Football is, by far, the most popular sport in the world with a fan base of around 4 billion people. It’s safe to say that there’s almost no person that hasn’t watched football for at least a couple of minutes in their life.
However, in recent years, another sport is getting close to reaching football’s popularity level. Contrary to the belief of many, the second most popular sport worldwide is not basketball or tennis — it’s cricket.
This might be a shock for you if you’re living in Europe where cricket is not that popular yet. However, in countries like India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, cricket is an on and going sport that many people appreciated.
If you don’t believe it, just look at the numbers — more than 2.6 billion people watched the last Cricket World Cup, the most popular cricket competition.
Considering the numbers, it’s easy to conclude that cricket moves closer to football year by year. But does this sport have what it takes to become recognised internationally? In this text, we’ll take a look at the reasons why cricket might overtake football from the throne, and also review those who think that’s unlikely to happen.
Why Should You Give Cricket a Try?
Naturally, avid football fans won’t even consider a possibility for cricket to take over football any time soon. Yet, cricket is actually not that unpopular at all — in some aspects, it can pair football just fine. Let’s take a look at cricket characteristics that might make you give this sport a chance.
We’ve all heard of Cristiano Ronaldo and other football players whose athletic skills are seen as supernatural. Although there’s no doubt that football players are indeed strong and capable of tough physical and mental drills, it doesn’t mean other athletes are not.
For example, in cricket, we’ve got Brett Lee, a former international cricket player from Australia who has dominated all three formats of this interesting game. His cricket skills can be easily compared to Ronaldo’s football skills, as this fast bowler is known as one of the fastest deliverers in history.
Lee’s quickest delivery was 161.1 km/h (100.2 mph) in 2002, and he’s also famous for having a consistent pace of 150 km/h (93 mph) from the beginning until the end of his career. On top of that, Lee is considered one of the best pace bowlers of all time, and has recently become a global cricket ambassador of sportsbet.io.
Another aspect that might help cricket become world-famous before we know it is that it’s highly popular among both men and women. While women’s football hasn’t yet become a thing like women’s volleyball or tennis, the situation is quite different with cricket.
In recent years, women’s cricket has been on the rise and spread rather fast. Although it’s still slightly less popular, the most recent ICC women’s T20 World Cup was the next most-watched event after the 2019 men’s ODI World Cup.
If you’ve heard of cricket and had a chance to watch a match or two, you’re probably thinking how complicated it is, as this is a common belief regarding this sport. However, the truth is that you haven’t been exposed to cricket long enough to adopt the game rules of the games.
Many football lovers prefer watching football as the game is very simple indeed — the aim is to score more goals than the opposite team. On the other hand, cricket makes you go out of your comfort zone and engage in learning the rules, so you could follow the match and understand what is going on.
As long as we live, there won’t be a single idea that suits everyone right. That’s why you’ll come across various opinions regarding sports such as cricket, some of which might not be welcoming at all. Below are some reasons why cricket might not become world known in the near future.
The first thing that differs football from all the other sports is the amount of money invested in this game. Nowadays, football players earn tremendous amounts of money, and the numbers seem to be increasing over time. On the other hand, this sport also accumulates a lot of capital, which is even more important for football organisations around the world. So in this regard, cricket can’t come close to football unless rich people and organisations decide to promote the sport.
Cost and Convenience
In order to play football, you just need a couple of friends, two rocks to act as a goal, and a ball. However, for playing cricket, you need many pieces of equipment such as a ball, bat, helmet, and other less vital but still necessary items.
Also, the football pitch has many alternatives — it can be played anywhere and on almost any surface. Cricket is not that flexible as it requires a special field, which makes it more distant to common people and, therefore, less popular.
Last but not least, the weather plays a huge role in cricket’s inability to penetrate the world market. Namely, this is a game that can’t be played if it’s raining, let alone during winter when snow is all around. For this reason, countries that are generally colder don’t feel like investing that much in a sport that can be played only a few months per year.
Once we put all the pros and cons side by side, it becomes obvious that cricket won’t become as popular as football in the near future. Even though it could bring a breath of fresh air into the world of widespread sports, many aspects prevent it from becoming widely accepted and popular in more countries across the world. While it should be given a chance to win the hearts of more people worldwide, cricket still has a long way to go until it takes football off the throne.