil, that accolade goes to Pakistan on there immense talent with the Ball, you just have to look at the bowling legends that pakistan have developed and what they have given back to the game. India is a good team but not the Brazil of cricket, more like France of cricket. India cricket board are bullies. I would put South Africa and Australia ahead of India as they all play a more entertaining game of cricket than India.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

India has not won a test match outside subcontinent since 2011, didn't win a single game on the recent tours of South Africa and New Zeal and, including a whitewash by new zealand in one dayers. Look at the records..Australia, South Africa, WI, Pakistan and England all have better head to head records against India..If at all India is in the bottom half with srilanka and New Zealand.

Posted by PrasPunter on (April 14, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

Performance-wise, facilities-wise, Australia is way better than india , over a longer period of time. Just because a lot of money is generated doesn't mean that X or Y are great performing teams on the field.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

Looking at the statistic of Last 20 Years Sri Lanka is one of the nation which despite of far lesser resources than India has shown superb success in CRICKETING world (i.e. 2 times world champion & 5 times finalist in World cup, Asian Champion several times ). Hence I rate them higher than Brazil in cricket with no match of resources than India. To me this is because of Share talent this nation has; instead oversize population & extraneous resources.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 10:26 GMT)

@Warm_Coffee. You can compare Football with games like Hockey. But you cannot compare Cricket with Football. Specially considering the flexibility cricket has these days with 3 different formats, TEST , ODIs and T20's which caters to to the taste of different audiences. Completely agree with the assessment of Gurdit singh.

Posted by BellCurve on (April 14, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Despite its massive population, India has never produced a world class fast bowler. Kapil Dev is the best of a very bad bunch. How do you explain that with your 'population-wealth-experience-knowledge' model? You can't. Remember, difficult questions lead to genuine insight.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

I mean, I know it's not your only point, but it's annoying. India is not in the same league as Australia, has a weaker record in limit overs tournies, recent success in the home 50 over world cup notwithstanding. And in the main game, test cricket, nobody has ever been scared of India, in part because India have never produced top class bowlers.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (April 14, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

The author's observation is a valid one. This is not to say that India is the best cricket team in the World. BUt that it has vast financial resources supporting the game, a large financially viable talent pool of players (again, not necessarily the best in the World but with the right environment to be so at some stage in the future), and a passionate billion plus population. Most importantly, the passion for the game transcends all socio-economic strata of society - much like Brazil and not unlike India and Pakistan. Interestingly, if one tries to correlate the size of the Brazilian population with their successes in Football and then compares this with similar records of Germany and Italy, one would reach an erroneous conclusion. In any event , neither is Brazil the World's top footballing nation nor is India, in Cricket. But the mass appeal and the passion for the respective sports validates the strong associations that the Author is pointing out!

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 10:02 GMT)

we can't by the performance through money

Posted by m0se on (April 14, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

The comparison is silly because every country can only field 11 players. A vast of majority of Indian cricketers languish in obscurity outside of the IPL season and are not allowed to seek exposure outside of IPL and the national team. Additionally, India were thrashed by New Zealand at home and Sri Lanka won the WorldT20 even with a fraction of the population and resources. I know we want to see patterns in everything but even the smallest differences in the basic structure of the sport can have substantial differences on how everything works in the global scale.

Posted by omairhr on (April 14, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

India might be Brazil of a sport called T20, not cricket.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 9:11 GMT)

Pakistan is cricket's Brazil...By money one can become in Big 3, but not cricket's Brazil :)

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (April 14, 2014, 9:06 GMT)

@Singh: high quality? lol even amongst those small 8 teams there's still a massive difference in quality especially in tests. Quantity or quality doesn't matter for Football. Football has more teams plus far more quality teams than Cricket. Cricket is more than a 100 years old but only 10 test teams says an awful lot how backwards Cricket pretty much has been lol unlike Cricket Football is played everywhere throughout the world, has far more support and attendances, massive tv market etc all Cricket has is same boring matches year in year out.

Posted by flickspin on (April 14, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

in reality india should be number 1, number 2 and number 3 in the world.

you can fit 50 australia's into india's population, you can fit 250 new zealand's into the population of india, you can fit 150 west indies into the population of india, you can fit 20 south africa's into the population of india, you can fit 20 englands into the population of india. you can fit 4 pakistan's into the population of india

in australia thier is competition for athletes with rugby union, rugby league, aussie rules and soccer,

in england cricket competes with soccer and rugby

in south africa cricket competes with soccer and rugby

what would help india become number 1, number 2 and number 3 in the world would be to have greater variety in pitches, in australia every pitch is different with fast bouncy pitches, batting pitches and spinning pitches

india has 20 first class teams with different climates india can have 10 batting pitches, 5 spinning pitches, and 5 pitches with pace and bounce

Posted by fan_of_good_cricket on (April 14, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

@smudgeon - you are right. But it doesn't leave Cricket as a 'genuine' sports involving a battle of skills & temperament, does it? The home advantage didn't use to matter that much for former greats like WI and AUS.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

@Naresh28 - Agree with you on one thing mate. India punched above their weight in this WT20. That was exactly my point. Ed is missing the point there.

Posted by bford1921 on (April 14, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

This seems a reasonable assessment, when placed across a more statistically significant population that football has. As Inida gets more professional the truth of this article will grow, and has been over the last 10 years. I suspect just selecting the best 11 players for a country the size of India will be virtually imposible, and adding local politics into the selection process will enhance this problem. However, one of the joys of sport is the teams that puch above their perceived weight, in football Spain being a good example. In the end it is 11 vs 11, not 1 billion vs 55 million, etc..

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

@warm coffee- cricket is a game of high quality,not quantity like football.more countries play football because football skills is much easier than cricket and ICC has over 100 associates in 5 divisions but only the best are qualified to play in world cups and with the evolution of t20 l,cricket would overtake football in popularity within 5-8 years.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (April 14, 2014, 8:14 GMT)

Given the overwhelming power of India in our sport from the priority cricket is given within its boundaries, the huge number of players among its 1.3 billion population and the money that the IPL is now sloshing around, cricket followers should, if Ed is correct, expect a world domination of cricket that dwarfs that of Brazil's in football. It hasn't happened, has it? In any format. Moreover, there are few signs that India will ever achieve world domination, especially not in Test cricket. It will produce fine batsmen and great spinners, but it hasn't, to date, produced a single genuinely fast bowler (the strikers of our game) who anyone can call indisputably great. All other nations that play cricket have that box ticked, several times. I suspect that the US, should they ever deign to play cricket, will be attacted to the fast bowling skill in particular. They eat enough meat.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (April 14, 2014, 8:05 GMT)

Again this comparison of an unpopular sport like Cricket to a popular sport like Football. Football has like 50 major teams whereas Cricket only 8 lol

Posted by cricmatters on (April 14, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

Another skewed article which doesn't tell the whole story. All the media hype about cricket loving population of India with its growing economy fails to ignore the fact that there are not enough grounds in India and not many facilities to train young aspiring cricketers. I am an Indian living in Melbourne and my 11 year old gets to train at the best of the grounds, lush green with net facilities which even Ranji players in India would not be able to access. He is able to buy the whole cricket kit including good bats, protective gear and leather balls which not many Indian kids can afford back in India. I cringe every time, Whenever I hear the statement that out of one billion population, how hard it is to produce 11 winning players. Soccer is a low cost game. Get one soccer ball and you are done. Cricket is an expensive sport and not many in India can afford to play it. I hope soccer takes up in India and they ditch cricket as it is a rich man's sport and hardly suitable for India.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (April 14, 2014, 7:47 GMT)

Interesting, but there is something missing. If success is down to population, wealth, experience and knowledge networks only it does not explain why Aus has won against England more often than vice versa over the past 140 years.

For most of that time England had a population many times that of Aus, Aus only became wealthy from the 1950s and cricketing-related experience and knowledge has been shared. Perhaps an attitude that allows talent to develop and succeed to international level is also a factor.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 7:45 GMT)

"It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation" Huge talent ..o my my.. i have never seen a consistent run of Indian dominance in International cricket set aside IPL. how is economy correlated to possessing huge talent base remains another question...in my opinion India has tormented the art of fast bowling with dead pitches, shorter boundaries and stupid innovations favoring batsmen. If India is Brazil of cricket den i am sure Pak is definitely Argentina!!

Posted by hifayas on (April 14, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

@Akshar AK, We all accept, Hosting Team has always an advantage on Home conditions. But as another one comment here rightly pointed out, in SA, AUS, NZ, ENG, everywhere you go, get bashed, not averagely, but very heavyly is not a sign of "Powerful Team. It is too worse to call the "Supremacy". If you take the all resources, what India has, should be a superlative team, but unfortunately they are not!!! That is the bitter truth. neverthless now they r becoming good. Better luck next time...

Posted by Naresh28 on (April 14, 2014, 7:09 GMT)

@kusun - believe what you think. India is still a power in world cricket. Before the latest world T20 lots of people wrote India off before the tourna started - some compared us lower than Afghanastan - where did India finish. As some have said India has a RICH TALENT POOL - there are some youngsters falling by wayside as a team can only accomodate 16 members. The fact that there is now three formats means that India can play a bigger pool of players this has helped.

Posted by getsetgopk on (April 14, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

Whitewashed in England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, yeah that is some dynastic supremacy. With seventy odd years playing cricket, India is yet to produce a fast bowler of quality and they are not likely to have one in the future so even if they make a dyansty it will have to stand on only one leg. LOL.

Posted by smudgeon on (April 14, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

@kitten, agree with nearly everything you say, except " Tests played abroad is their achilles heel, and will continue to be so, until they learn to adapt their play to fast pitches."...my feeling is that as India gain more and more sway over the game internationally, they will play less and less overseas (particularly outside the sub continent). Why would they? They have the IPL, and a domestic market that dwarves the rest of the cricket watching world combined. Why go out for milk when you have a cow at home?

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (April 14, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

Well India does have all the ingredients to be the best , but we have been unable to do it as of yet , and as far as performance and achievements are considered i think we have to give it to the Aussies as the best team in cricket history , but with the kind of money and number of people we have i think India will soon take over from Australia

Posted by kamran.afzal on (April 14, 2014, 6:51 GMT)

Ed, I usually like your articles. This one was more than half decent too if you remove the first 2 paragraphs. If you couldn't defend your statement about cricket being more of a world game than baseball, I wonder what made you make that claim in the first place. If I were to make that claim, I would base it on the fact that more nations play it, or that more nations have facilities for it (grounds etc.), or that more nations follow it. It's not just the number of players, it's the number of nations involved that makes a world game. And while I don't have the facts, it's not hard to see that baseball will fall way behind. And also, "as likely to win as everyone else put together" ?? seriously ?? You could've said "as likely to win as anybody else"... very true and still a very powerful statement... but your statement just puts off any serious reader.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 6:24 GMT)

The Chinese will be hard to convince to leave their athletic perversions to sport and come to a lazy sport like cricket. In all likelyhood as many believe, T20 is the best form that can promote the game worldwide... and while considering the above aspects, the BRICS countries need to be the first target to get maximum coverage. People have never explored places like Russia, China and Brazil who have long standing pedigree in sports but are ignorant with respect to cricket. Turning a country's sports affinity towards a new and unknown entity is never easy and it takes a lot of time and effort. If the ICC board and the other nations are really serious about making the ICC a better democratic body, the remaining members need to push hard to build cricketing infrastructure in their immediate neighbourhood. England and Australia do have the opportunity in spreading cricket across Europe and Oceania. It needs to be seen as to how much they cash in on these opportunities.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

India...common mate. If you said Australia in the early 2000s. You had a really good point. But India who looses every match outside the subcontinent. Brazilians who read this article must be so dissapointed at the way cricket writers look at Brazilian football. They have always been at the top of the pile from God knows when. It is a long way for any team from cricketing world to go to, before they even talk about that kind of supremacy in the game. Add to that, actually India had a very good WT20. They just lost the finals. Kholi said that himself. By the type of cricket they have been playing in 2010 and 2012, they have had a very very good WT20.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

Do you know what made Indcricket so much successful. it was 1983 triumph and Sachin. Both pulled the crowd into this game and kicked football and hockey out of the frame. Population is a big factor as well. There is at least 75 talented young cricketers in this country waiting to debut.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 5:31 GMT)

Ed Smith - your reference to talent base might need a better phrase. I would say "number of players playing the game". It is not necessarily a talented base. If so why is there no pace allrounder or pace bowlers? The talent base applies to batsmen only I would think. For Pak the talent base is fast and spin bowlers. SL and NZ have punched above their weight. How? I feel that at times too many cooks spoil the broth (even WI to lesser extent). Similarly, a bigger country might not always do well. The reason is just too much different and varied things. Brazil has one main religion, language, and culture. India is more diverse than the word itself. So it is not easy to work in cohesion. Another factor is the local influence. India is managed or often driven by local politics (for example between boards), etc.

So I think India's supposed strength is their weakness too when it comes to actually dominating Cricket on the field.

Quiet frankly India does not always play the best XI

Posted by CricketFever11 on (April 14, 2014, 5:27 GMT)

It is a day dream for Indians to dominate cricket. If they want to say they dominate it, just let them say. Who cares.

Posted by santoshjohnsamuel on (April 14, 2014, 4:52 GMT)

Normally agree with Ed completely; not quite this time. The Ind-Bra comparison is a bit far-fetched. Its true our (i'm from Ind) madness for the game is bound to produce very good ODI (& T-20) sides for years, but we are nowhere close to being a champion side in Tests -- the only yardstick that ought to be used to judge -- than when we began our cricket journey more than 70 yrs ago. The Test records of the WI (if we ignore the recent 20 years), Aus, and SA in these recent years, is something many of us envy -- not that their ODI records are not worth mentioning either. All these teams have had sustained periods of domination in Tests, have had excellent at home and away records, and have had a string of champion batsmen and pace bowlers. Ind hv done well in producing champion batsmen, protecting their great home record and a few competitive series abroad. As for the tag, only Clive/Viv's sides (for the records and the flair) deserve it; in their pomp they bettered Brazil in durability.

Posted by kitten on (April 14, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

@sray23 ....I think the writer means all types of cricket being played in all formats, not just test cricket. India won the 2007 Wt/20 in South Africa, Champion's trophy(2013, in England, even the WC in 1979 was won in England, with the exception of the WC 2011 which was played in India. Australia, no doubt has fared very well in the past, and so has the WI, but recently, it looks like most of the major trophies have been won by India, whether we like it or not. Tests played abroad is their achilles heel, and will continue to be so, until they learn to adapt their play to fast pitches. It is quite likely that may happen, with players like Kohli, Pujara, etc coming up rapidly. Let's wait and see before making judgements.

Posted by NP_NY on (April 14, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

So what if India has never dominated like WI or AUS? You don't have to be number 1 all the time. Brazil is not even in the top 10 in soccer right now. India is the ONLY country to win all three major ICC events. India is ranked in the top 3 in all three formats. India is where ALL cricketers want to play (in the IPL). Cricket is alive because of the passion of the Indian fans. Here's another similarity - All other sub-continent fans hate India just like all South American countries hate Brazil :). So Ed Smith is right. India is the Brazil of cricket.

Posted by sray23 on (April 14, 2014, 4:23 GMT)

If a world event is held inside Asia, India are more likely to win than anyone else. If it is outside Asia (CT 2013 aside), India are more likely to exit in the first round than all teams put together. End of story. India have not started winning more limited overs matches in the last few years. They have started winning more at home and losing more away. I don't call that dominance. There's a long way to go before India even thinks of dominating the game (not least winning Test series in Aus and SA, something which will be a miracle if it happens in my lifetime....and i am 30 years old)....

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

Aus and WI have been the best Worldbeaters in cricket.but in ICC events Ind have been special.They are the winners of 1983 WC(England),1985 World series(Aus),2002 CT joint winners(SL),2007t20 WC(SA),2011 wc(Ind),2013 CT(England)...The striking fact is they have emerged winners in varied conditions.3 Worldcups,2 Champions trophies,1 world series.Thats quite an incredible achievement for a nation that has never had a worldbeating team.not to mention the fact that they`ve been the losing finalists in 2000 CT,2003 WC and 2014 t20 WC.Yes Ind are the Brazil of ICC world events,not cricket in general.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 3:46 GMT)

For your memory mate, India's reocrd chase in test came against WI and that also back in 79 when they were considered best and also beat them in WC final when they already conquered the likes of Australia and England in previous editions. About Australia, so called world champions loss here in India many times. I am not saying India has achieved all but you cant neglect what they have.

Posted by ghouri_17thmcees on (April 14, 2014, 3:46 GMT)

@Kingman75: Hahahahah exactly this article only makes you laugh nothinig else, is based on an indian optimism and immaginations. How would you consider India as cricket Brazil....A totally wrong comparison. Where is Australia?????? May be you forget. No problem Lets have a look at Australia's acheivement in cricket... 4 World Cups most by any side almost equal to Brazil in football, They have the best winning ratio among all cricketing nations and against each country, like Brazi in football. Australia have contained a compelet dominance in cricket for more than 10 years, where India have not acheived even close to it. If you check the winning ratio of India in all formats they fall at 5th or 6th position among all test playing nation.....In Test: 1.Australia 2.England 3.Pakistan 4.South Africa 5.West Indies 6.India In Odis: 1.Australia 2.South Africa 3.Pakistan 4.West Indies 5.India. Now how can you relate a team who always been on no 5 or 6 all times cricket.........Its a big Jok

Posted by   on (April 14, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

The article is a tad hyperbole. India have never really dominated the game. Before people get all riled up about the coming indian "dynastic supremacy" lets not forget the T20 world cups of 2009, 2010 and 2012. If you add to that recent performances in NZ, SA, ENG and AUS, India are far far away from dominating the game.

Only Australia and Windies have done that. The Windies dominance of the 70s, 80s and even early 90s clearly invalidates the soccernomics type arguments.

As far as the rest of us see it, India is merely a boardroom bully. that's all.

Posted by Zeshan547 on (April 14, 2014, 3:38 GMT)

India lost there last 10 test matches out of last 12 away test matches, and other 2 were draw, if you think cricket is all about limited overs, then you are may be right but if test cricket is regarded as best form of cricket and you are taking about india being brazil of cricket then you are just day dreaming.

Posted by android_user on (April 14, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

home champs in cricket. nothing close to Brazil as far as real cricket goes.

Posted by glen1 on (April 14, 2014, 3:17 GMT)

Yes, the way the Indian Team has been showing up casually at ICC events and coming close to the titles indicates that India has arrived in Cricket. Looking at the talent base, and the depth of cricketing events and expectations of fans, things can only get better. However, many will question as to why it took so long?

Posted by Kingman75 on (April 14, 2014, 3:04 GMT)

Don't make me laugh. Lets talk success and legacy. Australia and the West Indies blow india away on all fronts in all formats.

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