Cricket is also like a movie. It has heroes ,villains ,support cast, then there are directors, script writers, special effects and editing. However, every movie doesn’t turn out a classic, isn’t? There are good ones, bad ones and the ugly ones. So, if we know the mix, why then can we not script every movie to be a hit?
We know what it takes to win, we try hard too, but no one can guarantee what the outcome of the box office results. We also look back search for greatness that made the movie a blockbuster. There is a reference manual, there are people who share their first hand knowledge and experience and there are those who have a gifted mind to analyze and recommend.
The result is almost never the same. And that’s the beauty of it. Then comes along a pivotal moment in the journey that changes everything. It transformed the way we looked at movies. It redefined how the motion picture industry functioned.
Just like “Birth of a Nation” released on February 8th 1915, that changed how innovative editing techniques and continuous storyline could impact a movie-watching experience. It was perhaps the first blockbuster of all time. “The Yiddisher Boy”, released in 1909 was perhaps the first movie to introduce a flashback sequence. The magic of movies had begun.
Ever since then, Cinema has grown from strength to strength. Technical competency increased, the acting prowess expanded , the storylines exploded to cater to every variety of audience. There was a movie for every emotion, every human to identify. It was not restricted to the elite few who could afford it. It had to reach masses and the classes. And that is why the motion picture industry has survived upwards of a hundred years.
Now think about Cricket and you will find many similarities. With the select and limited audience at the start of the early 18th century, its now watched globally by no less than 1.5B people ! Over the years, it has had its shares of blockbusters and duds. But each experience has developed the character of the sport.
Ashes will go down in history as the most competitively fought series over the longest period of time. The Ashes incident in some ways, changed the way Cricket was assessed. It gave a new dimension, it gave character to the sport. History was created.It was a turning point and we should not judge it to be good or bad. No on can deny the impact of the Ashes series on world cricket.
As modernity exploded into our lives, the impact on Cricket was inevitable. More reach the game had, meant more countries could come into the big league. Think about Sri Lanka pre and post their world cup victory. Think about West-Indies, in their pre and post first world cup victories.
The most monetized form of the game IPL has brought in more in positive than the shroud of corruption that surrounds it. The origin of so much money comes from so many people coming back to the stadium to watch the match.
Think of the English Premier League and its impact on football in the region. There is a reason why Manchester United and Chelsea fans are united worldwide.Liverpool and Arsenal are common household names today.
Likewise the world is beginning to know who the Mumbai Indians are or who the Royal Challengers are and a fan following is developing globally. there is nothing better for a sport if it is able to reach more number of people. The increasing popularity of Cricket is even more fascinating because of the complexity of the game and the rules, unlike say football, which is much easier to follow.
The magnitude of the impact of the sport, resulted in new jobs being created, new avenues for sportsmen and women opened up. There was a new choice of a career. The once ignored and modestly paid Cricket commentary job, now functions as a platform for many retired cricketers. The aspect of physical fitness meant, the impact of the sport support staff would be that much more critical.
As with most growth pangs, there are issues of corruption and confusion. There are always a few individuals who misjudged the ball coming into their off stump and got out shouldering the ball. Cricket or the popularity of Cricket can’t be help responsible for a monetization capacity it brings to the table.
Each Cricket worth his salt will vouch for Test Cricket. But does it mean they should hate IPL-brand Cricket? Its like saying just because I loved watching “Gone with the Wind” I will not like “Brokeback Mountain”. They are love stories in essence and that’s what matters.
- Lance Armstrong,
- Pete Rose
- Tiger Woods
- Ben Johnson
None of them were Cricketers, but have maligned the sport they played for their country. Does it mean the sport is at fault? Boxing, Horse racing, Formula-1 and even the mother of all sporting events the Olympics has been marred by controversies. Does it mean we stop watching ? Does it mean the business of sports is creating a rot?
There will always be villains and evil side-kicks.The lurking henchman and the rowdy gangs. There will always be that outlier who challenges rules. There will always be those taunts and jibes just like any other sport or part in life.
Yes Of course the sport needs better governance, stricter laws and tougher punishments. Those who bring disrepute to the game need to be publicly exposed and prosecuted by the law of the land. The audience feel cheated if games are fixed and more so It betrays the hope ,prestige and passion of the sport loving nation.
But it will be gravely unfair to brand all sports people , and in this case Cricketers, who play the modern game under the umbrella of just playing to earn money and not for the joy of the sport. The fundamental reason a sportsperson picks up a sport is the joy he or she derives from playing it.
Money always comes later , but it does not mean it is any less important. There is fundamentally nothing wrong if a person thinks of Cricket as a great career option. Just like any other governing body they have to ensure it is played / earned by fair means.
The competition amongst talent is so hard,that the intent to earn money alone will not get you a place in the team. You will have to fight every step of the way, just like any other job one would apply. No company is going to hand over a job on a platter to you . Along the way, you entertain people by the way you play the sport and that is just fine.
In the end Cricket is richer not just in terms of money, but in terms of experience ,impact and the joy it brings to more than a billion people.