Cricket is one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports. Over the last 50 years, more formats have been introduced, in order to modify the game to fit the modern age. Which of these formats is the best?
by Prithvi Prem
Cricket is one of the world’s most popular sports, followed by more than 2.5 billion people worldwide. In cricket, two teams of 11 players play against each other. Each team takes turns batting and playing the field, very similar to the American sport of baseball. However, in cricket, the batter is a batsman and the pitcher is a bowler. The bowler tries to knock down the bail of the wicket. A batsman tries to prevent the bowler from knocking over the wicket by hitting the ball. Two batsmen are on the pitch at the same time. Each at-bat officially called an "over", comprises no more than six bowls per batsman. The fielding team must dismiss 10 batsmen to end the innings. The team that bats second must score more than the other team without losing all of their wickets.
The sport was created in England during the late 16th century. Over the course of the next 400 years, the game was spread to nations including India and Australia. The first official match was played in 1877. As the population of these nations grew, the popularity of the sport increased. Now it is one of the biggest sports in the world. Recently we have seen leagues such as the IPL and Big Bash League gain massive popularity and earnings throughout the world which are now valued at over $5 billion each.
However, within the concept of the game, there are multiple ways to play the sport. Cricket is played in three main formats: Test, ODI, and T20. Over the last couple of decades, there has been a recurring question: What is truly the best form of cricket? This is where the trilemma is presented. Is test cricket superior? Are ODI matches more worthy? Or is the new Twenty20 format the real deal?
POV 1: Test Cricket
Test Cricket is the oldest form of the sport. It was first played in 1877 and now is the most widespread form of the game, being played professionally by 12 nations. It is considered the pinnacle form because it tests teams over a longer period of time. The matches are played in a five-day format comprising two innings each: Each team gets two opportunities to bat and field. Teams need to exhibit endurance, technique, and temperament in different conditions to do well in this format.
Although it is still a pretty popular formant, it has undoubtedly been losing popularity over the last few decades. Many people have lost the patience to watch one match for five days. The slow-paced batting and movement have just sparked more boredom in spectators. What doesn’t help is the fact that the match could end up as a draw after five days, which diminishes the Test format’s appeal to fans. Furthermore, Test cricket is only played during the day, which is disadvantageous to many fans due to other more important priorities they must attend to during the day.
Despite being long and sometimes inconvenient, many Test series are massively followed
around the world. The Ashes, as well as the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, gain massive attention and viewership across the world. The Ashes are played annually between the nations of Australia and England. These two powerhouses have had a bitter rivalry ever since they first played in 1877 which therefore makes it one of the oldest and most popular series in the cricketing world.
A close second is the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which is played between India and Australia. Although the competition between these two nations isn’t as intense as that of Australia and England, it has certainly picked up over the last decade or two. Both series have had memorable matches and major viewership worldwide.
Apart from being the highest form of cricket, Test cricket has also bought out some of the best cricket players in history. Players like Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, and Jacques Kallis all made their rise through test cricket.
POV 2: ODI (One Day International) Cricket