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IS ENGLAND LOSING ITS LOVE FOR CRICKET?

The English are the creators of the game of cricket. But are English people losing interest in cricket? Let us see the decline in the love for cricket and how English has managed to find out ways to keep it going.

Ritik Goel
Last updated: 08.06.2019
Is England losing its love for Cricket | Sports Social Blog

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Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, second only to Football. However, cricket is played extensively in far lesser countries than Football. So, clearly, the places in which it is played, it is loved by the fans from the core of their hearts.


The English are the creators of the game of cricket. Also, they have ruled so many parts of the world which have led to the development of this game in those parts of the world. However, as we look at the present, the game seems to be more popular in other countries that England itself.


India, for example, has become the superpower of cricket. The game’s most powerful and richest cricketing body lies in India. A lot of credit has to be given to England to spread this wonderful to various places. However, the question that seems to crop up these days is, “are English people losing interest in cricket?”

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When you look at the English crowds that turn up in the stadiums, you don’t think so. Test matches during the English summer experience full houses. This scenario is unique to England. Given the declining popularity for test cricket, it is quite impressive that the English matches still attracts such decent crowds. Another striking feature of English cricket is that their fans travel with the team to various countries. In a test match between England and Sri Lanka in 2018 at Colombo saw hardly any Sri Lankan in the crowd, they were all English.


So, the sophisticated people of England still have a soft corner for the purest form of the game. However, the development of cricket in the United Kingdom has not been as rapid as it is in countries like India. Big Private schools have their cricket teams but small state teams don’t have cricket teams. So, unless you belong to a rich and privileged English family and attain quality education, you don’t get to hone your cricketing skills at the school level.


Sanjay Manjekar, a renowned cricket commentator who is covering the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was staying in a hotel. He tweeted that there were 100 channels on the television but none of them was showing the World Cup. This is so because major cricket matches are not available on a free-to-air basis in England. So, television viewership is lacking in this part of the world. This is one of the major reasons for the declining popularity of the game. When the cricket broadcast in England was free on Channel 4, the Ashes got close to 9 million viewers. In 2017, the viewership saw a fall of 80% owing to a paid membership.


Moreover, Star Sports, the official broadcaster of India has a tremendous marketing policy. It streams numerous cricketing shows and hires experts from all around the world to analyse various cricket matches. No many such shows are broadcasted in England to keep the fans involved. The buzz around the World Cup in England this year is nowhere close to what it was during the last two editions in India and Australia respectively.



The stadiums of England are beautiful but not spacious enough. Most of the major stadiums have a capacity of below 25,000. This is in stark comparison to the ground capacities of India and Australia. In fact, the crowd of England is renowned for its simplicity. So, you don’t often see the passion and aggression in the England crowd that you see in the Indian crowd.


The English Cricket Board was quite hesitant to send its players to leagues like the Indian Premier League. For a long time, English players did not appear in the IPL. Undoubtedly, the English players were left behind in a fast-paced cricketing world. They have played a conventional and conservative form of cricket for a long period of time which did not help their cause. They realised this when they were knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The captain Eoin Morgan and the Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss then sat down to decide the changes in the landscape of English white ball cricket. They transformed the way England plays these days. Also, players are now sent to the IPL and BBL to enhance their skills. This is helped players like Jos Buttler a great deal. So, all of a sudden, there has been a rejuvenation of the English cricket and the lost interest is coming back.


A lot of credit has to be given to an attractive coverage of Sky Cricket in England. They have done a fairly good job over the years. In fact, a lot of Sky commentators go to foreign tours with the teams to cover their matches. This is something, again, very unique to England.


Cricket may not be as popular as it was a few years back in England. However, the anticipation for the Ashes does not fall a bit. People in England desperately wait for the commencement of the greatest rivalry in cricket that has ever been. The Ashes never fail to entertain. In fact, the iconic 2005 Ashes series remains to be one of the most watched series in the history of the game. One of the matches saw a record 8.4 million viewers.


In India, the financial heart for T20s has risen by almost 200% making it a superpower of cricket in the modern era. However, the financial heart for test cricket has fallen by close to 30%. So, England, for a long time was worried about the future of test cricket and was not so keen about the shorter formats. However, it has done away with all the worries and decides to take a step ahead and begin a new revelation of cricket, “The Hundred”. It promises to be a blockbuster but only time will tell how far it can go.


It will be unfair to compare the cricketing popularity of England with that of India where cricket is the main priority. However, we have seen a decline in the love for cricket in the country which developed it but it has managed to find out ways to keep it going pretty well.


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