4 controversial moments that shook cricket to its core
Cricket is one of the oldest sports in existence. Having been played for hundreds of years it rivals golf in terms of being one of the oldest sports to come out of the British Empire. What’s interesting, however, is how unrecognizable today's ‘cricket’ would be to those who invented it back in the 1700s.
Cricket is constantly changing, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. In a society where attention spans are shortening, and a lot more sporting options are there to wet fans' taste buds, I applaud the fact that cricket is adapting to stay relevant. However, there are some events that have not necessarily changed cricket for the better.
Throughout this article, I will look at the 4 specific events which I believe have shaken cricket to its core, so much so that they have changed the way cricket is played all over the world. Some have changed it for the better and some have changed it for the worse, but they have all changed the way the world's second most popular sport is played in today’s day and age.
#4 The creation of Twenty 20 Cricket
Originally introduced as a gimmick in English County Cricket in 2003, no one in their wildest dreams would have predicted the impact of Twenty20 cricket on the world game. Fast forward 15 years and Twenty20 is comfortably the most supported format out of the 3 forms of the game. There are both good and bad aspects in today’s cricketing world that can directly be attributed to the game's newest format.
Good aspects include the amount of cash that has been injected into modern day cricket, new younger fan bases, and the ability to broadcast cricket around the globe as a much shorter, entertaining product.
Indian Premier League, Big Bash League, Caribbean Twenty20. None of these multimillion-dollar competitions would be around if it wasn’t for the invention of Twenty20 cricket. These leagues earn in some cases multibillion-dollar tv rights contracts. This is great for increasing player income and getting more cricket broadcast on tv sets all over the world.
The fact that a game of Twenty20 only lasts 3 hours, compared to an 8-hour ODI or 5-day Test Match is great for introducing the younger generation to cricket. Average attendance at Twenty20 leagues reflects the lift in popularity of Twenty 20. Both the IPL and Big Bash in 2016 were in the top 10 sports leagues around the world for average attendance with 28,279 and 31,750 respectively.
There are destructive qualities that Twenty20 has introduced to cricket. 20 years ago, the best players in the world were playing International Cricket. Nowadays some of the best players have turned their back on Test Cricket for the more lucrative Twenty20 leagues around the world.
Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo are examples of this. Test Match crowds have also taken a huge hit. Fans are used to the excitement of Twenty20 cricket, and as such don’t want to sit down and watch defensive cricket all day anymore.