Confused huh?? Worried!! If you are thinking that I am talking about a fusion of cricket and football where the bat is a cricket bat but the ball is the football. Well, thank your lucky stars because I am not talking of any such matter. Being an ardent football as well as cricket fan I have seen a shift of how cricket is being played right now. And I don’t mean this literally but with the advent of various Twenty-20 leagues in different countries, is the leagues gaining more viewership than regular matches?
We all know the popularity of the ‘English premier league’, ‘La Liga’, ‘Bundesliga’ and of course the ‘UEFA Champions League and Europa League’. Of course the World Cup’s viewership shadows all. But to qualify for the world cup, the countries have to pay respective matches against each other (both home and away) and the friendly matches determine the ranking of a respective team.
The reason for this is that the league matches are very exciting. Some teams fight for the champion’s league qualification, some fight the relegation battle. With so many foreign recruits these days, these leagues are followed in different countries too. The thing about football was that this was the way from the very beginning, but for cricket it was a whole different scenario.
With the gradual decline of popularity of test cricket (so unfortunate) and changes in rules seen in the 50 over format to avoid it from suffering the same fate, the Twenty-20 format has given cricket a new lease of life. Today’s fast paced life means that youngsters today prefer the slam bang version rather than the gruelling test of technique, temperament and patience of test cricket.
So various countries have introduced their respective twenty-20 leagues with the IPL and KFC T20 Big Bash(Australian league) among the most popular. These leagues also have foreign recruits thus ensuring global viewership. In fact, the global viewership of IPL includes people from Asia, Middle East, the UK and the US and Australia. There is also the CL T20(champions league T20) where the top teams from leagues of Inida, Australia, Sri lanka, Pakistan etc compete for the ultimate prize.
It may not be long when just like how it is in football, such leagues garner more viewership and popularity than ‘The Ashes’, or India’s tour Down Under etc. Or maybe, I am too naive and the fact of the matter is that the game of cricket has evolved and we should just try to enjoy it!!.