15 Problems Cricket Has to Solve in the Next Decade | How to Fix Cricket 101

15 Problems Cricket Has to Solve in the Next Decade | How to Fix Cricket 101

By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 1/29/2022

With Inspiration from my friend, Vandit

In 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert proposed a list of 23 unsolved mathematics problems that would keep mathematicians busy for the next century.

And indeed, they did. Over the next hundred years, several of these challenging problems were either completely answered or partially solved. However, some of these problems remain unsolved even after a few centuries and failed attempts by great mathematicians.

So, at the turn of the 21st century, the Clay Institute of Mathematics put a $1 million reward (the hardest way to get a million dollars, I would say) for anyone who would solve any of the 7 proposed problems, known as the legendary Millennium Prize Problems [Millenium Maths Problem Explained in 90 Seconds].

So far, only one of them has been successfully solved (and the mathematician Grigori Perelman rejected the monetary award).

Why Cricket Needs to Solve Problems?

At this point, you must be thinking, “Why I am reading four paragraphs of math when I signed up for cricket?”

Don’t worry. Here comes the cricket.

2021 had a fair share of its problems for cricket—The Azeem Rafiq scandals, Tim Paine’s sexting exit, Thailand women losing a spot in the World Cup due to a flawed system, Glenn Maxwell, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Tom Banton taking time off due to mental health, Quinton de Kock’s kneeling issue in the T20 World & then retiring from Test cricket at the age of 29, the dissolution of the ODI Super League, New Zealand & England pulling out of Pakistan, the Afghanistan crisis, The Hundred Vs County Cricket debate, and just a general overdose of the IPL & cricket.

For a full read on these issues, check the following articles out:

The Structure of the Proposed Problems

Today I propose a list of 15 problems that will keep the cricket community (ICC, administrators, and cricketers themselves) busy for the next decade.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Neither do I have any monetary reward for you. I offer possible solutions—some of them you might like. Others? Not so much. So, then what is the point of all this?

The point is to churn up debate and conversations in the cricket community so eventually some of these solutions reach the upper echelons of the cricket boards and ICC. Comment below on your thoughts and ideas. Who knows, your idea might one day change cricket altogether.

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I. Global Expansion of Cricket

1. Need for a Global Cricket Calendar and T20 Leagues

The Problem: How can the cricket calendar provide space to the three international formats—Test, ODI, and T20I—as well as the growing T20 leagues?

These days, cricket is here, there, and everywhere. Today, we have the BPL, PSL, IPL, Global T20 Canda, T20 Vitality Blast, The Hundred, CPL, Shpageeza Cricket League, T10 League, SLPL, MSL, Super Smash, and the Big Bash running from January to December.

Cricket will hit its ceiling in the next 5-10 years. With new T20 leagues growing around the world, IPL becoming a 10-team venture (twice a year IPL also proposed), T10 leagues, The Hundred, a ‘Ninety-90 Bash’, & other retired professional leagues adding to the calendar, what is the limit?

And don’t get me wrong. Leagues are not necessarily a bad thing—more opportunities for Associate cricketers, professional life for players who cannot make their international XIs, and more match practice & auditions to make comeback cases, but it does threaten the existence of international cricket as a whole.

Possible Solutions

  1. In The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar article, we proposed that
    1. Two-Three month reservation for the pinnacle of international cricket (T20/ODI WC, WTC Final), without T20 leagues during this period.
    • Reinstatement of the Champions League as the center of the T20 yearly calendar.
    • Enforcement of maximum of 3 leagues per year for a nationally contracted player.
  2. Eventually, cricket may need to adopt the soccer (European football) model.
    • International games reserved only for ODI World Cup qualification, WTC matches, and some friendlies/warm-ups. As many have suggested, bilateral T20Is should be scrapped totally.
    • Players contracted by year-long leagues. They take leave to play a couple of international games every now and then until the World Cup, which dominates the summer every couple of years.
  3. Experimental formats like T10 cricket and ‘Ninety-90’ Bash should end. Who knows, we might be playing a Super Over league at this rate.

Possible Pitfalls

The Indian Premier League and the BCCI holds a bit of influence over the cricket finances. If they reject any of the calendar limits, that may the end of any negotiations even though all the other cricketing nations might agree.

2. Decisiveness and Pathways on Olympics

The Problem: The ICC on cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics—Yes, No, maybe so?

For too long, cricket has dabbled with the idea of being in the Olympics and are closer than ever in making a decision. The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games will include a women’s 8-team T20 tournament. USA Cricket hopes for the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 LA Olympics and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics being ICC’s long-term goal.

However, what format will it be? T10? T20? If it is T10, does that mean cricket will have a fourth international format? How will qualification work? At this point, there are way too many questions and zero details on a path forward.

If cricket is serious about being in the Olympics, the administrators need to get their acts together. One or two meetings a year just doesn’t cut it.

Possible Solutions

It is worth a try regardless of the format. Ideally T20 cricket, starting from the 2028 LA Olympics (building upon USA’s Major League Cricket) would be great for the game.

The format of soccer’s 4 group of 4 is a good template (16 teams in the Olympics instead of 32 in the FIFA World Cup to keep the WC as the pinnacle product). If the T20I WC expands to 16-24 teams (both men/women) in the next decade, the Olympics can start with 8-12 teams with the best 2-3 teams qualifying from each region.

Also Read: T10 Cricket in Olympics? You Have Got to Be Kidding; USA Cricket: The Next NFL Or NBA – Trillion Dollar Bet?

Possible Pitfalls

  1. Not every country has cricketing infrastructure. To create a consistent following, cricket at Olympics can only succeed if it is at every iteration. Unless cricket stadiums are built in every nation on earth, the ICC will have some complications in the early years at the Olympics.
  2. Another tricky slope to navigate is the West Indies. Since each nation like Jamaica and Barbados will play the Olympics as its own nation, those teams will be significantly weaker in strength than the West Indies cricket team.

3. Expansion of the Women’s Game and Need for WIPL

The Problem: Women’s cricket is now mainstream, but is the structure in place to take the game forward?

Between 2017- March 2020, women’s cricket enjoyed a sort of golden era. The quality of cricket and broadcast in the 2017 ODI World Cup brought new fans to the game, and a record 86,174 attendance at the MCG for the 2020 WT20 Final proved that women’s cricket was on the rise.

However, the pandemic has exposed several gaps in the women’s game. For almost 12 months, women’s international cricket was largely halted around the world while the men’s IPL happened twice. Several smaller boards like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have not seen much gameplay. Although India have played a few internationals, there does not seem to be a plan for women’s domestic cricket. And a request for the women’s IPL is falling on deaf ears.

Add to that, the crisis faced by Thailand, one of the rising teams in women’s cricket. When omicron abruptly cancelled the qualifying tournament, it was tough to not see them qualify for the ODI World Cup despite being #1 in the group since their ODIs were not given ODI status.

Surely the structure and expansion in women’s cricket needs more thought, structure, and investment.

Also Read: #Controversy Alert: Who Cares About Women’s Cricket Anyway?

Possible Solutions

  1. Multi-format series have been a brilliant idea but should become the standard across all teams.
  2. The Hundred was a huge success for the women’s game in terms of awareness and equal split of men’s/women’s game. Each top league needs to adopt the same structure.
  3. More teams to qualify for the T20 World Cup.

Also Read: History of Women’s Cricket World Cup

Possible Pitfalls

In order for the multi-format series to become the standard, more Test cricket and 3-day practice matches have to become the norm, which will take time.

4. Planned T20 Exposure for Cricket’s Growth

The Problem: Roadmap and resource management needed for the rapid growth of T20I cricket in emerging markets.

While women’s cricket and the Olympics are avenues to cricket’s global expansion, the ICC is utilizing T20 cricket for the spread of the game. In 2018, T20I status was granted to every cricket team (As of January 2022, 91 men’s teams and 53 women’s teams are in the T20I rankings). Further, a regional qualifier structure was provided for future T20 World Cups, which will be held every two years.

All this is good, but how are the resources going to be divided among these nations? Will they get professional international stadiums, broadcasting rights, DRS, and facilities? Will they be able to host tournaments? (like the earlier ICC Knockout tournaments). Step in the right direction, but a lot of work to do in the decade ahead.

Possible Solutions

  • Just like a major Asia Cup tournament, each continent should set up their own major tournament (separate from the regional qualifiers). This will ensure that there is a systematic ranking/room to grow for the newer teams in each continent, and they are not here just to make up the numbers.

Possible Pitfalls

If teams ranked at the very bottom continue to lose, they might leave the game altogether. Some sort of incentive needs to be provided to these lower ranked newer cricketing nations.

II. Standard of Cricket

5. Standardization of Pitches in Test Match Cricket

The Problem: How Can We Balance Pitches to Minimize Boring Draws and 2-Day Tests?

In the 2000s, stellar middle orders and flat pitches combined for some high scoring matches and boring draws. Over the last 5-10 years, a great crop of fast bowlers (and spinners in the subcontinent) combined with pitches suited to the home side has made 2-day and 3-day Tests a recurring event.

Possible Solutions

  1. Keep the pitches suited to home teams with 4-Day Tests (more on this later)
  2. Preparing pitches suited to overseas conditions in domestic cricket (example: More spin tracks – weather permitting – in England’s county circuit) or encouraging/funding spin from an age group level (How India progressively became a better fast bowling nation, England can do that in the long run).
  3. ICC standardize the pitches across the globe.

Possible Pitfalls

The beauty of Test cricket is in its variety. If the batters cannot overcome the challenge, so be it. That is life.

6. The Toss

The Problem: Is the toss leading to too many predictable results?

It was clear in the IPL and the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE that teams winning the toss and batting second had a higher probability of winning.

The beauty of the toss is in the uncertainty, and when things start to get predictable, innovation becomes the need of the hour.

Possible Solution

Tosses impact T20Is and Test cricket more than ODIs. So, one thought is to start experimenting with various ideas (listed below and more) in T20 leagues or domestic 4-day cricket, while leaving ODI cricket the same as it is now.

  1. Each team alternates decision to bat/bowl in a series. (If an odd number, last match is decided by a coin toss…)
  2. The bat flip idea like the Big Bash League.
  3. Away Teams in Tests get to choose

Possible Pitfalls

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Cricket is already complicated, why make it more complicated?

7. Bat Vs Ball Debate

The Problem: The Eternal Debate—How Can We better balance bat vs ball advantage?

This is the Riemann Hypothesis of cricket. A seemingly intuitive problem that is always up for discussion, has never been solved, and is the unproven underlying assumption that is the basis of strategy for the rest of cricket.

In limited overs cricket, the bat dominates (bigger bats, flat pitches, stronger players, etc.). In Test cricket over the last decade, the ball has dominated.

Possible Solutions

I have a truly marvelous solution to this, but the margins are too narrow to contain for my answer [Fermat’s Last Theorem].

Just kidding! Here they are:

  1. Abolish wide behind leg side in limited overs. Small margins really do hurt the bowlers.
  2. In Test cricket, one more review to the batting side instead of the bowling side.
  3. In limited overs, one bowler can bowl a couple of overs more than the maximum limit of 10 overs (ODI) or 4 overs (T20I)

Possible Pitfalls

As players get physically stronger and technology increases, the balance will always remain one side or another. However, as spinners have shown in the middle overs in a T20 or fast bowlers during the death with the slower balls, adaptation of skill is required, not so much the mechanics of the bat and ball.

III. Survival of Test & ODI Cricket

8. Disparity Between Level of Performance in Test Cricket

The Problem: How can the gap between top and mid-tiered teams be reduced?

The gap between top and mid-tiered Test nations is gradually eroding confidence in Test cricket. Even though some spectacular matches in the last five years have reinvigorated Test cricket, gaps in skill level between the top sides and mid-tiered/bottom ranked teams makes for a boring viewing on the other end of the spectrum.

Social media’s pendulum swings from “Test cricket is the best format” claims to “Is Test cricket dying?” every few months.

Case and point: Men’s Ashes 2021-2022. Except for Jonny Bairstow’s 4th Test, there was absolutely no resistance. There have been several subsequent calls for the 5-Test Ashes to be reduced to a 3 or 4 match affair. If England, who play 10-15 Tests a year, are not properly utilizing resources and are behind the golden standard, how can we expect the likes of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan to compete?

Possible Solutions

  1. Regularized international schedule should dominate bilateral agreements. Australia’s refusal to host Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and now Afghanistan (for other reasons) does not help smaller teams get the experience. The more the Top 4 countries play the mid-tiered teams, the better they will get in the long run.
  2. Prioritizing domestic funding over white ball funding (County cricket vs white ball dominance)
  3. Abolishment of two-Test series (The smaller countries only get to play 2 Tests while the Big 3 and South Africa gets 4-5 matches per series).
  4. Relegation-Promotion system (details outlined below) in three brackets: Bracket A (#1-6), Bracket B (#7-12), and Bracket C (non-Test playing nations)

Also Read: Relegation & Promotion Proposal in World Test Championship: Make Test Cricket Great Again Part III

Reducing the Influence of the Big 3 | How Can the World Test Championship Improve?

Possible Pitfalls

Money, money, money. Even the World Test Champions like New Zealand cannot afford to host more than two Tests due to finances. Ideally, we would like an equal distribution of Test match cricket, but if there are no finances, there is no cricket.

9. Associate nations, the ODI Super League, and the Expansion of Test Cricket

The Problem: Lack of clarity is hurting the survival of Associate nations, the backbone of global cricket.

The ODI Super League provided Ireland and Netherlands much needed game time against the top eight teams. Ireland actually has done a pretty decent job and Netherlands’ cricketers received much needed stability, but the inexplicable cancellation of the ODI Super League has stumped many. The World Test Championship has flaws, but the ODI Super League was a step in the right direction.

Yes, T20I is the right vehicle for growth in globalization of cricket, but should teams like Ireland be alienated, who have invested in ODI cricket and want to play Test cricket?

Possible Solutions

The ICC suggested that they may trial teams like Scotland and Netherlands into Test cricket as a temporary Test status. That might be a good move if it actually happens, but here are some other solutions:

  1. Touring Associate and new Test nations before embarking on a 4-5 Test tour (playing ODIs/T20Is vs Scotland/Netherlands & 1-off Test vs Ireland before a series in England, vs Afghanistan before India, vs PNG before NZ & Aus, Namibia/Zimbabwe vs SA). This is happening more and more with Ireland’s progress, but it is only the beginning.
  2. Revival of the Tri-Series? Similar idea as above, but to reduce logistic and travel issues, two full members plus an Associate nation for an ODI tri-series in a common location.
  3. Mandatory 1-2 Associate players per squad per T20 league. Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Tim David, and Sandeep Lamichanne are great templates. These players will be a boon for the franchises, not a burden.

Possible Pitfalls

10. 4-Day Tests for Men, 5-Day Tests for Women?

The Problem: Making Test cricket accessible for spectators without jeopardizing the game.

The Decision Review System (DRS) and pink-ball day-night Tests have now been adopted as major innovations in the game which had resistance in the early days. In the age of technology and innovation, cricket has to find ways to re-invent itself and stay relevant every 5-10 years.

One such suggestion is 4-day Tests (plus a 5th day for rain affected games) for men’s cricket, while expanding to 5-day Tests in women’s cricket, especially since they do not play as many Tests.

Possible Solutions

  • Just like D/N Tests were tested one Test per series every now and then, similarly one of the Tests can be scheduled as a 4-day game (and vice-versa for women)

Possible Pitfalls

Draws. One of the major drivers for 5-matches in women’s Tests are the number of draws. This forces teams to declare early (even when they are trailing) and enforce follow-on more often. If men’s game introduces 4-day Tests, then strategies will similarly begin to change and/or draws will increase.

11. Fixes to the World Test Championship

The Problem: Test matches are now better contextualized, but a lot is still left to be desired in achieving a better system.

We have already provided several solutions for World Test Champions in our earlier articles (shown below), so here is a summary:

  • Number of Tests Played is uneven: In the first WTC cycle, England played 21 Tests, while West Indies, South Africa, and New Zealand played 11 each. Marquee series like Ashes, Border-Gavaskar, Basil D’Oliveira Trophy, etc. are 4-5 Tests each while SL & NZ only play 2 Tests regularly.
  • Currently no distinction is made for Home/Away advantage: Bangladesh winning in NZ, West Indies winning in Bangladesh, India winning in Australia, or Australia drawing in England should be worth more than home wins.
  • All-or-Nothing System: Test matches occur over 5 days or a max-of-15 sessions. One session can have a huge impact on the series. Yet, the points are awarded on an all-or-nothing basis.

Possible Solutions

My solution is detailed in Alternative World Test Championship Points Table.

Possible Pitfalls

No system is every going to be perfect, but at least more of an attempt can be made. One of the other pitfalls is the pandemic. This has severely restricted travels between countries and longer, more straining quarantine rules. Hence, even more uneven number of Tests are begin played.

IV. Other Concerns

12. Mental Health Support & Overkill of Cricket

The Problem: Mental Health Awareness A Necessity in Today’s sport

Non-stop cricket alongside heavy quarantine is changing the commitments of a professional cricketer. It is no longer feasible to play three international formats, travel around the world, away from family, and still have a sane mental health.

Marcus Trescothick, Glenn Maxwell, and Ben Stokes are some of the many high-profile players who have taken time off the game to focus on their health. They have paved a way for many others in the future to follow. The real question is, does the cricket fraternity have the support each player needs and deserves?

Possible Solutions

  1. Support Groups/Staff, Paid Leave
  2. Separate teams for separate formats (Maximum of two formats per player)

Possible Pitfalls

Mental health is still looked as taboo in many cultures. Even though awareness is increasing, some players may still keep things to themselves, which is detrimental.

In addition to mental health, physical health is also a concern as more research is done on concussions in general. Concussion substitutes were a great innovation to the game, but it took the death of Phillip Hughes for the radical change. Let us make sure to be proactive before any such incidents. Injury prevention and player health should be duly monitored.

13. Spot Fixing and Associate Nations

The Problem: Match-Fixing for the Next Decade

Brendan Taylor’s story illustrates that even in the year 2022, match fixing & spot-fixing is still an issue cricket needs to be careful against. After the spot fixing that emerged from Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010 and the growth of T20 leagues, there is a lot more education and maturity in ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

However, teams like Zimbabwe and Associate nations, whose players do not earn a survivable income or cash flow from leagues, are easy targets for corruptors (as seen in the UAE). So the nature of match fixing might have changed since the 1990s, but it is still a problem that threatens the core fabric of the sport in one way or another.

Possible Solutions

The structure of the ICC anti-corruption unit and education before every major tournament shows that cricket has already matured in most of this regard. The real responsibility now lies on the players for self-reporting such approaches.

Healthy compensation for Associate players can also prevent such instances.

Possible Pitfalls

In the age of technology, new forms of corruption might appear (cyberattacks, ransomwares, NFTs?) ICC needs to be proactive and take actions earlier.

Also Read: Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans – How Will History Judge Hansie Cronje?

14. The Afghanistan Crisis

The Problem: ICC and cricket boards’ philosophical stand on the Afghanistan women’s team and the status of the men’s team.

Post the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in September, cricket’s stakeholders have been sending mixed messages. Australia rescinded their invitation to Afghanistan for a Test match due to a lack of a women’s team/Taliban’s stance on women. However, requirement for a women’s team was waived off when Afghanistan became a Full member four years ago.

The ICC allowed Afghanistan in the 2021 T20 World Cup at UAE and many Afghani players are contracted around the world despite the drama. On the other hand, Zimbabwe was not allowed to qualify for the 2019 ODI World Cup due to crisis in the Zimbabwean government.

Why are players/ sports’ teams penalized for government interference? Why is different approach taken against different countries? Who sets the precedent?

Possible Solutions

  • Afghanistan is a cricket-loving country, and we should not stop its growth despite political tensions. They have now qualified for their 2nd U-19 semi-finals in the last three attempts. Let the men’s team continue to blossom while promoting cricket in age levels for women’s cricket if situation allows.

Possible Pitfalls

Each country might have a different political relationship with Afghanistan, which may mean a conflict of interest. As a byproduct, the relationship between other cricket boards can get strained.

15. Player Behavior

Problem: Similar Player Behavorial Issues, Different Consequences

As players gain more power over administrators due to financial security and unions, there have been some side-effects. Players have been acting up a lot lately.

Shakib Al Hasan’s antics (not much backlash), Ollie Robinson’s tweets (socially alienated), Alex Hales & Joe Clarke (not selected in the national side), Sri Lanka’s players in England (suspended for six months), Steven Smith, David Warner, & Cameron Bancroft’s sandpaper gate ball tampering scandal (banned by Cricket Australia for 1 year), Netherlands’ ball tampering (4 matches ICC), Quinton de Kock defying teammates (kneeling and not playing) and Virat Kohli shouting at the stumps (no consequence).

Possible Solution

  • Digging up old tweets should be removed as a cultural practice.
  • For major offences, a uniform code of conduct that applies to every player regardless of the cricket board they are playing under.
  • An impartial body assigned to monitor and judge player behavior for uniform convictions

Possible Pitfalls

Each circumstance is different. Uniform offences might not be ideal. On the other hand, ICC vs national boards hierarchy will become muddled if ICC centralizes power.

Also Read: Gentleman’s Game No More: Shakib Al Hasan & Ollie Robinson Highlight Larger Disciplinary Issue

This is not the end. More avenues and ideas to explore for sure. Please bring in your comments. Would love to hear YOUR opinion. Thanks everyone for reading ❤ Anyway, time to go the duel or swim across the shores of France…

*Thank You Credit: In conversation with my friend, Vandit. Thanks for listening to my ideas and engaging in meaningful discussion.

Further Reading:

Make Test Cricket Great Again Articles:

Analysis Articles

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 01/29/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

200th Article Special: 5 Things I have Learned From My Journey of Cricket Writing

200th Article Special: 5 Things I have Learned From My Journey of Cricket Writing

Welcome fellow readers to the 200th Special!

This is going to be a different sort of article — No World T20 match reviews, not dissecting India’s disaster or praising Namibia’s story, no analysis or stats either, and surprisingly, not even any predictions. Just pure reflection with a hint of philosophy.

91 years after Don Bradman hit his first out of 12 Test double centuries, I finally have my first double as a writer. How did I get here? Why did I start this journey? What have I learned?

To give this article a twist, the theme of this article will rally around the lyrics of some pieces of music. I would highly encourage you to click on the song and give them a listen as well.

1. “It Means No Worries”

Song: Hakuna Matata – Lion King

Significant Quote:

“It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy…

Hakuna Matata!”

Situation: Finally starting this blog and website after England Vs West Indies 1st Test as cricket resumed post-COVID

What Is My Story?

I have been watching cricket for my whole existence, ever since the 2003 Cricket World Cup. My close ones tell me that I used to memorize the line ups of all the teams, from Australia to Zimbabwe, dragged my plastic bat around the house, and tried to copy actions of bowlers like Brett Lee, Harbhajan Singh, and Anil Kumble and the strokes of batters like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Sanath Jayasuriya, Rahul Dravid, and Mohammad Yousuf.

Not much has changed 18 years later. From Afghanistan to Papua New Guinea, I still memorize players’ names, follow most cricket, play cricket casually with my brother and friends, and try to copy mystery spinners like Ajantha Mendis and Theekshana (since Rashid Khan is too hard to emulate). Moreover, I now go into in-depth analysis before the game, after game, read articles on Cricinfo, watch CricBuzz Live, crunch up the numbers, and more.

You can say that I am obsessed with cricket. Not much has changed all these years…except that I talk a lot more now.

I was told I should start writing about cricket but for years, I never took that action. However, after Jason Holder & a hobbling Campbell secured a victory after Jermaine Blackwood’s counterattack, I was filled with emotion. In that moment, I realized what we had all missed during the sports break. A few minutes later, I began my journey as a cricket writer.

Life Lesson #1

From that moment, I changed my working philosophy—If you have any idea, take the action. Do not just play scenarios in your head or think what others would think of you or how you would be judged. Take your destiny in your own hands, channel your inner Timon & Pumba, and live a problem-free life just as you want.

2. Broken Cricket Dreams — Where Dreams Live

Song: Somewhere Over The Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz

Significant Quote:

“And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true”

Situation: Cricket writing fulfilled a life long dream

What Was My Underlying Motivation?

Once this website opened, the natural question was what it going to be called? What was my motivation? Here is the story.

I dreamed of becoming a cricketer, as did billions of people around the globe. Staying till the end, winning matches for your team are moments I would visualize and imagine.

I finally got my opportunity and began playing school level cricket way back in third and fourth grades. A few months later, our school finally was invited for a knockout tournament. I was guaranteed a place in the second match. In the first match, we lost a last over thriller, and our team was knocked out. We moved, and little did I know that it would be my last game of cricket or sports.

Broken Cricket Dreams.

Guess what? There are numerous other fans with similar stories. And that is why we created this platform. You can share your own pain and share your joy from cricket. Here, dreams come true. Little did I imagine that people would appreciate my content, I would get a chance to interact with some of my favorite players, journalists, writers, and love the game even more from the outside.

Life Lesson #2

Always expect the unexpected. Life may not go to plan, but whatever comes your way might be a blessing in disguise as writing was for me. Don’t have regrets, smile, enjoy your journey, celebrate the struggle, dream big, follow your passion, appreciate the small things in life, and things will be good.

3. “But I am Not The Only One”

Song: Imagine by John Lennon

Significant Quote:

“You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one…:

Situation: Cricket Twitter

Sharing Is Caring

Living in a non-cricket playing nation, it was difficult to find people to talk to with whom I could share this passion for cricket. Before I started this website, I used to talk in-depth about each and every cricket match with my family and a couple of close friends. Since I had no other outlets, I used to chew their brains off.

What I have realized since the inception of this website 15 months ago is that even though I am a dreamer and live in my own cricket bubble….I am not the only cricket fan on Earth. In fact there are more like me. There are fans of the game who go to even more of an extent for the love of the game. Fans with a greater sense of loss or broken dreams.

The other, more darker aspect of Twitter and social media in general is the divisiveness. When things are going well, social media is usually a nice happy place. However, fan wars, cancel culture, trolling, tagging cricket players themselves, abusing their families take away from the game.

Life Lesson #3

Loving one country does not mean detesting the opposition. You can have too different views without contradicting each other. Spread Love. Sharing is Caring, Shouting is Not. Man has created boundaries. Cricket can unite the broken world. This is where the final line of John Lennon’s song comes in.

I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one”

4. “I Did It My Way”

Song: My Way by Frank Sinatra

Significant Quote:

“When there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all, and I stood tall,

And I did it my way.”

Situation: Trying to be me

Thinking Outside The Box

One of my main goals when starting this project was to do things differently from a normal cricket or news site. There are several better platforms for that.

I have tried to make content unique by embedding my personality via life lessons, philosophy, and cultural references or by experimenting with different styles and formats (A Shakespearean play, The Comedy of Overs, for example). Everything has not worked. I have struggled, doubted myself, overworked, but in the end, I learned, improved, changed things, and progressed further.

Life Lesson #4

There are millions of ways to manifest your love for something. I choose to portray my love of cricket via writing. Yours might be different. There is no one right or wrong answer. You can express your love or admiration for anything in numerous ways. Just whatever you do, give it your all and do it YOUR way. Be honest. Be yourself.

Life is a game. You win some, you lose some. Sportsmanship make your life easier. You become a better human being when not bogged down by failures. Learn from failures, work hard, and rise again. Any setbacks just make you stronger.

5. “Time To Say Goodbye”

Song: Time to Say Goodbye by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Boceli

Situation: Thank You to everyone out there reading this

Thank You

Okay, this is not really a goodbye. I just love this piece of music. This is just the beginning of my writing journey, but I wanted I want to end this article with a Thank You. Thank you for all my readers and all the followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well. I love the engagement and learning from y’all. Friendly banter, memes, stories, art make my day. Hoping for many more years of conversation ahead!

Life Lesson #5

Be grateful. For everything and everyone. Hug your family. Keep in touch with your friends. Make that call you have been waiting for. Reach out if there are any mental health struggles. Appreciate one another. This pandemic has taught us some harsh lessons. Cherish every moment. To be human is to be grateful.

If you like this content on Dinesh Karthik, please subscribe and follow us on our social media accounts.

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If you are one of my new followers, I will leave you with some of my best writing and featured articles.

Featured Articles

I. My Favorite Cricket Heroes and What We Can Learn From Them?

My cricket writing journey began with a tribute to Rahul Dravid. Since then, I have written about some of my other favorite players—Dale Steyn, Ellyse Perry, Ross Taylor, Faf Du Plessis & AB De Villiers, Umar Gul, Nicholas Pooran, Dinesh Karthik, Lasith Malinga, Joe Denly, Sam Curran, Dean Jones, the Bangladesh Fab Five, and the duo of Suresh Raina & MS Dhoni.

Just swipe the photos for more articles in each category.

II. World XIs With Twists

Have you ever tried to compile an XI of South African born players playing for other countries? Or wondered what the most beautiful stadiums in the world are? Here is some of my lists—Players who retired too early, most underrated cricketers, unluckiest XI, commentators XI, most stylish, etc.

III. How Can We Improve Test Cricket and the World Test Championship?

IV. Life Lessons

V. Cricket Analysis

VI. Experimental Interviews & Articles

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 11/01/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

The Comedy of Overs: Shakespearean Parody Starring English Cricket, The Hundred, And County Cricket

The Comedy of Overs: Shakespearean Parody Starring English Cricket, The Hundred, And County Cricket

Welcome to The Comedy of Overs, a parody play symbolizing the internal conflict of English cricket.

DISCLAIMER

Puns definitely intended. Sarcasm galore.

The writer hopes to merely present the various views surrounding The Hundred—the good, bad, and the ugly in a playful fashion.

*Note: This play is more fun when you read it out loud*

CAST

  • JoyOverly optimistic English cricket fan. Cheerful.
  • CuriosityWhat is life? Why are we here? Always asks questions, glass half-full kind of person. Philosophical.
  • SuspicionWhy does anything even matter? Always ask questions, glass half-empty kind of person.
  • DisappointmentWe are all doomed from the start individual.
  • Satisfaction – (cameo role)
  • The HundredThe new couple on the block.
  • English CricketThought he had everything figured out on 14th July, 2019, but is currently going through a mid-life crisis. Wants to be friends with the Hundred without offending County Cricket.
  • County Cricket – Father figure of English cricket. Abode of wisdom.
  • Moeen Ali & Chris Woakes (cameo role) – as Moeen Ali & Chris Woakes
  • Bartender – (cameo)

SETTING

  • Some bar in London

Curiosity and Joy were strolling down the street in London looking for County cricket but collided with a couple—The Hundred. They decide to go to a bar and started introducing themselves, but little did they know that the conversation was about to go south really quick.

ACT I: England Have Their Own League?

The Hundred: “Hi, mind if we join you? We are The Hundred. English cricket is launching us!”

Joy: Yay! England are branding their own league!”

The Hundred: “Yes super excited! Will be great for English cricket and women’s cricket. After years of delay, we will finally get our time at glory.”

Joy: “BUT….England’s cricket is already pretty great…Anyway I will miss the T20 Blast.”

The Hundred: “Well…The T20 Blast is not going anywhere…In fact, the quarter finals resume on August 24th.”

Curiosity: “Huh? How about County Cricket?”

The Hundred: “Still There.”

Joy: “Maybe they reduced a home England series from 5 matches to 3 to accommodate you.”

The Hundred: “Nope.”

Curiosity: “What??? How will English players survive with continuous cricket?”

The Hundred: : “Simple. Rest and Rotate. Specifically for series like India and New Zealand so England are all ready to go for the high pressure Sri Lanka series.”

Chris Woakes & Moeen Ali overhear this from the next table.

Chris Woakes & Moeen Ali (together): We have built beautiful careers out of this Rest-And-Rotate strategy.”

English Cricket: “Yep! Never a dull moment with the me.”

*Chris Woakes walks out the door. England’s team management subsequently rests Woakes till the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

ACT II: Who Is Even Playing?

Suspicion and disappointment walked into the bar.

Curiosity: “So, how is the Hundred different from the T20 Blast?”

The Hundred: “Just 8 franchise teams instead of 18 counties. International talent of high standard. The same franchise for both women & men play on the same day. 100 balls. Graphics. Free-to-air cricket. Fireworks. DJ. Ice cream.”

Curiosity: “OOh international talent…you mean like the Pollards and Russells and the David Warners, right?

The Hundred: “Well…except those players. They withdrew due to injuries, COVID, and international duties.”

Suspicion: “Alright spill the beans. You promised us this great international talent. Who all we missing?”

The Hundred: “Shaheen Shah Afridi & Shadab Khan won’t be there…for starters.”

Suspicion: “Starters?”

The Hundred: “And Zampa, Maxwell, Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Finch, Rabada, Pooran said bye-bye as well. And sounds like Lamichanne, who is already in England quarantining, had some visa issues, so he is gone too.”

Joy: “At least there is Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, and Alyssa Healy for the Women’s Hundred.”

The Hundred: “About that…Perry, Healy, Devine, Amelia Kerra, Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner and a few more withdrew due to personal reasons as well. On a positive note, India did send Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, and Harmanpreet Kaur. Stefanie Taylor-Deandre Dottin-Lizelle Lee-Shabnaim Ismail-Dane van Niekerk-Laura Woolvaardt are some of the other talent on show.

Joy: “All hope lies on our great World Cup winning English golden generation. Glad they are still participating!”

The Hundred: “Yes, yes they are. Except Harry Gurney retired, Olly Stone is injured,…”

*under their breath, avoiding eye contact*

“Speaking of which, Mark Wood is preparing for the India Test series, and all the English Test players will only get 2 matches (Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Ollie Robinson, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, AND Jonny Bairstow.)

Disappointment: “I am going home. Australians, West Indies, Pakistanis missing? No Indian players either. Most of our home team is not completely available either. What fun are you? Sounds like nobody is playing.”

The Hundred: “Friends, Cheer up! The Kiwis, South Africans, and Afghans are still by us. Colin de Grandhomme replaced Russell. The great Devon Conway & Quinton de Kock were signed as replacements as well.”

Joy: “I am listening.”

The Hundred: “Destructive batters like Finn Allen, Glenn Phillips, Colin Munro, Colin Ingram, Chris Lynn, D’arcy Short. Bowlers of the calibre of Adam Milne, Mohammad Amir, Lockie Ferguson, Sunil Narine, and Mujeeb-Qais-Nabi-Rashid Khan.”

Joy: “Okay that sounds a bit better.”

The Hundred: WAIT! There’s more. There is someone else. I am forgetting his name….Car…Carl,…?

Curiosity: “Carlos Brathwaite!!!!”

The Hundred: “But truly, English talent is on show as well. World’s best keeper Sarah Taylor & Liam Plunkett will be seen after a long time. At least for a few games, England’s A, B, C teams against each other! From the Heather Knights & Joe Roots to the Eoin Morgans & Alex Hales…”

Curiosity exits: Just as things were looking positive for this new group of friends, the police office barged it and took Curiosity away with the allegation that…Curiosity killed the cat.

ACT III: The Rules

County Cricket and English Cricket enter.

Suspicion: “You mentioned 100-balls. I mean, why? What is even the point?”

The Hundred: “Shorter game. Less time. More prime-time television. We are even penalizing the fielding time. If fielding team goes over time, they will have to sacrifice a fielder into the inner circle.”

Disappointment: “100 balls, T10 cricket, Ninety-Ninety. Cricket is dying. Timeless Tests—those were the days.”

Joy: “Yay, a 16.4 over contest! Love it!”

Suspicion: “So, just a reduced 20-over contest?”

The Hundred: “But there is more! Change of end every 10 balls. So you can bowl 2 overs of 5 balls each consecutively. Did I say over? What’s in an over? From today—no more overs! Only balls. “

County Cricket: “Frankly my dear, we don’t give a damn about your balls. Why would you steal our glory for the sake of 20 balls?”

English Cricket: “English Cricket needs to be at the edge of scientific revolution with the Hundred.”

The Hundred: “You see, there is a method in our madness. We are ahead of our times. Innovation and entertainment are our middle names.”

Suspicion: “Ah innovation—So no more soft signals?”

The Hundred: “Well not that kind of innovation. More like toss on a stage, fireworks, fancy helmets, white cards, ultra-speed DRS, a new DLS algorithm, original team names. Did I mention the graphics?”

Joy: “Yay! Hot pink, bright green, & black. Love the combination. It is so colorful!”

Disappointment: “NO! Hot pink, bright green, & black. Hate the combination. It is so colorful!”

Disappointment: “This is total garbage. You are taking my precious time away from the Leicestershire Vs Yorkshire 50-over Royal London One Day Cup. “

Suspicion:Yeah why? I mean the T20 blast had full stadiums last week. Why not re-market the T20 Blast with strict over-rate rules, ‘innovation’, and free-to-air TV? The England-Pakistan T20I series was loved by everybody. Liam Livingstone was hitting the ball across the English channel!”

Disappointment: “County Championship, T20 Vitality Blast, The Hundred, One Day Cup, Tokyo Olympics…all at the same time.”

County Cricket: “By trying to do everything at once, you are not getting anything done. And hurting the sentiments of the traditional fans. It is hurting us financially, socially, psychologically. Where has your support gone? I have been waiting, waiting, waiting….”

English Cricket: “If The Hundred captures the imagination of the fans, I will re-distribute all the wealth to all four of you.”

County Cricket: “Not buying it. Let us settle this. What do you think about cricket?

Bartender: “Cricket. What cricket? Who cricket? I don’t know of any cricket.”

Intermission

English cricket is on the verge of going crazy. *Thinking to himself*

The Hundred. Cricket. County Cricket. Fans. Kia Super League. Women’s Cricket. Wickets. Outs. Overs. Balls. Tradition. Evolution. T20. IPL. Money. England. It’s coming home. Phil Foden. Jason Roy. Sam Curran. Need to make things happen. Money. Test cricket. Dom Sibley. Axar. Embuldeniya. Sri Lanka. Super League. World Cup. Barest of Margins. More World Cups. T20 World Cups.

ACT IV: The SOLILOQUY – Something Is Rotten In the State of England

English cricket is now reflecting and talking out loud.

“To play or not to play, that is the question

Whether it is County Cricket, T20 Blast, Kia Super League, or the Hundred, it is England cricket that suffers,

Marketing, Media rights, & ticket sales of outrageous fortune,

Support traditional cricket fans & counties Or take arms against T20 cricket & the IPL

And by opposing, end English cricket. To die, to sleep

No more! And by sleep, to say we end the heart-ache and the 20 extra balls that T20 is heir to.

Free-to-air cricket—The BBC—aye there’s the rub!”

ACT V: The FINALE

Enter Satisfaction: Right as Curiosity was about to spend the night at jail, Satisfaction entered and bailed her out. She had found the lost cat and brought it back..”

Scene: Eoin Morgan is having that conversation with Alex Hales at a distance. Things finally begin to settle a bit.

County Cricket: “I have eighteen children and am concerned about their well-being. That’s all.”

The Hundred: “We are concerned about the existence of cricket in England in general. That’s all.”

Joy & Curiosity (Together): “Can we not be friends with both of you?”

Suspicion & Disappointment (Together): “It’s complicated.”

English Cricket: “Well, the Hundred is not going anywhere…but neither is the County Championship…or the T20 Blast. I know I am not perfect, but can you just give me one chance? If it doesn’t work out with the Hundred for the couple of seasons, we can move on.”

At the end of the day, the heavens opened up. The ‘Lord’s’ opened it is door and Joy, Curiosity, Suspicion, & Disappointment walked hand-in-hand with County Cricket and the Hundred to proceed and watch the game.

Alls Well that Ends Well.

Inspiration

Special thanks to George Dobell’s article The Hundred 2021 – With friends like these? A Hundred reasons why the ECB has failed the game for inspiration.

Cultural references to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, Romeo & Juliet, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.

Also Read: Joe Denly and Joe Biden: The Importance of Being Joe, Why The World Needs Sam Curran: Calm, Charismatic, Courageous

The Hundred

If you are interested, check this out and participate in our Hundreds Prediction League.

Also Read: The Hundred 2021: Everything You Need To Know Quickly – Rules, Teams, Expected XIs, Fixtures, Predictions

Thanks for checking out this content on English cricket. Consider subscribing for more such cricket articles & featured content!

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Copyright @Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, bcd@brokencricketdreams.com – 07/23/2021

Most Beautiful Cricket Stadium in Each of the 12 Countries – Lord’s, Newlands, MCG, Galle,…Which Is Your Favorite?

Most Beautiful Cricket Stadium in Each of the 12 Countries – Lord’s, Newlands, MCG, Galle,…Which Is Your Favorite?

There are numerous scenic venues in world cricket, but if you had to choose the most beautiful cricket stadium from each country, what would they be?

Novelist Margaret Wolfe Hungerford penned the famous idiom “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Everyone has their own definition of beauty. How would you define the most beautiful stadium in cricket? Would you choose the one with scenic backgrounds, largest capacity, the environment & fans, or history?

We choose the #1 international stadium from each country and state why we chose it. We will also list the stadiums that narrowly missed out.

And if you were wondering about the largest cricket stadiums in each country, which country has the most stadiums, the oldest venues to have hosted Test cricket, and the list of international stadiums in each country, we got you covered as well.

Also Read: Top 10 Commentary Highlights, Top 7 Most Popular Cricket Videos, Best XI Cricket Fielders

The Motivation

Earlier this year, the picturesque Gwadar Stadium in Balochistan (Pakistan) was inaugurated and immediately social media went viral. Playing cricket with white clays of Koh-e-Mehdi Hills in the background is just breathtaking.

At about the same time, England toured Sri Lanka for a Test series. The aerial view surrounding the stadium was magnificent.

This got us thinking—Choose the most beautiful stadium from each country but the catch is—the stadium has to have hosted at least one international match in any format. Without further ado, here is our list.

Lots of images head! Make sure to swipe right under each section to get a glimpse of all the stadiums in our shortlist.

*Note: Afghanistan is not considered since it plays its home matches in India. Also, the UAE is considered since international cricket is played there frequently.

List of Most Beautiful Cricket Grounds in the World

1. Melbourne Cricket Groud (MCG), Australia

  • Location: Jolimont, Melbourne (Victoria), Australia
  • Capacity: 100,000, Year Established: 1853
  • Home Teams: Australia, Victoria, Melbourne Stars
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful Stadium in Australia? The second largest stadium by capacity now, the MCG has everything. The ideal place for an Ashes Test, a World Cup Final, or a Women’s T20 World Cup Final, the atmosphere at the MCG is electric. Each clap is heard, the Barmy Army is never too far away, and even the batters have to utilize the 90 meter boundaries by running the twos and threes.
  • Australia’s Top 3
    1. Melbourne Cricket Ground
    2. Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), New South Wales – The iconic green roof & Sydney’s skyline with the Sydney Opera house in the background seals the deal for me.
    3. The Bradman Oval*, Bowral, New South Wales – Home of Sir Donald Bradman, the ground captures the imagination of any cricket fan. With the Bradman Museum and white fence in the background, what’s not to like? And yes, Bradman’s ashes were sprinkled on the ground as well to add to the history.

*Note, Bradman Oval has hosted a women’s Test (Australia Vs England) along with a few other women’s ODIs. Check out MCG, SCG, and Bradman Oval’s picturesque images below.

Pictured Below (In this order): (1) MCG, (2) SCG, (3) Sydney, (4) Bradman Oval, (5) Sir Donald Bradman

Embed from Getty Images

2. Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Bangladesh

  • Location: Sylhet, Bangladesh
  • Capacity: 13,533, Year Established: 2007
  • Home Teams: Sylhet Division Cricket Team, Sylhet Sixers, Bangladesh
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Bangladesh: Lush forests in the background to go along with the contrasting red roof—lovely scenery.
  • Bangladesh’s Top 3:
    1. Sylhet International Cricket Stadium
    2. Sher-e-Bangla Stadium (Mirpur), Dhaka
    3. Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium, Khulna

Pictured Below: Sylhet

3. Lord’s Cricket Ground, England

  • Location: London, England
  • Capacity: 30,000, Year Established: 1814
  • Home Teams: Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Middlesex, England
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in England: Home of cricket, the iconic Lord’s pavilion, the balcony, the honors board, J.P. Morgan Media Centre, and the long room. Historic. Aesthetic.
  • England’s Top 3:
    1. Lord’s
    2. Old Trafford (Manchester) The shining red pavilion gives Old Trafford its unique look.
    3. Riverside Ground (Chester-le-Street, Durham): Nothing better than a castle in the background.
    4. Consolation: The Oval (Kennington, London) New Road (Worcester), County Ground (Taunton)

Pictured Below (In this order): (1) Lord’s stadium, (2) Lord’s balcony, (3) The Long Room, (4) Old Trafford, (5) Riverside Ground

Embed from Getty Images

Five pictures for England’s grounds was just not enough, so here are some more. Churches and castles put a unique touch in England.

Pictured Below (In this order): (1) New Road, (2) Taunton, (3) The Oval

Embed from Getty Images

4. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, India

  • Location: Dharamsala, India
  • Capacity: 23,000, Year Established: 2003
  • Home Teams: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Team, Kings XI Punjab, India
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in India: Backdrop of the snow-capped Himalayan range, it is a wonderful attraction all around. Home to the Dalai Lama, it also has a spiritual overtone to it.
  • India’s Top 3:
    1. Dharamsala
    2. Eden Gardens (Kolkata)One of the most animated sporting crowds in the world. The place of the 2001 Test against Australia feat VVS Laxman’s magical 281 and Brathwaite’s carnage in the 2016 T20 World Cup final. Also the venue of the infamous 1996 World Cup semi-final, where the match was abandoned due to the enraged spectators.
    3. Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai) Another one due to the atmosphere. After India’s 2011 World Cup victory, it was an ideal place to party. Just listen to this when Dhoni finished it off in style.
    4. Consolation: Narendra Modi Stadium (Ahmedabad), Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium – Dehradun (host for Afghanistan team)

Pictured Below (In this order): (1) Dharamsala, (2) Dehradun, (3) Wankhede, (4) Eden Gardens, (5) Ahmedabad

5. Malahide Cricket Club Ground (The Village), Ireland

  • Location: Malahide, Ireland
  • Capacity: 11,500, Year Established: 1861
  • Home Teams: Ireland Cricket Team
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Ireland: Hosted Ireland’s only Test at home (along with a few ODIs, and women’s fixtures). The venue gives away a calm aura with trees right behind the sight-screen.
  • Ireland’s Top 3
    1. Malahide
    2. Bready Cricket Club (Bready)
    3. Civil Service Cricket Club (Belfast)

Pictured Below: Malahide

Embed from Getty Images

6. Bay Oval, New Zealand

  • Location: Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
  • Capacity: 10,000, Year Established: 2007
  • Home Teams: Northern Districts, New Zealand
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in New Zealand: New Zealand is the ideal place to watch cricket. You can choose any stadium here, and it will be scenic. Add to that the grass banks and the casual, party-mood culture, and you have a perfect atmosphere for cricket. Mount Maunganui’s aerial view makes it my #1 in New Zealand—The hill, beaches, and a sandbar connecting the mainland to the island.
  • New Zealand’s Top 3:
    1. Bay Oval
    2. Queenstown Events Centre (Queenstown, Otago)Queenstown is a resort town, known for its tourism. And why not? The mountain range overseeing the cricket ground is literally called The Remarkables. Lake Wakatipu nearby as well.
    3. Basin Reserve (Wellington)
    4. Consolation: Pukekura Park (New Plymouth, Taranaki), Eden Park (Auckland), Saxton Oval (Nelson), University Oval (Dunedin)

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Bay Oval, (2) Mount Maunganui, (3) Tauranga Aerial View, (4) Queenstown, (5) The Basin Reserve

Embed from Getty Images

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Pukekura Park, (2) spectators’ seating at Pukekura, (3) Eden Park, (4) Saxton Oval, (5) University Oval

Embed from Getty Images

Pictured Below (John Davies Oval, Queenstown) – India vs NZ series, 2022

Embed from Getty Images

7. Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Pakistan

  • Location: Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Capacity: 15,000, Year Established: 1992
  • Home Teams: Northern Cricket Team, Islamabad United, Pakistan
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Pakistan: An aerial view of ‘Pindi’, as it is usually known, will give you a glimpse of the mountain resort town of Murree along with historic neighborhoods and mosques.
  • Pakistan’s Top 3
    1. Rawalpindi
    2. Bugti Stadium (Quetta)
    3. Gaddafi Stadium (Lahore)

*Bugti Stadium hosted an ODI between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in 1996.

Now here is where we diverge a little bit. Apart from Gwadar stadium (at the top of the article), we have also included a couple of pictures of stadiums that have not hosted an international fixture but are just too good to ignore—namely Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium and Chitral Cricket Ground.

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Muzaffarabad, (2) Quetta, (3) Rawalpindi, (4) Chitral, (5) Lahore

8. Galle International Stadium, Sri Lanka

  • Location: Galle, Sri Lanka
  • Capacity: 35,000, Year Established: 1876
  • Home Teams: Galle Cricket Club, Sri Lanka
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Sri Lanka: Galle’s harbor, Indian Ocean, and the Galle Fort to watch cricket from. The England-Sri Lanka series was basically just 3 parts: Joe Root, Lasith Embuldeniya, and multiple aerial views of Galle.
  • Top 3 in England:
    1. Galle
    2. Dambulla
    3. Kandy
    4. Consolation: Welagedara Stadium (Kurunegala)

*Welagedara Stadium has hosted a couple of women ODIs

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Galle by the ocean, (2) Dambulla, (3) Kandy, (4) Kurunegala, (5) spectators from Galle’s hill/fort, (6) English super fan Rob Lewis from Galle stadium who had stayed in Sri Lanka for 10 months after the England-Sri Lanka tour was delayed due to COVID.

Embed from Getty Images

9. Newlands Cricket Ground, South Africa

  • Location: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Capacity: 25,000, Year Established: 1888
  • Home Teams: Western Province, Cape Town Blitz, South Africa
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in South Africa:
  • South Africa’s Top 3:
    1. Newlands
    2. Boland Park (Paarl)
    3. New Wanderers Stadium (Johannesburg)AB De Villiers. Pink ODI. 149 (44). The atmosphere. Enough said.

*Also pictured – Ellis Park – hosted Tests between 1948 and 1954, but now only used mainly for Rugby and soccer (2010 FIFA World Cup). Red roof and about 65,000 capacity, it is a South African special.

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Newlands, (2) Boland Park, (3) Paarl landscape, (4) Wanderers, (5) Ellis Park

Embed from Getty Images

10. Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, West Indies

  • Location: Gros Islet, St. Lucia
  • Capacity: 12,400, Year Established: 2002
  • Home Teams: Windward Islands, St. Lucia Zouks
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in West Indies: Most places in the Caribbean are amazing by default—beaches, hills, and the weather. St. Lucia’s ambience and the effervescent Daren Sammy cheering at almost every game just edges out Arnos Vale and Queen’s Park.
  • West Indies’ Top 3:
    1. Daren Sammy (formerly Beausejour Cricket Ground)
    2. Arnos Vale Stadium (St. Vincent)
    3. Queen’s Park Oval (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)
    4. Windsor Park (Dominica)

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Windsor Park, (2) Queen’s Park, (3) Arnos Vale, (4) Daren Sammy

11. Sheikh Zayed Stadium, U.A.E.

  • Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)
  • Capacity: 20,000, Year Established: 2004
  • Home Teams: UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, PSL/IPL Teams
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in UAE : The roof and the lighting are spectacular in day-night matches.
  • UAE’s Top 3:
    1. Sheikh Zayed Stadium (Abu Dhabi)
    2. Dubai International Stadium (Dubai)
    3. Sharjah Cricket Ground (Sharjah)

Pictured Below (In this Order): (1) Abu Dhabi, (2) Dubai, (3) Sachin Tendulkar & Shane Warne after ‘Desert Storm’ in Sharjah

Embed from Getty Images

12. Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe

  • Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Capacity: 10,000, Year Established: 1900
  • Home Teams: Mashonaland, Mashonaland  Eagles Rhodesia/Zimbabwe
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Zimbabwe: The purple flowers right behind the trees at the edge of the boundary wins it for me.
  • Zimbabwe’s Top 2:
    1. Harare Sports Club (Harare)
    2. Queens Sports Club (Bulawayo)
Embed from Getty Images

13. Al-Amerat Cricket Stadium (Oman Cricket Academy Ground), Oman

  • Location: Muscat, Oman
  • Capacity: 3,000, Year Established: 1900
  • Home Teams: Oman
  • Why Is it the Most Beautiful in Zimbabwe: The Al-Hajar mountains overseeing the stadium are absolutely majestic. The 2021 T20 World Cup brought the beauty of this small cricketing nation to the rest of the world.
Embed from Getty Images

Do you have other suggestions for the most beautiful cricket stadiums? THEN COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

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Which Country Has the Best Cricket Stadiums?

Which country has the best cricket stadiums in the world?

Panaromic photo of Westpac Cricket Stadium

New Zealand probably has the best cricket stadiums. Seven of their international stadiums can vouch to be in the most beautiful category.

Bay Oval (Mount Maunganui), Queenstown, Basin Reserve (Wellington), Pukekura Park (New Plymouth), Eden Park (Auckland). Saxton Oval (Nelson), and University Oval (Dunedin).

Sri Lanka and West Indies are not too far behind in terms of scenic views. Australia (MCG/SCG) and India (Eden Gardens/ Wankhede) have the most grand and fan-fueled stadiums, while England have the most historic and mellow cricket grounds.

Which is the World's Largest Cricket Stadium by country?

Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, Ahmedabad
  1. Narendra Modi Stadium (132,000) – Ahmedabad, India
  2. Melbourne Cricket Ground (100,000) – Melbourne, Australia
  3. Eden Park (41,000) – Auckland, New Zealand
  4. R. Premadasa Stadium (35,000) – Colombo, Sri Lanka
  5. National Stadium (34,000) – Karachi, Pakistan
  6. Lord’s (30,000) – London, England
  7. Wanderers Stadium (28,000) – Johannesburg, South Africa
  8. Kensington Oval (28,000) – Barbados, Bridgetown
  9. Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium (25,000) – Dhaka, Bangladesh
  10. Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground (20,000) – Kirtipur, Nepal
  11. Central Broward Park (20,000) – Ft. Lauderhill, United States
  12. Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium (20,000) – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  13. Sophia Gardens (15,000) – Cardiff, Wales (U.K.)
  14. Guanggong International Cricket Stadium (12,000) – Guangzhou, China
  15. Malahide Cricket Club Ground (11,500) – Dublin, Ireland
  16. Harare Sports Club (10,000) – Harare, Zimbabwe
  17. Gymkhana Club Ground (7,000) – Nairobi, Kenya
  18. Maple Leaf Cricket Club (7,000) – King City, Canada
  19. The Grange Club (5,000) – Edinburgh, Scotland

Which is the World’s Largest Cricket Stadium?

It will come to nobody’s surprise that the top 10 largest cricket grounds are located in either India or Australia due to their rich cricket culture and funding, but what about the largest cricket stadium in each country?

Let us broaden our horizons and learn about cricket grounds in the world, including Associate nations.

Which cricket ground has the highest capacity?

Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, Ahmedabad

Here are the top 10 largest cricket stadiums by size:

  1. Narendra Modi Stadium (132,000) – Ahmedabad, India
  2. Melbourne Cricket Ground (100,000) – Melbourne, Australia
  3. Eden Gardens (80,000) – Kolkata, India
  4. Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium (65,000) – Raipur, India
  5. Perth Optus Stadium (60,000) – Perth, Australia
  6. Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium (55,000) – Hyderabad, India
  7. Greenfield International Stadium (55,000) – Thiruvananthapuram, India
  8. Adelaide Oval (54,000) – Adelaide, Australia
  9. M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, JSCA International Cricket Stadium, Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium (50,000) – Chennai/Ranchi/Lucknow, India
  10. Docklands Stadium, Sydney Cricket Ground (48,000) – Melbourne/Sydney, Australia

Which country has the most stadiums?

Photo of Dharmshala Cricket Ground

Here are the number of international cricket stadiums by Test playing country:

  • India (53)
  • Australia (22)
  • England (21)
  • Pakistan (18)
  • South Africa, West Indies (16)
  • New Zealand (14)
  • Sri Lanka (10)
  • Bangladesh (8)
  • United Arab Emirates (6)
  • Zimbabwe (5)

Which Country Has the Most Stadiums?

*Note, we only consider countries with Test status

Which Is the Oldest Cricket Stadium in the World?

Photo of Melbourne Cricket Stadium

We will organize this when their first Test match was hosted.

  1. Melbourne Cricket Ground – Melbourne, Australia (15 March 1877)
  2. The Oval – London, England (6 September 1880)
  3. Sydney Cricket Ground – Sydney, Australia (17 February 1882)
  4. Old Trafford – Manchester, England (10 July 1884)
  5. Lord’s – London, England (21 July 1884)
  6. Adelaide Oval – Adelaide, Australia (12 December 1884)
  7. St. George’s Park – Port Elizabeth, South Africa (12 March 1889)
  8. Newland’s – Cape Town, South Africa (25 March 1889)
  9. Old Wanderers – Johannesburg, South Africa (2 March 1896)
  10. Trent Bridge – Nottingham, England (1 June 1899)

Which Is the Oldest Cricket Stadium?

England, Australia, and South Africa lead the oldest stadiums to host Test cricket, between 1877 and 1899. New Zealand and West Indies would host their first Tests in 1930 with India following suit in 1933. Post-Partition of British India, Bangladesh & Pakistan hosted their fist Tests in 1955.

Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992), UAE (2002), and Ireland (2018) would host much later.

Which country has the most beautiful cricket stadiums?

Here are the most beautiful cricket stadiums from each of the Test playing nations.

  1. Australia (Melbourne Cricket Ground)
  2. Bangladesh (Sylhet International Cricket Stadium)
  3. England (Lord’s Cricket Ground)
  4. India (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium)
  5. Ireland (Malahide Cricket Club Ground)
  6. New Zealand (Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui)
  7. Pakistan (Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium)
  8. Sri Lanka (Galle International Stadium)
  9. South Africa (Newlands Cricket Ground)
  10. West Indies (Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium)
  11. United Arab Emirates (Sheikh Zayed Stadium)
  12. Zimbabwe (Harare Sports Club)

List of International Stadiums By Country

Australia

  • Adelaide: Adelaide Oval
  • Albury: Lavington Sports Oval
  • Ballarat: Eastern Oval
  • Berri: Berri Oval
  • Brisbane: Exhibition Ground, Brisbane Cricket Ground (Woolloongabba)
  • Cairns: Cazaly’s Stadium
  • Canberra: Manuka Oval
  • Darwin: TIO Stadium
  • Devonport: Devonport Oval
  • Hobart: Tasmania Cricket Ground, Bellerive Oval
  • Launceston: North Tasmania Cricket Association Ground
  • Mackay: Harrup Park
  • Melbourne: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Docklands Stadium
  • Perth: WACA Ground, Perth Stadium
  • South Geelong: Simonds Stadium (Victoria)
  • Sydney: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Stadium Australia
  • Townsville: Tony Ireland

Bangladesh

  • Bogra: Shaheed Chandu Stadium
  • Chattogram: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, MA Aziz Stadium
  • Dhaka: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Shere Bangla National Stadium (Mirpur)
  • Fatullah: Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium
  • Khulna: Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium
  • Sylhet: Sylhet International Cricket Ground

England

  • Birmingham: Edgbaston
  • Bristol: County Ground
  • Canterbury: St. Lawrence Ground
  • Cardiff: Sophia Gardens
  • Chester-le Street: Riverside Ground
  • Chelmsford: County Ground
  • Derby: County Ground
  • Hove: County Ground
  • Leeds: Headingley
  • Leicester: Grace Road
  • London: Lord’s, Kennington Oval
  • Manchester: Old Trafford
  • Northampton: County Ground
  • Nottingham: Trent Bridge,
  • Scarborough: North Marine Road Ground
  • Sheffield: Bramall Lane
  • Southampton: The Rose Bowl, County Ground
  • Swansea: St. Helen’s
  • Taunton: The Cooper Associates County Ground
  • Tunbridge Wells: Nevill Ground
  • Worcester: County Ground (New Road)

India

  • Ahmedabad: Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, Narendra Modi Stadium (Motera)
  • Amritsar: Gandhi Sports Complex Ground
  • Bengaluru: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium
  • Chandigarh: Sector 16 Stadium
  • Chennai: MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk)
  • Cuttack: Barabati Stadium
  • Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Arun Jaitley Stadium (formerly Feroz Shah Kotla)
  • Dehradun: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium
  • Dharamsala: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium
  • Faridabad: Nahar Singh Stadium
  • Greater Noida: Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground
  • Guwahati: Nehru Stadium, Barsapara Cricket Stadium
  • Gwalior: Captain Roop Singh Stadium
  • Hyderabad: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium (Uppal), Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium
  • Indore: Nehru Stadium, Holkar Cricket Stadium
  • Jaipur: Sawai Mansingh Stadium
  • Jalandhar: Gandhi Stadium
  • Jammu: Maulana Azad Stadium
  • Jamshedpur: Keenan Stadium
  • Jodhpur: Barkatullah Khan Stadium (Pal Road)
  • Kanpur: Green Park
  • Kochi: Nehru Stadium
  • Kolkata: Eden Gardens
  • Lucknow: University Ground, K.D. Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium, Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium
  • Margao: Nehru Stadium (Fatorda)
  • Mohali: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium (Chandigarh)
  • Mumbai: Wankhede Stadium, Gymkhana Stadium, Dr. DY Patil Sports Academy, Brabourne Stadium
  • Nagpur: Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium (Jamtha), Vidarbha C.A. Ground
  • Patna: Moin-ul-Haq Stadium
  • Pune: Nehru Stadium, Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium
  • Ranchi: JSCA International Stadium Complex
  • Rajkot: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Madavrao Scindia Cricket Ground
  • Srinagar: Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium
  • Trivandrum: University Stadium, Greenfield International Stadium
  • Vadodara: Reliance Stadium, Moti Bagh Stadium
  • Vijaywada: Indira Gandhi Stadium
  • Visakhapatnam: Indira Priyadarshini Stadium, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium

Ireland

  • Belfast: Civil Service Cricket Club (Stormont)
  • Bready: Bready Cricket Club (Magheramason)
  • Dublin: The Village Malahide, Castle Avenue

New Zealand

  • Auckland: Eden Park, AMI Stadium (formerly Lancaster Park, Jade Stadium)
  • Christchurch: Hagley Oval
  • Dunedin: University Oval, Carisbrook
  • Hamilton: Seddon Park
  • Lincoln: Bert Sutcliffe Oval
  • Mount Maunganui: Bay Oval
  • Napier: McLean Park
  • Nelson: Saxton Oval
  • New Plymouth: Pukekura Park
  • Queenstown: John Davies Oval
  • Wellington: Sky Stadium, Basin reserve
  • Whangarei: Cobham Oval (New)

Pakistan

  • Bahawalpur: Bahawal Stadium
  • Faisalabad: Iqbal Stadium
  • Gujranwala: Jinnah Stadium
  • Hyderabad: Niaz Stadium
  • Lahore: Gaddafi Stadium, Bagh-e-Jinnah
  • Multan: Multan Cricket Stadium, Ibn-e-Qasim Bagh Stadium
  • Peshawar: Peshawar Club Ground
  • Karachi: National Stadium, Southend Club Cricket Stadium
  • Quetta: Bugti Stadium
  • Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Pindi Club Ground
  • Sahiwal: Zafar Ali Stadium
  • Sialkot: Jinnah Stadium
  • Sheikhupura: Sheikhupura Stadium
  • Sargodha: Sports Stadium

Sri Lanka

  • Colombo: Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, P Sara Oval, Colombo Cricket Club Ground
  • Dambulla: Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
  • Galle: Galle International Stadium
  • Hambantota: Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium (Sooriyawewa)
  • Kandy: Asgiriya Stadium
  • Kurunegala: Welagedara Stadium
  • Moratuwa: Tyronne Fernando Stadium
  • Pallekele: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

South Africa

  • Benoni: Willowmoore Park
  • Bloemfontein: Mangaung Oval
  • Cape Town: Newlands
  • Centurion: SuperSport Park
  • Durban: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Lord’s, Kingsmead
  • East London: Buffalo Park
  • Johannesburg: The Wanderers Stadium, Old Wanderers, Ellis Park
  • Kimberly: Diamond Oval
  • Paarl: Boland Park
  • Pietermaritzburg: City Oval
  • Port Elizabeth: St. George’s Park
  • Potchefstroom: Senwes Park

United Arab Emirates

  • Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Tolerance Oval
  • Dubai: Dubai International Stadium, ICC Academy, ICC Academy Ground No.2
  • Sharjah: Sharjah Cricket Ground

West Indies

  • Antigua: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (North Sound), Coolidge Cricket Ground (Osbourn), Antigua Recreation Ground (St. John’s)
  • Barbados: Kensington Oval (Bridgetown)
  • Dominica: Windsor Park (Rouseau)
  • Jamaica: Sabina Park (Kingston)
  • Grenada: Queen’s Park – Old (St. George’s), National Cricket Stadium (St. George’s)
  • Guyana: Providence Stadium (Providence), Bourda (Georgetown), Albion Sports Complex (Albion, Berbice)
  • St. Lucia: Mindoo Phillip Park (Castries), Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium (Gros Islet)
  • St. Kitts: Warner Park (Basseterre)
  • St. Vincent: Arnos Vale Ground (Kingstown)
  • Trinidad: Park Oval (Port of Spain)

Zimbabwe

  • Bulawayo: Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo Athletic Club
  • Harare: Old Hararian, Harare Sports Club
  • Kwekwe: Kwekwe Sports Club

COPYRIGHT @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X, 07/15/2021; Email at bcd@brokencricketdreams.com

Sources: ESPNCricinfo Grounds, Cricinfo Monthly (Beautiful Outgrounds of England)

Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Sylhet – Facebook by Nahian Chowdhury, Dharamshala – by TheSereneRebel CC 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Galle – by Sergie Gussev via CC 2.0, Eden Gardens – JokerDurden, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Wankhede – Anand Desai, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Bugti Stadium – Facebook, Chitral – Altamish Azhar, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Rawalpindi – Facebook @mehmoodyousafzaii, Gaddafi Stadium – Younisjunejo, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Daren Sammy – Timothy Barton (timtranslates.com), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Queens Park OvalDominic Sayers from London, England, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Arnos Vale – AFP PHOTO/Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images), Windsor Park – SDGibbons, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, Narendra Modi Stadium – Gujarat Cricket Association, Dehradun Cricket Stadium – Facebook

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table: Australia Should Be In the World Test Championship Final & I Have The Data To Prove It

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table: Australia Should Be In the World Test Championship Final & I Have The Data To Prove It

Time to reveal the results from my most substantial project of the year—Alternative World Test Championship Points Table. Consider this my thesis as a culmination of work that has taken almost a year to put in place.

On July 29, 2020, my friend and I proposed how To Fix the WTC Points Table? At that point, the idea was to expose the problems of the current WTC system and propose how an alternative points table could be constructed.

Fast forward eleven months — after analyzing each of the 23 WTC series & 58 scorecards inside & out, converting our proposal into a tangible algorithm, and programming it in R language, we have finally put the algorithm in action.

Here is the revelation: Australia should have been in that WTC Final later this week against India, and I now have the data to prove it.

*Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong here. This article is not meant as a commentary on the New Zealand Cricket Team. The Kiwis have done a fantastic job over the past five-six years or so. Rather, this article is meant to expose the flaws in the World Test Championship Points Table and compare how a better-developed points table would have looked like.

Before We Get Started

Alright here we go. Here is how this article structure is going to work:

  1. First we are going to display our results right away— Original vs Alternative WTC Points Table side by side. Then, we
  2. Review the problems in the original system and restate the key motivations
  3. Lay out the Proposal & Algorithm
  4. Display interesting observations and debunk a myth
  5. Illustrate the power of the alternative point system’s through series analysis— The Ashes, England vs West Indies/Pakistan, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, New Zealand-Pakistan, & West Indies-Sri Lanka
  6. Explain the process of collecting data & issues encountered
  7. Finally go over implications of our proposal.

Notes:

  • The detailed result (team-by-team & series-by-series data) is displayed in the colorful Appendix Section at the bottom of the article for your kind reference.
  • Here are some abbreviations to keep in mind:
    • H/A: Home/Away
    • W/T/L: Won/Tied/Lost
    • RR: Run-rate
    • Australia (AUS), Bangladesh (BAN), England (ENG), India (IND), New Zealand (NZ), Pakistan (PAK), South Africa (SA), Sri Lanka (SL), West Indies (WI)

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table

Facts

Before we get into the Points Table, here are the facts of how each team performed. Pay special attention to the home and away.

TeamMatches (Away/Home)W (Away/Home)L (Away/Home)D (Away/Home)
India17
(8 A, 9 H)
12
(4 A, 8 H)
4
(3 A, 1 H)
1
(1 A, 0 H)
Australia14
(5 A, 9 H)
8
(2 A, 6 H)
4
(2 A, 2 H)
2
(1 A, 1 H)
New Zealand11
(5 A, 6 H)
7
(1 A, 6 H)
4
(4 A, 0 H)
0
England21
(10 A, 11 H)
11
(6 A, 5 H)
7
(4 A, 3 H)
3
(0 A, 3 H)
Pakistan 12
(7 A, 5 H)
4
(0 A, 4 H)
5
(5 A, 0 H)
3
(2 A, 1 H)
Sri Lanka12
(6 A, 6 H)
2
(0 A, 2 H)
6
(3 A, 3 H)
4
(3 A,1 H)
West Indies11
(7 A, 4 H) *
3
(3 A, 0 H)
6
(4 A, 2 H)
2
(0 A, 2 H)
South Africa11
(5 A, 6 H)
3
(0 A, 3 H)
8
(5 A, 3 H)
0
Bangladesh7
(5 A, 2 H)
06
(4 A, 2 H)
1
(1 A, 0 H)

*The analysis is before the ongoing West Indies-South Africa series, which is another pointless concept. Why is a World Test Championship group stage game scheduled the same time as the WTC Final?

Alternative Vs Original WTC Points Table

The next table is listed in order of the Alternative WTC Points Table (With this ranking, India & Australia would have met at the WTC final later this week).

In comparison, the original rank is shown in the final column. Rankings for India (most stable team), England/Pakistan (most mediocre), & Bangladesh (worst/did not play as much) are the same, but the rest of the alternative rankings are different compared to the original.

The third and fourth column compares the percentage according to the alternative world test championship points table algorithm versus original WTC percentage. In general, the current WTC inflates how the teams were in real-life. The top teams were really not as good as the numbers suggests and vice-versa with the bottom teams.

We will describe how we got to the “Total Points” and “Points Possible” in the next two sections. (If you are curious about total points for every series per team, feel free to scroll to the Appendix at the bottom of the article).

TeamTotal PointsPoints PossibleAlternative PercentageOriginal Percentage Original Rank
India55184665.13% 72.2%1
Australia41468460.52%69.2%3
New Zealand31254657.14%70.0%2
England564102653.92%61.4%4
Pakistan28060846.05%43.3%5
Sri Lanka24260040.03%27.8%8
West Indies21756239.74 %33.3%6
South Africa18153032.97%30.0%7
Bangladesh7236219.34%4.8%9
Alternative World Test Championship Points Table

*Sure Australia would have reached t

he WTC Finals if not for the -4 over-rate deduction in Melbourne vs India or if they had not cancelled their South Africa visit, but our Alternative algorithm displays this claim convincingly.

Background

Our Alternative World Test Championship Points Table fixes several of the problems encountered in the current system, a system dominated by the Big 3India, Australia, & England.

Our proposal would work even better in an ideal balanced world where the problems listed below have been fixed.

The Problems

The ICC has already stated that in the next iteration, all Test matches will carry same points weightage. While that is definitely a step in the right direction, it is not nearly not enough.

  • Number of points fluctuate depending on # of games per series:  A 2-match series is allotted 60 points per game, while 3, 4, and 5 match-series are awarded 40, 30, and 24 points respectively. This is totally absurd.
  • Number of Tests Played is uneven: In this WTC cycle, England played 21 Tests, while West Indies, South Africa, and New Zealand played 11 each. Marquee series like Ashes, Border-Gavaskar, Basil D’Oliveira Trophy, etc. are 4-5 Tests each while SL & NZ only play 2 Tests regularly.
  • Currently no distinction is made for Home/Away advantage: West Indies winning in Bangladesh, India winning in Australia, or Australia drawing in England should be worth more than home wins.
  • All-or-Nothing System: Test matches occur over 5 days or a max-of-15 sessions. One session can have a huge impact on the series. Yet, the points are awarded on an all-or-nothing basis.
  • Relegation-Promotion Needed: This WTC cycle exposed the gap between the top 4 teams and the rest of the table. The World Test Championship was supposed to provide context for Test cricket, especially for the lower-ranked teams. It has done just the opposite.

If you want to check out the full list of grievances and possible solutions, check out our ‘Make Test Cricket Great Again’ Series Below.

Proposal for the Alternative World Test Championship Points Table

The Goal

Our goal was to avoid the two spectrums of Simplicity vs Complexity. While the current WTC Points Table is simple, it does not do a good job at incorporating the numerous factors of a Test match.

On the other hand, we wanted to avoid a complicated system like Duckworth-Lewis-Stern or the ICC’s Rankings systems, that is barely understood even by the experts of the game.

The Proposal

We proposed a two-tiered system that incorporates (1) Session-by-session data and (2) Home/Away advantage. The proposal answered three specific questions:

Question 1: Why does the Losing Team in a 5-day Match Get 0 Points?

A Test match is long. After almost 40 hours of hard-fought battle, there is no way that a Fawad Alam-inspired Pakistan team that comes so close to a 5th day draw should receive 0 points only due to a Mitchell Santner jumping catch?

The beauty of a Test match is in its ebbs and flows, twists & turns.

A Stuart Broad spell, a Vihari-Ashwin blockathon, a Jermaine Blackwood-style counter-attack, or a Stokes-Pant-Myers/Bonner fourth innings special can change a match. There are periods where wickets are falling right and left, bowls just beating the edge. Oohs and ahhs. Later, the story might change with periods of fast run-scoring, counter-attacks, flat pitches, etc.

So how can we incorporate these moments into data?

Resolution 1: Session-by-Session Points

We first award points based on the number of sessions a team wins/ties/loses.

Since each day has 3 sessions, there is a maximum of 15 sessions possible in a Test. Since winning a session is awarded 2 points, the maximum session points possible is 30 (15*2).

SessionPoints
Won2
Tied/Even (or Washed Out/ Bad Light)1
Lost0
Session-By-Session Points

Question 2: How Can We Incorporate Home/Away Points?

This was the most popular concern and rightly so. It has always been tougher to win overseas Tests and the last decade has made it even more lopsided. Here is the fix. On top of the session-by-session data we add a:

Resolution 2: Fixed points system for Home and Away matches.

Combining resolution 1 & resolution 2, we get the total points available per Test match in the last column.

PointsWinDrawLossMaximum Points Possible (Per Match)
Home168046
Away2412054
Average2010050
Home & Away Points

*If the WTC cycle is scheduled with equal number of home and away games, for this portion we get an average of exactly 20 points for wins & 10 points for a draw. In total (with +30 from session points), it averages out to be 50 points per game.

Question 3: Is There An Equivalent of Net-Run Rate for Test Cricket?

In a Test match, how can we measure the magnitude of victory or defeat?

The ODI Super League at least has the Net Run Rate factor to signify how big a defeat or victory was. There is no such data in the current WTC Points Table. A 1-run victory achieved on the 5th day and an innings victory in a 2-day Test is worth the exact same.

Resolution 3: Bonus — Winning team is rewarded remaining sessions if match finishes early

When a team usually wins by an innings (or more than 100 runs, or with 8-10 wickets in hand for that matter), usually several sessions/days are still left.

Hence, the winning team is awarded the remaining session-by-session points (2* # of remaining sessions). This will incentivize teams on the edge to fight harder and take the game deeper even if they are on the verge of losing. On the other hand, it can convince captains to go for bold declarations in order to win earlier.

The Algorithm

In order to remove any semblance of subjectivity, we created the following algorithm to determine W/T/L for a session.

Here is the specific criteria along with the reasons as to why we added that part.

Sessions

  • If (0 overs are bowled – washed out session) OR if (RR >= 4 AND wickets >= 4)*
    • Session is tied and both teams get 1 point each
  • If (only 1 wicket falls) OR (RR >= 3.5 AND wickets <=3) OR (RR <= 2 AND Wickets <=2)
    • Batting team wins session and receives 2 points
    • Reason: If wickets are preserved and run-rates are decent, then the batting team should be rewarded. In some contexts like the first session of a Test match, even if the run-rate is slow, the batting team should be rewarded if only 2 or less wickets fall.
  • If 4 or more wickets fall OR (RR <= 2) OR (Wickets >= 4 AND RR >= 3.5)
    • Bowling teams wins session and receives 2 points
    • Reason: If the bowling team is disciplined and restricts the run-rate to a minimal or if they take more than 4 wickets in certain conditions, they should be rewarded.
  • Any other case
    • Tied Session; Both teams get 1 point each

*Special thanks to Vandit for co-creating this algorithm and working through the entire WTC process with me.

The Stokes-Pant-Bonner/Myers Outlier

*One may ask why did we need (RR>= 4 AND wickets >= 4) section? Usually the bowling team should be rewarded when a heap of wickets fall, but this session is what I like to call the Stokes-Pant-Bonner/Myers Outlier.

On paper, 5 wickets in a session would definitely be a bowler’s session, but as a viewer, we know 124 runs at a run-rate of 4.22 due to Stokes’ brilliance should at least be a tied session.

This just one of the few examples which helped us tweak our algorithm to align with real-life events.

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COPYRIGHT @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X, 06/14/2021; Email at bcd@brokencricketdreams.com

Observations: Which Team Won the Most Sessions?

Now to the fun part—the analysis. After we applied the above algorithm to all the Test matches, here are some fascinating things we observed.

Observation 1: What Sets India Apart?

If we look at the sessions graph below, not much sets India and Australia apart. In fact, both Australia and India won exactly 74 session each. Sessions tied (IND 59-56 AUS) and sessions lost (IND 48-46 AUS) are pretty close as well.

What put India to another level is an additional 108 Bonus Points. Altogether, India won by 54 sessions to spare – that is 18 days of Test cricket! Australia, in comparison, received 46 bonus points (23 sessions to spare).

Our algorithm rewarded India due to the fact that they won their WTC Test matches more convincingly than any other team (Well, it helped that at home, India played Bangladesh, a weak SA team, and an English team that was rolled over in 2-day Tests, but that is another story).

It is interesting that although Australia crushed Pakistan & New Zealand at home and blew India apart with that 36 All-Out, the last three Test matches in the BGT cost them important bonus points.

Observation 2: England Won, Tied, and Lost the Most sessions

England won 84 sessions, tied 102 sessions, and lost 83 sessions—the most for any team is all three categories. England play the most Test matches, which ended up biting them in the backside.

They won three overseas Tests against South Africa and two against an Embuldeniya inspired-Sri Lanka, two of the hardest touring venues in cricket (even though they are both in an extended transition zone). England also lost 7 matches, 3 at home (Australia, West Indies) and four abroad, the final three coming in the India series, where they lost by huge margins.

Tip of the Day: If England keep playing more Test cricket, it will increase their likelihood of losing more games, thereby reducing their chances to go to future WTC finals. Hence, it is in England’s own best interest to vouch for equal number of games (home & away) for every team in a WTC cycle.

Observation 3: The Importance of Draws

One of the stark differences between the original WTC Points Table and our table was Sri Lanka’s ranking. In the original ranking system, SL ranked 8th (27.8%) as opposed to our table, in which SL ranked 6th (40.03%).

Lanka actually drew most Tests than any other team (4), and 3 of them away. An away draw might be regarded higher than certain home wins.

Our Home/Away weightage boosted them right behind Pakistan, who are comparable in the graph below. One thing is clear—there is no way SA should have leapfrogged SL. SA lost more sessions, won/tied way less sessions than Sri Lanka, and their only wins were at home (3 wins compared to SL’s 2). Not even a draw abroad.

Unforeseen Effect of New Algorithm: Our algorithm helped the lower-ranked teams. If the Relegation-Promotion system was put in place, Pakistan (46.05%), Sri Lanka (40.03%), & West Indies (39.74%) would be in a heated battle rather than not having no context for lower-ranked teams. Even Bangladesh, which was at 4.8% in the original WTC Points table is at 19.34%, due to some flat roads in Sri Lanka.

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table – Session Data

Observation 4: The Moeen Ali Anomaly

Usually the team that wins the Test ends up winning the last session of the game. This was not the case in the 2nd Test of the India-England series.

Lunch at Day 4 – England were 116/7 in 48. 3 overs in a chase of 482 runs. Post-lunch, India would have expected to easily wrap up a 350+ run victory, but Moeen Ali had other plans.

Sent in at #9 (really #9, England team management?), Ali blitzed 43 (18) with 5 sixes and 3 fours. England scored 48 runs for 3 wickets at about 8.7 RR and won that final session, despite losing the Test by 317 runs.

Little did they know this would be their final shining light as they were systematically dismantled by Axar Patel for the final two Tests.

Observation 5: Pakistan Had It Rough

Pakistan played the second-least amount of games at home (5) after the West Indies and had away series in Australia, England, and New Zealand.

That schedule is asking for trouble.

Even though they competed admirably in England & New Zealand, one bad series in Australia ruined their figures. What’s more? Their series in Zimbabwe did not even count.

Still ended up at #5 in both the tables – the best of the 2nd half of the table.

Debunking The Myth

The Myth: NZ Got An Unfair Entry In the WTC Final Due to Home Games

New Zealand has received a lot of criticism that they loaded the points at home and hence jumped through the top.

Actually, England (11), Australia (9), India (9) had more designated home games, while Sri Lanka (6) & South Africa (6) had the same. On the other hand, New Zealand played the same of away games as Australia, South Africa, and Bangladesh had the same number of away games, five each.

Both NZ & SA played the exact same number of games (same home/away as well), and both places are tough touring destinations as well. The fact that NZ took advantage of their conditions speaks to their ability rather than pure luck. Otherwise, SA would have been right there up with NZ instead of languishing at the bottom of the table.

Oh yeah and also New Zealand played both home & away 2-Test series against England during this period, neither of which counted towards the WTC. They won 1-0 both of them each. (Another reason why FTP & the WTC should merge. Every game should count)

Series Illustration

We now illustrate the algorithm by comparing the Actual Series Total against the Alternative BCD (Broken Cricket Dreams) Series Total.

Ashes 2019

Actual Series Total: England 56-56 Australia

Alternative BCD Series Total: England 113-137 Australia

What do you recall from the 2019 Ashes? Steve Smith’s godly tour, David Warner’s Stuart Broad misery, Stokes’ Headingly conquest, Leach’s glasses, Tim Paine’s review & Nathan Lyon’s missed run-out, Marnus Labuschagne’s concussion-substitute surprise introduction, Jofra Archer’s brilliance?

Ashes of the ages. As close as it gets. At the face of it, 56-56 looks like a decent result but let us dig a little deeper. Australia won 2 away matches, drew 1 match, and barely lost Headingly.

Ask yourself, did Australia deserve to get 0 points for the hard-fought Headingly Test? Oh yeah, and if you forgot, England were also bowled out for 67 in the first innings, another example where sessions can change the complexion of a match.

Altogether, 25 sessions were tied, Australia won 25, and England won 17. However, England won with a total of 7 sessions to spare in the series compared to Australia’s 2, which ensured they received more bonus points. Hence, the 137-113 was a better indicator of the competitive Ashes than the 56-56.

England Post-COVID

Actual Series Total: England 80-40 West Indies, England 66-26 Pakistan

Alternative BCD Series Total: England 87-61 West Indies, England 75-71 Pakistan

We should all be grateful to England, West Indies, Pakistan, & Ireland to get cricket started again post the initial COVID lockdown.

The matches in these two series were closer than they appear.

Jermaine Blackwood-led successful overseas chase in the first Test, Kemar Roach’s brilliance & #1 Test all-rounder Jason Holder were especially spectacular. Although West Indies fizzled out at the end, they were in the series for the most part. When they were not taking wickets, they kept the opposition’s run-rate down and tied most sessions. WI winning an away Test and being competitive throughout made it a 87-61 series.

Pakistan’s series was statistically even more interesting. In the last two Tests, Pakistan earned two away draws courtesy rain-affected games, so we should analyze the first Test by itself. If you remember, this was Shan Masood’s epic 156, where he almost carried the bat. Although Pakistan collapsed as usual towards the end and lost, the fact that they batted for the first five sessions of the game and won more sessions than England (7-W, 1-T, 4 L) gave them a series total of 75-71.

Super close without actually winning a single game.

Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Actual Series Total: Australia 40-70 India (36-70 with over-rate deduction)

Alternative BCD Series Total: Australia 91-113 India

Here is a thought experiment—Imagine if Rishabh Pant had gotten out in the last session of Day 5 in the Gabba chase and Tim Paine’s prophecy would have come true. India would have been heartbroken and the current WTC Points Table would have switched to Australia 70-40 India.

A session here or there and Australia, barely scraping by at home, would have received the exact same number of points as opposed to the blood, sweat, & tears via Vihari-Ashwin fightback, Siraj’s leadership, Shardul-Shubman-Sundar-Pant’s youth, & Pujara’s toil.

Our algorithm encodes these little moments in the session-by-session data. India won 14 crucial sessions, Australia won 18, and 17 were tied. Australia benefitted from bonus points after they wrapped India up in one session at Adelaide with 36/9. Just like Australia were in the Ashes, India’s 2 away wins & a draw boosted them up.

You see, there is something for everybody.

(Oh and if you were wanting confirmation, if India had lost Gabba, our algorithm would have awarded Australia 107-89 India, which is still pretty close).

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from the India Vs Australia Series, Series Review: The Greatest Story of Them All?

Pakistan-New Zealand

Actual Series Total: New Zealand 120-0 Pakistan

Alternative BCD Series Total: New Zealand 72-20 Pakistan

New Zealand steamrolled almost every opposition at home except for Pakistan.

In the first Test, Pakistan lost with just 4-overs to go. Digest that for a second. There are 450 possible overs to bowl in a Test match. Just 4 overs…

Pakistan stalled for 123.3 overs in the 4th innings due to the heroics of missing-in-action-kid-of-the-decade Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali, and the ever-dependable Mohammad Rizwan. Even in the second Test, Azhar Ali-Abid Ali-Faheem Ashram-Mohammad Rizwan won Pakistan some sessions.

What did Pakistan get for challenging New Zealand in their own backyards? Exactly 0 points.

Neither were Pakistan bad enough to 0 points or New Zealand so brilliant to hoard 120 points all by themselves.

West Indies- Sri Lanka

Actual Series Total: West Indies 40-40 Sri Lanka

Alternative BCD Series Total: West Indies 45-55 Sri Lanka

This was the only instance of every match of the series being drawn. The two-Test series ended with a 0-0 score line. A 40-40 is a fair result, but with two away draws, Sri Lanka nudges slightly above with 55-45 in the alternative world test championship table.

Data Collection Process

Motivation

Initially, we did this the old school way.

For the first 33 Test matches, we literally perused through the commentary and Match Notes section of the scorecard and manually decided which team won each session. Talk about tedious…

This was difficult for two reason: (1) It was hard to keep up after every Test match, and more importantly, (2) it was completely subjective.

In order to standardize the process of determining who won each session and remove any bias we had after watching the match, I decided to code our algorithm in R and re-do the process from scratch.

How Did We Get Our Data?

Before we could start implementing our proposal, we had to first get the data.

Our main data source was ESPN Cricinfo’s Match Results list for ICC World Test Championship, 2019-2021. As an input, I fed each scorecard individually into the program. The next step was to figure out how to get session-by-session data.

If you scroll to the bottom of the scorecard, there is a Match Notes section, which summarizes important moments at each interval of the match. The idea was to have our program read through these Match Notes and after preprocessing and removing the unnecessary characters, return data at “Lunch, “Tea”, “Innings Break”, and “End of Day.”

The important features to record at every interval were as follows: (1) Team Batting, (2) Runs, (3) Wickets, & (4) Overs. This data was stored in tables so all the data for lunch, tea, innings break, and end of day for all five days (or however long the Test match lasted) could be easily accessed.

Once the data was all nice and clean, things got a bit easier. At this point, we could compute the run-rate in each session and check if there was a switch of innings (all-out or declaration). Using this data, we could allocate points based on the proposal above.

We repeated this process for all the 58 matches and added up the points. Finally due to COVID*, we divided the total number attained by the total possible.

*Due to COVID-19 interruptions equal number of H/A games was not possible, so percentage was used.

Issues Faced

Initially I thought, reading data from a scorecard would be an easy task, right? Wrong. I was surprised by the inconsistency in some of the records.

For example, when a day is rained out, sometimes they will put: “Rain – 0/0, Lunch – 0/0, End of Day – 0/0.” Almost always, in a rained-out game, some of the sessions were missing which made it difficult to automate the program efficiently. Day/Night matches were especially hilarious. Instead of “Tea” & “Dinner”, in some games “Lunch” and Tea” were written. In others, it was a combination of all four!

A more subtle issue was when innings break occurred at the same time as an interval. In some occasions, Innings Break” and corresponding score was avoided, which caused our data table to have some missing values.

Anyway, you get the point. There were several other little issues, but I do not want to sound like a broken record. What this process influenced me to do confirm after every scorecard was read that all the data was stored correctly in the program.

Quality check.

Conclusion

The Alternative World Test Championship Points Table & the original table only had India (1), England (4), & Pakistan (5) in the same positions. Since our algorithm weighted away games more & took sessions in context, the rest of the rankings were different.

Is it the best algorithm? No, but it is definitely better than the current system by a landslide. I will continue to make improvements to this algorithm for the next iteration and apply this alternative system for the next cycle of the WTC.

Making Test cricket more equitable to all the cricket playing nations (and not just the Big 3) is definitely a challenge in the age of T20 leagues, but if huge financial restructure cannot happen, at least a change in the World Test Championship Points Table is a place to start.

In any case, end results are end results. No argument. Journey is the important part. We tend to ignore or forget the little pleasures in life by focusing on the end goal. Enjoy, smile, learn, & support each other.

My best wishes to India and New Zealand for the World Test Championship this week.

Before I end this, here are some thoughts by cricketers & commentators on the WTC Points Table.

What Cricketers & Commentators Say About the WTC Format

“I can’t quite work out how a five-match Ashes series can be worth the same as India playing Bangladesh for two Tests.”

Stuart Broad

“This difference in value for winning a Test match I thought didn’t take into account the enormity of a contest, the toughness of the contest, and thought if I had to conceive a plan to get to the final of the World Test Championship, I would play 2 Test matches at home on pitches that I like.”

Harsha Bhogle on disparity in the points system

“I think going forward, maybe the WTC could add context this way, two teams playing away from their home and sort of bringing the whole ebbs and flows of the game.”

Ravichandran Ashwin on neutral series

“Ideally, in the long run, if they want to persist with the Test Championship, a best-of-three final will be ideal. As a culmination of two-and-a-half years of cricket around the globe.”

Indian coach Ravi Shastri

So what did you think about this article and the Alternative World Test Championship Points Table? COMMENT BELOW with your opinions! Would love to engage!

Appendix

The team-by-team and series-by-series (at the very bottom) tables are presented below.

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table Team-By Team Data

*symbolizes Away series. An away series has a maximum possible of 54 points, while a Home series has a maximum of 46 points.

List of Teams

India

India Home/Away Session Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs WI*482714892108
Vs SA4851201193138
Vs Ban32262886292
Vs NZ*0160162108
Vs Aus*604581134216
Vs Eng4842381284184
236 207 10855117846
  • (551/846)*100 = 65.13%
  • Sessions: 74-59-48 (W-T-L)

Australia

AustraliaHome/AwaySessionBonusTotalMatches Total Possible
Vs Eng*607521375 270
Vs Pak32281272292
Vs NZ 4848181143138
Vs Ind245314914184
1642044641414684
  • (414/684) * 100 = 60.53%
  • Sessions: 74-56-46 (W-T-L)

New Zealand

New ZealandBonusTotalMatchesTotal Possible
Vs SL*0562108
Vs Aus*0243162
Vs Ind2476292
Vs WI2084292
Vs Pak672292
5031211546
  • (312/546)*100 = 57.14%
  • Sessions: 53-36-39 (W-T-L)

England

England Home/Away Session Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs Aus4059141135230
Vs SA*7257101394216
Vs WI32514873138
Vs Pak32376753138
Vs SL*482810862108
Vs Ind*24382644216
248 27046564211046
  • (54/1046)* 100 = 53.92%
  • Sessions: 84-102-83 (W-T-L)

Pakistan

Pakistan Home/Away Session Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs Aus*0200202108
Vs SL2429457292
Vs Ban16151041146
Vs Eng*24470713162
Vs NZ*0200202108
Vs SA32291071292
961602428012378
  • (280/378) *100 = 46.05%
  • Sessions: 56-48-52 (W-T-L)

Sri Lanka

Sri LankaHome/AwaySession Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs NZ1622644292
Vs Pak*12270392108
Vs SA*0210212108
Vs Eng022022292
Vs WI* 24310552108
Vs Ban2433461292
761561024212325
  • (242/600)*100 = 40.33%
  • Sessions: 48-60-49 (W-L-T)

West Indies

West IndiesHome/AwaySessionBonusTotalMatchesTotal Possible
Vs Ind019019292
Vs Eng*24370613162
Vs NZ*08082108
Vs Ban*48306842108
Vs SL1629045292
88123621711562
  • (217/562)*100 = 39.74%
  • Sessions: 29-65-50 (W-T-L)

South Africa

South Africa Home/Away Session Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs Ind*0190193162
Vs Eng16458694184
Vs SL32172271292
Vs Pak*0210212108
481023018011546
  • (180/546) = 32.97%
  • Sessions: 36-30-64 (W-L-T)

Bangladesh

Bangladesh Home/Away Session Bonus Total Matches Total Possible
Vs Ind*06062108
Vs Pak*0505154
Vs WI024024292
Vs SL*12230352108
12580707270
  • (70/270)*100 = 19.34%
  • Sessions: 14-30-37 (W-L-T)

Alternative World Test Championship Points Table Series-By-Series Comparison

Series
(H Vs A)
Matches in SeriesResultAlternative Series TotalOriginal Series Total
England Vs Australia
(The Ashes)
52-2137-11356-56
Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand21-144-5660-60
West Indies Vs India20-219-890-120
India Vs South Africa
(Freedom Trophy)
33-0119-19120-0
India Vs Bangladesh
(Ganguly-Durjoy Trophy)
22-086-8120-0
Australia Vs Pakistan22-072-20120-0
Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka21-057-3980-20
Australia Vs New Zealand
(Trans-Tasman Trophy)
33-0114-24120-0
South Africa Vs England
(Basil D’Oliveira)
41-370-13924-90
(*SA -6 for over-rate penalty in the 4th Test)
Pakistan Vs Bangladesh11-041-560-0
New Zealand Vs India22-076-16120-0
England Vs West Indies
(Wisden Trophy)
32-187-6180-40
England Vs Pakistan31-075-7166-26
New Zealand Vs West Indies22-084-8120-0
Australia Vs India
(Border-Gavaskar Trophy)
41-2113-9136-70
(*Aus -4 for over-rate penalty in the 2nd Test)
New Zealand Vs Pakistan22-072-20120-0
South Africa VS Sri Lanka22-071-21120-0
Sri Lanka Vs England20-222-860-120
Pakistan Vs South Africa22-071-21120-0
Bangladesh Vs West Indies20-224-840-120
India Vs England
(Anthony de Mello Trophy)
41-3128-6490-30
West Indies Vs Sri Lanka
(Sobbers-Tissera Trophy)
20-055-4540-40
Sri Lanka Vs Bangladesh21-061-3580-20

*Note, we have not yet added the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy (West Indies Vs South Africa) since that is ongoing during the WTC Final.

Top 10 Life Lessons From India Vs Australia 2020: Courage, Character, Resilience – Which One Is Your Favorite?

Top 10 Life Lessons From India Vs Australia 2020: Courage, Character, Resilience – Which One Is Your Favorite?

India Vs Australia 2020, a series to cherish forever.

In the time of COVID and hardship, this is exactly what was needed. Not only did this series entertain, it also taught us valuable life lessons as well.

Earlier we did a similar piece on 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020:

  1. Soil Fertile Elsewhere
  2. The Audacity of Hope
  3. Rise Like a Phoenix
  4. Make Most of Your Opportunities
  5. Synergy Above All
  6. Small Hole Can Sink a Ship
  7. Carry Old Baggage At Your Own Risk
  8. When One Era Closes, Another Opens
  9. Fix Roof When Sun Is Shining
  10. Sportsmanship & Passion For the Game

Today we will add more 10 life lessons from cricket we can apply to our lives.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: Cricket’s Reflections of Passion, Prediction Results, Life Lessons From Joe Biden & Joe Denly

The Life Lessons

India Vs Australia 2020 Edition

1. Resilience & Courage

Moment: The entire series.

The series can be summed up by Nelson Mandela’s quote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Whenever India looked like they were gone, they found a way to get back up.

36/9 in Adelaide and without Virat Kohli at Melbourne. Surely India cannot recover at the Boxing Day Test? Well exactly the opposite happened as India achieved a memorable victory. The entire team rose to the occasion & Rahane, the stand-in captain, stood up with a magnificent century.

Resilience.

Injuries to fast bowlers of the Class of 2018. Before the series, No Ishant, no Bhuvi. Midway through the series, Shami, Umesh, and Bumrah out. By the end, Ashwin, Jadeja, & Vihari are done. Battered & bruised, they draw the third test.

Did the Indian team decide to give up at any point in time? Does India play for the draw in the 4th test? No & No. They go for the win. And they indeed win.

Courage.

Life Lesson 1: It is okay to make mistakes. You will suffer setbacks. The important part is to regroup, learn from these initial setbacks & mistakes, and find your feet again. Keep working. Keep going. Just never give up.

2. Just Be Yourself

Moment: Pant-Pujara Partnership

Oh he plays too slow! No intent shown….Oh he is too reckless. Gets out against the run of play.

This is not a description about one player but a paraphrasing of criticism for two different players, Pujara and Pant.

Balance is important. Criticize these two at your own peril.

Pujara scored his slowest fifty in the first innings of the 3rd Test. He followed it up by his 3rd slowest in the second innings. He went to break his own slowest 50th at the historic Gabba chase.

Pant ‘throws it away’ in the 2019 World Cup Semi-Final. Pant has ‘thrown it away’ several times before. In the third test, he plays a ‘rash’ shot at 97. Hopes of India’s win diminish, but the fact India had hope in the first place is due to Pant. Fortune favors the brave.

Pujara ended the series with a strike rate of 29.2. Pant with 69.89. Neither got a century, yet the partnerships of 148 (265) in Sydney and 61 (141) at Brisbane were monumental in India’s victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant. Chalk and cheese. Yin and Yang.

Life Lesson 2: Adapting to different situations & circumstances in life is important but not at the expense of your innate being. Always learn from others, listen, take their advice, but at the end of the day, you are unique, and that is good enough. Never change who you are for others, and never forget where you came from.

3. Character & Determination

Moment: Hanuma Vihari & R Ashwin in the 3rd Test

Hanuma Vihari had a disastrous series till Day 5 of the 3rd Test. In his 5 innings, he scored 16 & 8, 21, and 4 & 23*. By the 4th day, he had run himself out after looking uncomfortable with a 4 (38), dropped a couple of crucial chances, and had been hit numerous times at forward short leg.

When Pujara & Pant depart on Day 5, Vihari has only scored 3*(31) with a session & a half to go. Just to put salt on the wound, Vihari suffers a hamstring injury. His new partner, R Ashwin, neither has form on his side nor a functioning back.

But boy, does he have spine? Post tea, he gets battered with short deliveries and gets hit on the ribs & shoulders.

Response? They pull off one of the major heists in recent Test cricketing memory. Vihari 23*(161) with over 4 and a half hours of batting & 39*(128) in 3 hours for Ashwin. Partnership of 62*(259).

If this is not one of the greatest displays of character & determination, I just don’t know what is.

Life Lesson 3: Sometimes things are in your favor. At other times, they are not. Vihari could have easily retired hurt and cared for his place in the 4th Test. These moments are what life is all about. Even when you are not 100% physically or mentally, stay in the moment & give it your all.

Don’t retire hurt and sell yourself short.

4. Fearlessness

Moments: India’s youngsters rise to the occasion. Pant’s 97 & 89*, Sundar 62, Thakur 67 & 7 wickets, Siraj’s 5-for, & Shubman Gill’s 91.

Mark Twain is credited to have said, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

The embodiment of fearlessness was displayed by India’s youth in this tour—Debutants Shubman Gill, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar, (almost debutant) Shardul Thakur, and none more so than the experienced Rishabh Pant.

Gill’s backfoot punches are a thing of beauty. Beauty + Consistency + Positive Approach = Brilliance of Shubman Gill. Scores of 45, 35*, 50, 31, 7, and the 91 that gave India belief in Brisbane.

Thakur & Sundar did not fear against Starc-Cummins-Hazlewood. Neither did they blindly hit. They played proper cricketing shots & dominated. On Day 5 and near victory, Sundar pulled dangerous Cummins for six, Pant paddle swept Lyon, & Sundar got out playing a reverse sweep. Fearless stuff.

Life Lesson 4: You will face challenges and difficulty—whether that is related to school or work. Next time you fear how hard the upcoming exam is or if you have self-doubts about completing a project, take a deep breath and invoke your inner Rishabh Pant.

Spiderman, Spiderman,…

5. The Whole Is Greater Than Sum of The Parts

Moment: India Maximize Available Resource

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. The youngsters, reserves, & stalwarts of India were prepared when this opportunity came.

Although Rahane’s century was the highlight of Melbourne’s victory, Bumrah and Ashwin were among the wickets, Shubman Gill contributed with a 45 & 35*, & ever dependable Jadeja made a steady 57 along with his fielding efforts.

The Sydney draw was masterminded by Pant-Pujara & Ashwin-Vihari partnerships, but also had key contributions from Gill-Sharma & Jadeja again. In the final Test, the improbable counterattack by Thakur-Sundar, Siraj’s 5-for, & Gill-Pujara-Pant-Sundar took India to victory.

India utilized 20 squad members, Pant was the highest score with only 274 runs, & Siraj the highest wicket taker with 13 wickets. It was a truly a team effort from India’s point of view. Australia had more centuries, highest wicket taker, & most run scorer (since they played all 4 matches).

Life Lesson 5: Learn to work with others. The more diverse the ideas, the better. Individual excellence along with the greater good is the best way forward. Bring others along with you.

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6. Be Like Pat Cummins

Moment: Pat Cummins bowls his heart out

So why does Cummins get a special mention? Because he was the highest wicket taker at 21 wickets and player of the series? No.

Pat Cummins bowled 162.1 overs, the most by a pacer in this Test series (Lyon with 187). Hazlewood was next with 144.4. This is an amazing feat considering Cummins was marred by injuries in his early career (Test debut in 2011, but did not play any tests between 2012-16).

He was just as intense on Day 1 of the first Test as he was on Day 5 of the 4th. In the final hour of the series, if there was one bowler who Tim Paine could depend on, it was Pat Cummins. Still bowling at 140 clicks, hitting the perfect line & length (Spooky pitch map by the way).

Accuracy, Consistency, Intensity. That’s Pat Cummins for you.

Pujara and the rest of the Indian batsmen had drained the Australian bowling unit. Cummins must have been out of energy. He must have tired, but it did not show. Bowled his heart out.

Life Lesson 6: Success comes before work only in dictionary. If you want to pursue any field, be like Pat Cummins. Give it your 100%. Work hard, play hard, fail, learn, cherish moments of glory, repeat.

7. Fine Line Between Banter & Abuse

Moments: Ashwin-Paine Banter, Mohammad Siraj Racial Abuse

The heat of the moment got to Tim Paine in the 3rd Test match with his banter against Ashwin. It came back to bite him since Australia lost their fortress after 33 years, the Gabbatoir. Paine later came back for an emergency press conference to address the issues. At other times in the series, commentators were guilty of making derogatory remarks against Marnus Labuschagne.

The tensions came to a boil when spectators racially abused Mohammad Siraj on multiple days. Siraj reported the incident to the umpire. Several ex-players, including Justin Langer have come out against it. As Bharat Sundaresan wrote, “Siraj is the hero we need to be.” Bharat also speaks about it here.

Life Lesson 7: Racism is not acceptable in any form. Speak up if you are a victim or a by-stander. Try to learn from other cultures. If you are not sure about a cultural reference or how to pronounce a name, just ask. Don’t Assume. Embrace diversity. Be nice.

8. Walk the Talk: Performance Matters

Moments: Tim Paine & Matthew Wade’s Performances

Tim Paine had a decent series with the bat, especially the counter attacking Player of the Match 73* at Adelaide. The rest of his performance though was below par.

Dropped catches at Sydney & Brisbane, missed DRS reviews, useless banter, & fielding placements. He needs to walk the talk with his captaincy.

The other keeper in the XI, Matthew Wade also needs to walk the talk. He has done a great job plugging holes in Australia’s line up as a middle order, opening batsman, and taking hits from Neil Wagner. In this India Vs Australia 2020 series, he has managed to get out with a soft dismissal on 3-4 occasions.

Life Lesson 8: Words need to be accompanied with actions to have any meaning. Walk the talk & never take anything for granted. When you are doing well, make the most out of your opportunity because the good times can end very quickly.

9. Leadership Matters

Moments: Siraj leads the attack, Rahane consoles Jadeja after Run Out

If I had to remember this series by one story alone, it would be Mohammad Siraj. Siraj comes from a humble background, was in bereavement of his father’s loss, and was racially abused. Bumrah gets injured, and India play the Brisbane Test with a total of 4 Test matches among the 5 bowlers, with Rohit Sharma being the most experienced bowler.

Siraj becomes the leader of the attack, gives advice to Saini, Natarajan, & Thakur, and takes a well deserved 5-fer. It has been a great boon to Indian cricket that the transition from Zaheer Khan to Ishant Sharma, Ishant Sharma to Bumrah, and Bumrah to Siraj has been smooth. Arms around shoulders.

Speaking of leadership, Rahane’s captaincy & calm demeanor (the Jadeja moment & reaction after series victory) were central to India’s win. In addition, the physio’s efforts during this injury-marred series, and support staff’s influence with Bharat Arun & Ravi Shastri cannot be understated.

Life Lesson 9: Be the leader you want others to be. Lead With humility and vision. Take responsibility. Guide Others. Sharing is caring. Creating other leaders is the most significant sign of leadership.

10. Do Not Get Ahead of Yourself

Moments: The Gabba Fortress Breached

The pre-series talk included several predictions of Australia sweeping 4-0 and even after Sydney, Gabba’s statistics were the talk of the town. We all know what happened.

India needs to be warned as well. This was an expected surreal win, but the Indian team should not get ahead of themselves. If India gets complacent, who knows, England might provide India a taste of their own medicine later this year.

Life Lesson 10: Pride and ego can lead to positive growth if utilized correctly. Hubris and arrogance, on the other hand, will certainly bring your downfall.

11. Bonus Story: Superstitions For The Win

This is a fun personal story.

I have always enjoyed underdog stories. I mean, this entire blog is about “Broken Cricket Dreams.” One of the Test matches I have always waited for is a 5th Day hard fought draw.

Due to time zones, I had missed Faf’s Adelaide debut & a similar New Zealand-England match earlier in the decade. The 2015 South Africa blockathon (143 runs in 143.1 overs) resulted in a narrow defeat. The end of the decade, I thought my dream would come true with the Azhar Ali-Fawad Alam-Rizwan effort. It was not to be.

I am also known for my jinx ability & superstitions (just for the fun of it). So 3rd Test Day 5, I had been asked by my friend and family to not tweet a thing. I went one step ahead and decided to not speak either for the day.

After almost 9 and a half hours, the dream finally came true. India had saved the Test match. And guess what? It was a kind of peaceful exercise, not being on social medial 24-7. Anyway…

India Vs Australia 2020 Legacy

Surely this is a tour that Allan Border & Sunil Gavaskar would be proud of.

For a generation or two, the 1999 World Cup Semi-Final, 2005 Ashes, 2001 Laxman’s 281, Belinda Clarke’s 229* were the moments to cherish. In the last 5 years, cricket has rejuvenated itself. All formats with memorable moments.

  1. T20 World Cup – Remember The Name
  2. Women’s World Cup 2017, WT20 2020 – 86,000 spectators
  3. ODI World Cup Final 2019
  4. Stokes Headingly 2019, Perera 153*
  5. India Vs Australia 2020

So, India Vs Australia – who won?

Here is one of our tweets that made it after the 36/9 in Adelaide.

If you like these philosophy bits, go check these two featured articles below.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020, Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

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Copyright – @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Sources: goodreads.com, Brainy Quote

Image Courtesy: Anand Anil, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons