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Thread: How come cricket is not spreading to other countries?

  1. #1
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    How come cricket is not spreading to other countries?

    Why is it that cricket has not taken off in the rest of the world and its only strongholds are the same Test-playing nations that have been playing for decades? Even the newest Test-playing nation, Bangladesh, was actually holding Test matches back in the 50s as East Pakistan. Compare it to baseball, soccer/football, basketball, rugby, etc and it's just pathetic. I used to think it was the money but cricket actually pays well, nowadays. We do see teams like Canada, Netherlands, and Hong Kong participate in some tournaments but they are mostly filled up of expatriates from other cricket playing countries.

    Obviously, the future of cricket is healthy with close to 1.5 billion people (rough estimate) in South Asia but it makes the game only a regional sport. It's not even in the Olympics, though it appears in 2020 it will be.

    Is it the game itself? I know cricket's detractors consider it boring, too complex and not the most athletic of sports. Or is it the way the ICC is handling the spread of the game? Does T20 make the game more appealing? Are those mostly American sports listed above spreading due to the high profile of American athletes and their professional leagues? Obviously, baseball and cricket are too similar and there's really no room for cricket in baseball playing countries. But Europe is not a baseball playing continent, though it may frown upon an English sport.
    Last edited by brackenNY; 27-09-2009 at 07:31 PM.

  2. #2
    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    If baseball can spread (although, has it, really?) then cricket must be able to. Baseball is like cricket sans entertainment. Then again, rugby union is basically rugby league sans entertainment, yet the former is more globally popular.

    Perhaps rugby union is actually a good example of a complicated, absurd, and very English sport becoming (kinda) globally popular, or at least a little bit popular in many different parts of the world. To me cricket is 1,000 times easier to explain and market than Onion.

  3. #3
    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    A couple of major reasons. Cricket has traditionally been an English sport and all of the Test-playing nations, where cricket has been established for many years, have their roots in the British Empire and modern Commonwealth. Had India not been part of the Empire, it would probably now be a football-playing rather than cricket-playing country.

    In continental Europe, Africa, South America and much of Asia (the subcontinent aside) - i.e. the rest of the world, football holds sway. Football's advantage comes from its simplicity (the game essentially consists of eleven players on each side trying to kick a ball through a small zone at either end of a rectangular field more times than the other side - try to explain cricket as concisely) and the almost complete lack of equipment to play it at a rudimentary level - consisting pretty much of one ball, and nothing else. To play a game of cricket even remotely close to that played by professionals, you need two bats, some stumps, an (expensive) ball, pads, gloves etc, as well as a reasonable surface to play on.

    And now that football is so entrenched in the sporting culture of many of these countries, it would be difficult to shift. IMO the ICC's only real chance of development with indiginous (sp?) populations, leaving aside the immigrant XIs of many of the associate sides, is where no real globalised sport has yet to take root, as in Afghanistan.

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    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thierry henry View Post
    Perhaps rugby union is actually a good example of a complicated, absurd, and very English sport becoming (kinda) globally popular, or at least a little bit popular in many different parts of the world. To me cricket is 1,000 times easier to explain and market than Onion.
    Would DWTA for the reasons in my post. Both codes of rugby can be simplified to 13 or 15 blokes trying to move a ball from one end of a rectangular field to the other, predominantly with their hands and without throwing the ball forwards. Scrums, lineouts, rucks, mauls, offsides etc are all just there to faciliate this essence of the game and ensure that reasonable parameters for play are established. The 'essence' of cricket is much harder to define - explaining what is going on in a game of rugby to a complete novice would be much easier than in a game of cricket, IMO.

    It's also still only really popular in a couple of countries as well - predominantly those in the Commonwealth, plus the odd European state. It hasn't spread, as such, to Africa or Asia.


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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zabajk View Post
    Are those mostly American sports listed above spreading due to the high profile of American athletes and their professional leagues?
    I don't think the American sports are spreading any more than cricket, tbh, and their athletes certainly don't have a high profile. I doubt many people in Europe could name one current baseball player, one current American Football player or one current basketball player. I'm thinking, "that Boston pitcher who's famous for throwing screwballs whose name escapes me, not the slightest idea on American Football and that ridiculously big chinese guy". They're literally nobodies outside the US.

    It's actually odd how little US sport spreads overseas. Considering how much of the culture is pretty dominant worldwide (movies, TV, music) you'd expect there to be some kind of interest in their sports. But over here at least, there's next to none.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jungle Jumbo View Post
    A couple of major reasons. Cricket has traditionally been an English sport and all of the Test-playing nations, where cricket has been established for many years, have their roots in the British Empire and modern Commonwealth. Had India not been part of the Empire, it would probably now be a football-playing rather than cricket-playing country.

    In continental Europe, Africa, South America and much of Asia (the subcontinent aside) - i.e. the rest of the world, football holds sway. Football's advantage comes from its simplicity (the game essentially consists of eleven players on each side trying to kick a ball through a small zone at either end of a rectangular field more times than the other side - try to explain cricket as concisely) and the almost complete lack of equipment to play it at a rudimentary level - consisting pretty much of one ball, and nothing else. To play a game of cricket even remotely close to that played by professionals, you need two bats, some stumps, an (expensive) ball, pads, gloves etc, as well as a reasonable surface to play on.

    And now that football is so entrenched in the sporting culture of many of these countries, it would be difficult to shift. IMO the ICC's only real chance of development with indiginous (sp?) populations, leaving aside the immigrant XIs of many of the associate sides, is where no real globalised sport has yet to take root, as in Afghanistan.
    I've heard that kind of thing before, but I don't really agree with it. The idea that sports compete against each other is fallacious to some extent. Ireland are the leading Associate nation at the moment, and one with a very high (and ever-increasing) proportion of homegrown players, but cricket's the fifth most popular sport there at a stretch. And it's not like it has a particularly big population either.

    You don't have to become the biggest sport in a country to "catch on". Cricket, like most sports, offers something that nothing else does. Just as an example, how many sports do people regularly keep playing when they're 60? It's clear to see why cricket isn't the most popular sport in many countries. What surprises me is how it hasn't ground out a niche anywhere else the way it has in Ireland and the Netherlands.

  7. #7
    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    I've heard that kind of thing before, but I don't really agree with it. The idea that sports compete against each other is fallacious to some extent. Ireland are the leading Associate nation at the moment, and one with a very high (and ever-increasing) proportion of homegrown players, but cricket's the fifth most popular sport there at a stretch. And it's not like it has a particularly big population either.

    You don't have to become the biggest sport in a country to "catch on". Cricket, like most sports, offers something that nothing else does. Just as an example, how many sports do people regularly keep playing when they're 60? It's clear to see why cricket isn't the most popular sport in many countries. What surprises me is how it hasn't ground out a niche anywhere else the way it has in Ireland and the Netherlands.
    Ireland and the Netherlands both have a close proximity to England though. Maybe the Netherlands link is a bit more difficult to understand (although football also caught on there first on the continent). Ireland might also be the leading Associate side, but it is almost certain that they will ever be good enough to regularly challenge the established Test powers, unless those established nations experience a dramatic decline in the popularity of cricket.

    For me, the smaller the sport, the more the reason for some sort of historical or cultural ties to the country involved - there must be some reason for the sport's existence in the country in question in the first place. Sure, cricket may be well suited to a laidback Provencal lifestyle in southern France (for a hypothetical example), but while pastimes such as cycling and pétanque exist, there is no reason to invest the time and money into playing an alien, expensive sport, that requires another 21 enthusiasts and adequate facilities to render it worth playing. I don't think the degree to which the sport is closely linked with its English and imperial heritage can be underestimated.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jungle Jumbo View Post
    Ireland and the Netherlands both have a close proximity to England though. Maybe the Netherlands link is a bit more difficult to understand (although football also caught on there first on the continent). Ireland might also be the leading Associate side, but it is almost certain that they will ever be good enough to regularly challenge the established Test powers, unless those established nations experience a dramatic decline in the popularity of cricket.

    For me, the smaller the sport, the more the reason for some sort of historical or cultural ties to the country involved - there must be some reason for the sport's existence in the country in question in the first place. Sure, cricket may be well suited to a laidback Provencal lifestyle in southern France (for a hypothetical example), but while pastimes such as cycling and pétanque exist, there is no reason to invest the time and money into playing an alien, expensive sport, that requires another 21 enthusiasts and adequate facilities to render it worth playing. I don't think the degree to which the sport is closely linked with its English and imperial heritage can be underestimated.
    Don't see why Ireland could never be good enough to challenge. They've a very good youth setup and their players have access to regular county cricket. The thing that's slowing their progress is England taking their best players. Ireland like England potentially have a bigger pool of players that qualify for them, as their status increases you may find that Ireland take in a few genuine quality imports (as opposed to the substandard ones they have filling out their side)
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    Hall of Fame Member NUFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    I don't think the American sports are spreading any more than cricket, tbh, and their athletes certainly don't have a high profile. .
    Yep, in Brooklyn NY Cricket is the fastest growing sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    It's actually odd how little US sport spreads overseas. Considering how much of the culture is pretty dominant worldwide (movies, TV, music) you'd expect there to be some kind of interest in their sports. But over here at least, there's next to none.
    I think Great Britain and Ireland are exceptions regarding basketball, which is very much a minority concern over here but is pretty huge in Spain, Italy, Greece and a lot of former Soviet and Yugoslav countries. I think it's main appeal is, like association football, it's a very simple game in essence with minimal equipment needed.

    Ice hockey is also pretty sizeable in Scandinavia, Germany, the former Czechoslovakia & Soviet Union too, so some American sports do gain footholds elsewhere.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Cricket, overwhelmingly, is a game that people tend to get into at a relatively young age or not at all. The simplicity aspect is almost certainly one reason; there must be others, but they're less obvious.

    Ergo, it's not the sort of sport given to "spreading". The only reason it spread globally was because of the British Empire - Australia, South Africa (and Zimbabwe, which used to play as a South African province), India (and Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which were new political entities carved-out of India), the Caribbean. Not actually sure if New Zealand was ever a British colony TBH but if it wasn't it's merely like Sri Lanka (and Kenya), in being in close proximity to an established stronghold.

    The only genuine gain of cricketing territory likely post-colonialism appears to be Afghanistan, which like Sri Lanka and Kenya is in close proximity to an established stronghold. Holland - which is similar - has been promising a lot for a while, but has still to make any real progress.

    It's very unlikely that there'll be much further growth of cricket any time soon, and that isn't really anyone's fault, nor does it really matter - cricket has sufficient family to remain entertaining to those who love it in countries where it is already established.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    I don't think the American sports are spreading any more than cricket, tbh, and their athletes certainly don't have a high profile. I doubt many people in Europe could name one current baseball player, one current American Football player or one current basketball player. I'm thinking, "that Boston pitcher who's famous for throwing screwballs whose name escapes me, not the slightest idea on American Football and that ridiculously big chinese guy". They're literally nobodies outside the US.

    It's actually odd how little US sport spreads overseas. Considering how much of the culture is pretty dominant worldwide (movies, TV, music) you'd expect there to be some kind of interest in their sports. But over here at least, there's next to none.
    I don't think you are correct. Basketball's global now, it's HUGE in Europe and South America. Look at how teams like Turkey, Argentina and Spain have good teams, perform well in global competitions and have players in the NBA.

    Baseball's really popular in Latin America, the Caribbean and Japan.

    Only sport to fail is American football.
    Last edited by brackenNY; 28-09-2009 at 10:19 AM.

  13. #13
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Cricket, overwhelmingly, is a game that people tend to get into at a relatively young age or not at all.
    Words cannot describe how strongly I disagree with this.

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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Cricket, overwhelmingly, is a game that people tend to get into at a relatively young age or not at all. The simplicity aspect is almost certainly one reason; there must be others, but they're less obvious.

    Ergo, it's not the sort of sport given to "spreading". The only reason it spread globally was because of the British Empire - Australia, South Africa (and Zimbabwe, which used to play as a South African province), India (and Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which were new political entities carved-out of India), the Caribbean. Not actually sure if New Zealand was ever a British colony TBH but if it wasn't it's merely like Sri Lanka (and Kenya), in being in close proximity to an established stronghold.

    The only genuine gain of cricketing territory likely post-colonialism appears to be Afghanistan, which like Sri Lanka and Kenya is in close proximity to an established stronghold. Holland - which is similar - has been promising a lot for a while, but has still to make any real progress.

    It's very unlikely that there'll be much further growth of cricket any time soon, and that isn't really anyone's fault, nor does it really matter - cricket has sufficient family to remain entertaining to those who love it in countries where it is already established.
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    Coz it's cricket. When players can't get their own girlfriends to watch them play, what chances to strangers have of enjoying the bloody thing?

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