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Lights! Camera! Action! - A list of improvements for cricket broadcasting

vedantja
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04:  Former Australian cricketer and current commentator Ian Healy poses with 'The Richies' a group of supporters dressed up as former Australian cricket captain and commentator Richie Benaud sing during day two of the Third Test match between Australia and Pakistan at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 4, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Richie Benaud represented cricket broadcasting done right. He stands in this picture (R) with his fans, “The Richies” 

 

Cricket broadcasting is a tricky art. The number of parameters in cricket is unparalleled in any other sport and few sports have the action compartmentalised into balls, overs and innings as cricket does. This leaves broadcasters in a mire as to how to sift through the piles and piles of information: strike rates, pitch conditions, speed of bowler, release points, and so on and so forth, to display only relevant and interesting pieces while the game is in play, and in times between deliveries.

Furthermore, while cricket fields are big, the action is generally confined to the pitch, a relatively small area. How to focus the audience’s attention to those 22 yards, while still conveying the importance of the rest of the field is a real challenge.

Most broadcasters follow a uniform format today for all three formats, which came into being following Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, one the general public is not only used to, but also comfortable with.

However, this format has gaping flaws, ones that not only reduce the overall viewing experience for fans, but also the scope for analysis and even the attractiveness of cricket for new fans. This article delves into the ways in which cricket broadcasting could be improved, both during the match as well as before and after.

Displaying Field Settings

One of the most important aspects of the game is field position. Not only does it give key insights into what areas a bowler is trying to hit, but it also provides an understanding of a captain’s plans. 

Yet, cricket broadcasters across the board do not display field settings at regular intervals. During a broadcast, commentators often allude to field changes, and these changes often define the flow of a game. But broadcasters fail to paint the whole picture through their reluctance to simply display the field regularly.

Cricket, because of its intricacies, is often met with scepticism from new fans, citing “not understanding” as a key reason for shying away from the game. Broadcasting the field placements is a simple solution to that. If someone knows where the fielders are, they understand what every player’s aim is, opening up a whole new world for them.

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