What I'd like to see happen in the next 25 years

Our writers weigh in on things they want to see happen in cricket over the next quarter-century

ESPNcricinfo staff

We want Richie © Getty Images

An Australian side that's easy to love
An Australian cricket team admired as much for its conduct as for its performance. The last one for which this could be genuinely said was captained by Richie Benaud. Acceptance of short-term pain to work towards this long-term goal will likely be necessary, and it will require the forbearance of many of the egos in the Australian game, because it will also place more of a spotlight on the need for genuine excellence among cricketers, without having to resort to "mental disintegration". - Daniel Brettig, assistant editor

A vibrant club game in England
The ECB's attempts at attracting a new audience have been shamefully ham-fisted, but one thing that must not be doubted is the urgency of their endeavours. Club cricket, the lifeblood of the sport - the source of its lifelong fans, not to mention the breeding ground for its future elites - is in crisis. A generation of invisibility on terrestrial TV has devastated the once-natural progressions that kept young players coming through the system.

Take my own club in East London. Our quickest bowler is now into his 30s, and admits that the 2005 Ashes - that final glorious free-to-air summer - was the moment that persuaded him that this was a game worth investing in. There is literally no one coming through to replace him, and like the devastation of the rainforests, or the overfishing of our seas, the effects of abandoning our village greens will become irreversible if they are not addressed here and now, and by whatever means it takes.

As it happens, most of the cricket I play these days starts at 6pm and lasts for 16 overs a side, with eight in a row from one end. It's still recognisably cricket. And in 25 years' time, we might be thanking similar formats for keeping our sport creaking along until the cavalry arrived. - Andrew Miller, UK editor

Cricket going into every part of countries that play it
Everyone wants to see new cricket powers arise in all corners of the globe, but what about the game's spread in the nations in which it is already established? In Sri Lanka, the western and southern provinces are cricketing hotbeds, with Kandy also serving as a central hub, but even on this small island, talent in the far-flung regions goes undiscovered or ignored. How terrific would it be to have national players from the post-war north and east, for example?

This is not just a Sri Lankan problem, either, and the issues are not strictly geographical. South Africa imposes quotas. Even in England there are swathes of the country in which cricket is mostly irrelevant. Could cricket, in 25 years, produce national teams that are a true reflection of their nations? - Andrew Fidel Fernando, Sri Lanka correspondent

What if China took to the game in a big way? © Getty Images

Top-level cricket in China and Korea
When Bangladesh gained Test status in 2000, the ICC loudly said that cricket was being globalised. Far from it. The game had only included an already cricket-mad region from within its catchment zone. Cricket still isn't big in most regions in Africa, Europe, Asia or North America. It has literally nothing in South America at a reasonably high level.

But there's potential everywhere - if the ICC shows half the willingness of FIFA, which has set a great example of spreading an already popular sport, in tapping into it. Among the existing cricket-playing nations, Netherlands' ascension would bring cricket to mainland Europe. But it is obvious that taking cricket north and east of India, towards China and South Korea would give it a different flavour, a wider market, and the spread it has desired for decades. Sport in general has a high priority, and attracts plenty of investors, participants and government interest in China and South Korea. It is a geography that begs to be brought into the cricket fold. - Mohammad Isam, Bangladesh correspondent

A strong African presence in cricket
Zimbabweans became free before South Africans and so, played in the World Cup before South Africans. They even beat South Africa (once) in the tournament, but unfortunately never quite got as good as their bigger, wealthier neighbours, and in the last few years they have gone so far backwards that they won't even play in the 2019 edition of the tournament.

While Zimbabwe, the nation and the cricket team, continue to lurch through crises that show no signs of abating in the post Robert Mugabe-era, at least the ICC has stepped in. A drip-feed of funds and a debt-management plan should help them get back on track, but the real measure of progress will be whether they can get to another World Cup: 2023? 2027? Or 2043?

My wish for cricket's future is for a strong, competitive Zimbabwe, and if not them, then another representative from the African continent, such as Uganda, Kenya or even from the west, like Nigeria or Sierra Leone, would be welcome. - Firdose Moonda, South Africa correspondent

Cricket broadcasts without commentary
Soon we will get 4K pictures for all matches, might get VR experience of live matches, might be able to nudge the umpires about no-balls in real time, but for some reason, we will not get the one major - and simple - innovation we have been begging for: broadcasts with ambient ground sounds but no commentary.

Here's the hook for the suits at TV stations: try charging extra for this service on your online streams and watch the revenue flow in: a no-commentary feed (with an option to choose camera angles).

Nothing against commentators but I want the option to be able to mute them without losing out on the sounds of edges, the stump-mic chatter, the tension and elation and quiet (or noise) in the stands. When the commentators that I really like are on, or when I can't look at the screen, I can leave the commentary on. Just give me the choice and take my money. - Sidharth Monga, assistant editor

When will Afghan fans be able to cheer international cricket at home? © AFP

International cricket in Afghanistan
To be seated in a cricket press box on a spring morning in Kabul or Jalalabad, with the latest Afghan fast-bowling sensation tearing in to bowl the first ball against the greatest batsman India has ever produced. The stands are packed - men, women, children; there's music, chanting, drumbeats. It's a clear day. If you climb up to the top of the stands, you will see the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush, ageless, amused observers under a sky that is almost sapphire. Twenty-five years from now, it won't be cricket alone we will be celebrating. - Sharda Ugra, senior editor

Respect for supporters
Give me one hope for cricket in the next 25 years and it would be the adoption of a supporters' charter to ensure that the fans at the game are not forgotten in the rush to maximise revenue.

The financing of cricket has long meant that overriding importance is given to the rights deals that sustain the game. Pay TV sports companies have traditionally held sway, and digital media might soon show its muscle. The views of the fans at the game are subservient to the masses watching on screens around the world, but for cricket to prosper, the symbiotic relationship between the fan at the ground and the stay-at-home viewer must be restated.

A supporters charter can help. Confirm all professional fixtures at least six months in advance - only to be changed in unavoidable circumstances. Impose minimum standards for toilets, baby-changing facilities, alcohol-free and family stands, and refreshment outlets. And introduce fair pricing policies to ensure that the fan at the game is valued. - David Hopps

Mixed cricket teams at the Olympics
Roughly half the population of the world is female, but women are still a long way off from having equal rights and respect in the 21st century.

Cricket is steadily, though belatedly, embracing and developing the women's game. What I want to see is women players play alongside men in teams in limited-overs cricket - whether T20 or T10. And what better stage than the Olympics, the showcase competition in global sport. I am talking of serious, competitive cricket, where the best female and male players pit themselves against each other at the highest level.

It is a way to develop the game where women can be the drivers. - Nagraj Gollapudi, deputy editor