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 havebeen 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.
Alright here we go. Here is how this article structure is going to work:
First we are going to display our results right away— Original vs Alternative WTC Points Table side by side. Then, we
Review the problems in the original system and restate the key motivations
Lay out the Proposal & Algorithm
Display interesting observations and debunk a myth
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
Explain the process of collecting data & issues encountered
Finally go over implications of our proposal.
The detailed result (team-by-team & series-by-series data) is displayed in the colorful Appendix Sectionat the bottom of the article for your kind reference.
Here are some abbreviations to keep in mind:
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
Before we get into the Points Table, here are the facts of how each team performed. Pay special attention to the home and away.
17 (8 A, 9 H)
12 (4 A, 8 H)
4 (3 A, 1 H)
1 (1 A, 0 H)
14 (5 A, 9 H)
8 (2 A, 6 H)
4 (2 A, 2 H)
2 (1 A, 1 H)
11 (5 A, 6 H)
7 (1 A, 6 H)
4 (4 A, 0 H)
21 (10 A, 11 H)
11 (6 A, 5 H)
7 (4 A, 3 H)
3 (0 A, 3 H)
12 (7 A, 5 H)
4 (0 A, 4 H)
5 (5 A, 0 H)
3 (2 A, 1 H)
12 (6 A, 6 H)
2 (0 A, 2 H)
6 (3 A, 3 H)
4 (3 A,1 H)
11 (7 A, 4 H) *
3 (3 A, 0 H)
6 (4 A, 2 H)
2 (0 A, 2 H)
11 (5 A, 6 H)
3 (0 A, 3 H)
8 (5 A, 3 H)
7 (5 A, 2 H)
6 (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).
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.
Our Alternative World Test Championship Points Table fixes several of the problems encountered in the current system, a system dominated by the Big 3—India, Australia, & England.
Our proposal would work even better in an ideal balanced world where the problems listed below have been fixed.
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.
Proposal for the Alternative World Test Championship Points Table
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.
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).
Tied/Even (or Washed Out/ Bad Light)
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.
Maximum Points Possible (Per Match)
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.
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.
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
TiedSession; 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.
Also comment below with out thoughts on this Alternative World Test Championship Table!
COPYRIGHT @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X, 06/14/2021; Email at email@example.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 additional108 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.
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)
We now illustrate the algorithm by comparing the Actual Series Total against the Alternative BCD (Broken Cricket Dreams) Series Total.
Actual Series Total: England56-56 Australia
Alternative BCD Series Total: England113-137 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 pointsfor the hard-fought HeadinglyTest? 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.
Actual Series Total:England80-40 West Indies, England66-26 Pakistan
Alternative BCD Series Total: England87-61 West Indies, England75-71 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.
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).
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
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 biaswe 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 Notessection, 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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 difficulties, 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.
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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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.
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.
T20 World Cup – Remember The Name
Women’s World Cup 2017, WT20 2020 – 86,000 spectators
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USA Cricket —two terms that do not go together, BUT did you know:
The first international cricket match was played between the United Statesof America and Canada way back in 1844?
In fact, it was the first modern international sports match. That’s right. Even before the first official Ashes Test match between England and Australia in 1877, and before the first international soccer game between England and Scotland in 1872.
Interesting piece of trivia, isn’t it?
Cricket was played in the US for several decades after independence from Great Britain with Philadelphia as its major center. Even George Washington is said to have played a game of cricket at Valley Forge.
Well, cricket in the US has been downhill ever since. After the Civil War in 1865, cricket lost its steam in the U.S. By the time World War I ended, the decline was complete with baseball & The World Series taking over. The detail history of Cricket in the United States can be found here from USA cricket’s website. Quite fascinating actually. Anyway…
Today we will discuss:
Recent developments that have suddenly propelled USA Cricket in the news.
Status of cricket in America & Major League Cricket.
The Money Factor: Sports business & major leagues in US—NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
The Broken Dream: Leagues that have failed in America
Where I think USA cricket will go and how you can participate & watch the games.
Fasten on your seatbelts! Here we go – will answer all your questions on the way!
(But before we go ahead, click on the “JOIN US FOR FREE” button 👇 for more such articles!)
Note: Videos are linked & bolded. Sources & Articles are just linked.
1. Recent Development: Heavy Investments In USA Cricket
Recently USA Cricket has been in the news for various reasons.
AirHogs stadium, a former minor league baseball stadium, in Grand Prairie, Texas (outskirts of Dallas) is being converted to a cricket stadium. It has support and funding from the local authorities as well as USA cricket.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, and other high profile names interested in investing in Major League Cricket, a $1 billion investment.
Ex-cricketers from other nations recruited. South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand internationals Dane Piedt, Sami Aslam, and Corey Anderson respectively have already confirmed their moves (retirement from home country and signing of a 3 year Major League Cricket deal), while World Cup winner Liam Plunkett and other South African expatriates are targeted.
Major League Cricket is right around the corner! MLC will launch between July 13-30 in Dallas, Texas.
In order to understand prospect of cricket in America, we first need to understand where Team USA sits in the cricket world rankings.
ICC* Cricket rankings consists of (1) Full Members and (2) Associate Members. As of 2019, 12 countries had Full Member status while 92 were Associate Members. The 12 full members consists of (mostly) former British colonies:
Australia (Aus), New Zealand (NZ), India (Ind), England (Eng), Sri Lanka (SL), South Africa (SA), Pakistan (Pak), West Indies (WI), Bangladesh (Ban), Zimbabwe (Zim), Ireland (Ire), & Afghanistan (Afg).
*ICC – International Cricket Council
USA Cricket – The Administration
After the decline of US cricket in the 20th century, USA Cricket Association (USACA) was created in 1965 as an Associate Member. For the next few decades, USA hovered around qualification tournaments, even qualifying for the 2004 Champions Trophy. However, the downhill spiral started once again, and the organization was expelled in 2017 due to financial and administrative trouble.
Under a new governing body, USA Cricket (USAC), the US was finally re-inducted as a new Associate member 2019. The progress continued as US achieved ODI status after qualifying for World Cup League Division 2.
It looks like USA Cricket has finally found its feet after years of turmoil.
Rankings: 19/20 (ODI), 34/104* (T20I)
Current Captain: Saurabh Netravalkar (replaced Ibrahim Khaleel, ex Indian first class player)
Newly Prominent Recruited Players: Xavier Marshall (WI) Rusty Theron (SA), Dane Piedt (SA), Corey Anderson (NZ), Sami Aslam (Pak)
Players With CPL* Experience: Hayden Walsh Jr. (now plays for West Indies), Ali Khan (Also selected for the IPL*), Cameron Gannon (BBL), Steven Taylor (ex USA captain), Timroy Allen, Nikhil Dutta, Jasdeep Singh
*Note, in April 2018, all 104 cricket nations were granted T20 International status.
*CPL – Caribbean Premier League, IPL – Indian Premier League, BBL – Big Bash League (Australia)
The goal? Make cricket a mainstream sport in the United States and become an ICC Full Member by 2030.
Other goals in the foundational plan includes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, and (4) women’s cricket. In addition, USAC plans to bid for international tournaments hosting starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (Even the ICC has started pitch for cricket in Olympics with the 2022 Commonwealth Games).
Here is their 2020 progress report – Zonal Trials, Umpire Training, and in 2021, even a national softball tournament?
Currently the structure is semi-professional but growing in the right direction. According to USA Cricket, the selection route to the national team involves “Regional Combines, Zonal High Performance Programs, and National Training Camps,” with regional and national championships planned in future years.
In the club circuit, there are several tournaments such as Leather Ball Cricket (T20, T30, T40) along with tape-ball (indoor) and tennis ball cricket. Other tournaments like the recently concluded US Open T20 tournament, which included stars like Chris Gayle and Rayad Emrit, have also been organized by independent organizations like Cricket Council USA.
The Airhogs stadium will be the second professional cricket stadium in the US after Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Here is a list of the major cricket stadiums and facilities in the US:
Central Broward Regional Park: Lauderdale, Florida, $70 million (ICC certified international quality)
Hosted 10 T20 internationals (SL, NZ, WI, Ind, Bang), several CPL matches, World Cricket League Division 2 (USA, Namibia, Papua New Guinea), American College Cricket (ACC) finals
AirHogs Stadium: Grand Prairer, Texas (under renovation – to become international quality)
Indianapolis World Sports Park: Indianapolis, Indiana, $5.1 million (2014 – multipurpose)
USA Cricket has partnered with the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), who invested $1 billion in Major League Cricket (MLC).
The vision is to create a 6-team world-class T20 tournament with the best USA and international talent, starting in 2022. According to the Major League Cricket organizers, “MLC is developing cricketing infrastructure including international quality stadiums, elite youth academies, and high-grade training facilities.” Here are the details:
Teams: San Francisco, Los Angeles (Western Conference), Dallas, Chicago (Central Conference), New York (Eastern Conference), Atlanta (Southern Conference)
Academies: Investment in youth academies like the Willow Academy (San Francisco/Seattle). Currently there are 2 indoor facilities, 6 grounds, and over 500 students enrolled.
Minor League: A precursor to the Major League will be the Minor League Cricket, beginning in 2021. It is a development league that would feed into Major League. In the 2020 Minor League Exhibition tournament featured 24 teams & 155 matches.
Sponsors/TV Rights: Apart from Nadella, former CTO of Facebook & Dropbox, CEO of Adobe have also pitched in. ACE has a partnership with Willow TV and the Times of India Group. A full list of sponsors can be found here.
Now that we have demystified cricket in America to you, let us answer the real question:
Can Major League Cricket survive in America? Can cricket capture the imagination in the USA?
*Baseball fans, new to cricket? Check this blog by CricAmerica – explains cricket via baseball terms
According to Forbes, Sal Galatioto states, “There is no lack of multi-billionaires that want to get into the sports business right now.” If there was a place to invest in sports right now, it is the United States.
America has a vibrant sporting culture. USA dominates the Summer Olympics with 2,523 total medals, including 1,022 gold and not far behind in the Winter Olympics with 305 total medals (105 gold). Golf, tennis, boxing, NASCAR, and several other sports have a safe space in the U.S. market.
For Major League Cricket to prosper, we have to look at templates of other leagues in America. We will restrict our analysis to the Big 5 leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
In Forbes’ top 50 most valuable teams, only 7 teams are non-American. NFL’s Dallas Cowboys tops the list and has 27 teams in the top 50, NBA has 9 teams, 7 for MLB, and none for NHL or MLS.
The first non-American team is at #6 with Real Madrid, valued at $4.24 billion. Barcelona is at #8 valued at $4.02 billion. There are 5 other soccer teams in the list with teams from La Liga, English Premier League, and Bundesliga making the cut.
No cricket league makes the Forbes’ list, but for comparison, Indian Premium League (IPL), the most popular cricket league, is valued around $5 billion with an average annual player salary of $5.3 million, only behind the NBA.
BUT guess what? Dallas Cowboys are worth $5.5 billion, more than the entire IPL.
National Football League (NFL)
Year Founded: 1920
Teams/Matches Per Season: 32 – 267 matches
Average Attendance: 67, 100 (2019)
Total Revenue/TV Viewership : $16.9 billion (2019)
Most Valuable Team: Dallas Cowboys: $5.5 billion (value) – #1 Most Valuable in the World
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 16.6 million
TV Rights: $4.52 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary:$3.26 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: American football is, by far, the most popular sport in the U.S dominating viewership, TV rights, and money generated. Football is widely followed at all levels—high school, NCAA football, and NFL. The NFL season begins around September and culminates in February with the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event of the year with the iconic Super Bowl adsand Halftime Shows. From Friday night high school games to Sunday night NFL, football is imbued in the American culture. The impact of American football is far reaching through growth in local businesses, restaurants, and bars on game nights.
Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 teams (29 US, 1 Canada) – 1312 matches
Average Attendance: 17,857 (2019)
Total Revenue: $8.8 billion (2018)
Most Valuable Team: New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 7.3 million
TV Rights: $3.12 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $8.32 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: After American football, basketball is the most popular sport in the United States across and also followed across different levels. The NBA season runs from October to June culminating in the widely watched NBA Finals. The most easily accessible sport, pick-up backyard games is a common summer activity. Culturally, around 80% of NBA players are African Americans, producing legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.
Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 (29 US, 1 Canada) -2467 matches
Average Attendance: 28,180 (2019)
Total Revenue: $10.37 billion (2019)
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 4 million
Most Valuable Team: New York Yankees: $5 billion
TV Rights: $1.65 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $4.03 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: Baseball is considered to be America’s national pastime. Since MLB is the oldest professional sports league in the US, baseball enjoys a rich history, culture, and lifelong fans. However, according to several surveys and the New York Times, the popularity in baseball has vastly decreased for the past decade. Certainly, football has taken over nationally in TV coverage and fan following. Yet, baseball is still alive since it provides a ‘social experience’ due to the presence of local Minor/Major League teams in most cities. The sport has also provided several iconic players over time such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Micky Mantle.
Teams: 31 (24 US, 7 Canada)/extends to 32 teams in 2021 – 1358 matches
Average Attendance: 17,380 (2019)
Total Revenue: $5.1 billion (2019)
Most Valuable Team: New York Rangers: $1.65 billion
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 1.6 million
TV Rights: $220 million (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $2.69 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: Ice Hockey (aka hockey) also enjoys mild support in the United States, especially in the midwestern and northern regions. With several teams from Canada and stars like Wayne Gretzky, the NHL continues to prosper and grow. The US and Canada are two of the best six international teams and they are usually contenders in the Winter Olympics.
Cultural Impact: Soccer is a relatively recent major sport in the United States. The precursor to MLS was the North American Soccer League (1968-84) attracting the likes of legends like Pelé. After its decline, hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup boosted soccer into the American mainstream. The USA Women’s Soccer Team, the most successful women’s team, has further established its hold in the US, winning 4 World Cup titles and 4 Olympic Golds. Although soccer is not as popular as the other sports, it has created a space for itself and is growing in school and collegiate levels.
4. The Broken Dreams: Leagues That Failed in America
All that glitters is not gold.
Now that you have seen the possibilities and money involved, let us bring you back to Earth. Not all leagues in the United States succeeded. In fact, most of them failed.
Cricket fans, think of these competitive ventures along the lines of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (1977-79), Stanford 20/20 (2006-08), or the Indian Cricket League (2007-09). Here is just a small list.
Competitors to the Big 5
Even before the Big 5 Leagues succeeded, there were several precursors or competitors that failed.
NBA: American Basketball League (1961-62), American Basketball Association (1967-76), Slamball (2002-08)
MLB: Senior Professional Baseball Association (1989-90) – for retired stars
NHL: World Hockey Association (1971-79), Roller Hockey International (1993-1999)
MLS: North American Soccer League (1968-1984)
America is a land of creativity, but sometimes a little too much creativity can be dangerous as the XFL, Slamball, and Senior Baseball League shows.
It is all about American football. For high profile NFL competitors, we will need its own section.
United States Football League (1982-85): Football in Spring/Summer season (feat Donald Trump)
Alliance of American Football (2018-19): $100 million invested – lost $88 million
XFL (2001): Directly competitor to NFL – $ 70 million loss (courtesy WWE’s Vince McMahon) – may return in 2022
NFL Europe(1991-2007): Spread Football to Europe? Lost around $30 million/year
Arena Football (1987-2009): Internal football league – successful 2 decades but declined eventually
Other Serious Ventures
Here are some other niche sports that did not go far in their first attempt.
Rugby: Pro Rugby League (2015-17)
Lacrosse: National Lacrosse League (1974-75), American Lacrosse League (1988)
Ultimate Frisbee: Major League Ultimate (2013-16)
Several women leagues have been launched post successful Olympics/World Cup campaigns.
Volleyball: Major League Volleyball (1987-89), United States Professional Volleyball League (2003)
Soccer: Women’s United Soccer Association (2000-03) – post US Women’s 1999 FIFA WC victory, Lost around $100 million
Baseball: All-American Girls Professional Baseball Association (1943-1954)
In conclusion here, money can’t buy you happiness, can it? More investment—Higher the prospects, but deeper the fall.
What’s more? MLC is not the first attempt to get cricket into Americans.
Pro Cricket League (2004): 8 team T20 competition with stars like Ajay Jadeja & Daren Ganga. Did not see the light of a 2nd season
American Premier League (2009): 6 international teams & partnership with NZ cricket with matches in New York, but it fell through before materializing
American National Championship (2014) – The Indianapolis World Park stadium was created for this reason with a 3 year deal and public support. Also failed to materialize
Cricket All Stars (2015): Sachin Tendulkar XI vs Shane Warne XI held in baseball stadiums across NYC, Houston, and LA. Team made up of retired stars. It was fun when it lasted but they never returned for another series as originally planned.
Although these attempts failed, Major League Cricket gives different vibes. This time things feel different. T20 leagues in the world have stabilized, more & more cricketers are abandoning national duty and becoming T20 mercenaries, and the expatriate population in the U.S. is growing.
In all reality, Major League Cricket will most likely not go the way of the NFL and NBA, but it might not crash like the XFL or USFL. Smaller leagues have created their own niche and survived, without TV rights and mainstream media.
Here are professional sports league in the US with recent average attendance.
Women’s National Basketball Association (1997-): 6,535
Major League Lacrosse(2001-): 3,844
National Women’s Soccer League(2013-): 7,337
Major League Rugby(2018-): 4,125
Note: Other leagues include National Women’s Hockey League, National Lacrosse League, and Major Arena Soccer League, etc.
ICC Americas: The CPL & Global T20 Canada Model
With the ICC Americas initiative, West Indies cricket has been supportive of USA cricket.
The CPL franchises now reserve some spots for American players and increase exposure, while Florida also hosts some of WI & CPL matches in Florida. Yet the numbers have been decreasing – 6 CPL games in 2016, 4 & 3 in the next two years, and none after 2018.
In 2018, a fairly successful 6-team Global T20 Canada was launched. Each team had an array of international stars such as JP Duminy, Andre Russell, and Imrah Tahir interspersed with Canadian and American players. For the first edition, 5 teams & a ‘West Indies B’ team took part, which could be an interesting idea for USA Cricket to adopt.
Fun Fact: Brendon McCullum’s last game in any type of cricket was the 2019 Global T20 Canada league.
The Cricket World Cup – A Far Fetched Dream?
Yet, even if MLC succeeds, it does not guarantee Full Membership and ICC funding.
The Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and qualification for the CWC is a major goal for the Associate nations, but it has gotten harder recently.
With the new 10-team World Cup Format and ODI Super League, the top 7 ranked teams & hosts qualify directly, while two teams compete in a 10-team qualifying tournament. With the likes of competitive teams like Netherlands, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, and Nepal, it will be hard for the USA Cricket Team to beat these teams, let alone the Full Members.
The T20 World Cup may be more compelling with 16 possible teams, but with USA languishing at #34 right now, it is hard to fathom.
USA And China are the sleeping giants of world cricket.
For cricket fans around the world, the status of cricket in America is an anomaly. With immigrants from all around the world, surely a few of them can get together to make a decent team?
$20 Trillion economy, 330 million population, about 6 million immigrants from cricket playing nations, and the gradual decline of baseball, surely cricket in America is a possibility? It’s got to be!
What I Wish To Happen: The Afghanistan Model
The Afghanistan National Cricket Team is well-known for its rapid rise. In a war torn country, it became an Affiliate Member in 2001. Rising from Division 5, they qualified for the T20 World Cup in 2010, became an Associate Member in 2013, a Full Member in 2017, and have produced talents like Mohammad Nabi & Rashid Khan.
In my ideal scenario, the newly recruited international cricketers make the USA cricket team and climb up the ladder in qualification bid for the 2027 World Cup. The following year, Los Angeles hosts cricket at the 2028 Olympics. A few years later, say by 2036, USA hosts a T20 World Cup. Next thing you know, the MLC regularly starts attracting international stars, spectators increase, funding stabilizes and there you go, cricket established in the American market within 10-15 years.
What is Actually Going to Happen: The MLS Model
The issue with the Afghanistan Model is it already was a cricket crazy nation. USA is not.
The only template cricket has for a new sport to mix into the mainstream is soccer. After the NASL in 1968, it took the USA team 22 years to qualify for a World Cup in 1990, hosted the 1994 World Cup, and finally the MLS began in 1996. Women’s Soccer started to take shape in the late-1980s and won the 1999 World Cup, just 10 years later. It has taken a further 20 years for the sport to come in the public eye.
If cricket follows a similar model, the women USA team will qualify by 2030, USA men’s cricket team will qualify for the 2043 World Cup, host the 2047 World. By the team we hit 2050, cricket may finally come into the sports conversation. It may take a generation or two more for cricket to spread to each city, each grade level, and compete with the likes of American football, basketball, and baseball.
In any case, the money is here, the audience here. Let’s play.
Here are some resources from if you want to get involved in the growth of cricket in America. Rookie Leagues: Entry Level program for kids & youth. Officiating (umpires) & coaching resources as well. Player Registration: If you are interested in playing or trying out for the Minor League/Major League/ USA Cricket, fill out this application. What Is Cricket?: ICC’s short minute videos on the different aspects of cricket/rules. Nice 3 minutes high quality videos here to share ahead to your “Future Cricket Fans.” Here are some of the questions this article has answered along the way.
Is Cricket Popular In America?
Cricket is not yet a popular sport in America. Team sports is dominated by 5 major leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. Cricket is trying to break into the sports market with the inaugural Major League Cricket in 2022.
How Much Do USA Cricket Players make?
USA cricketers make around $70,000-$90,000 although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some budget cuts, which has impacted players salaries.
Is cricket growing in America?
Cricket is growing in America. USA cricket is investing in infrastructure and age-school cricket as well as high performance academies. USA Cricket’s foundational plan emphasizes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, (4) women’s cricket, and (5) hosting ICC events starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Why there is no cricket in USA?
American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, NASCAR, and other individual sports (Olympics) dominate the conversation. Hence, cricket has yet to break in, but it is growing in the right direction.
How many sports leagues are there in the US?
Sport in America is dominated by the Big 5 Leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the MLS. We have provided details on each of the leagues here – value, player salary, cultural impact, and much more!
Which sports league is the most valuable?
The NFL is the most valuable sports league with $16.9 billion. Dallas Cowboys itself is valued at $5.5 billion. The MLB comes next with $10.37 billion and the NBA with $8.8 billion.
Where can I watch cricket in America?
Cricket is available in the USA on Willow TV. Willow TV can be purchased directly on their website or with TV providers subscriptions like Sling TV.
Reflections of Passion by Yanni, what a beautiful composition. One of my all-time favorite pieces.
It evokes a variety of emotions, all at the same time. The music is playful, yet somber. Soothing, yet powerful. Beneath the passion and the joy, lies a subtle dose of grief and tension.
What is passion in the first place? According to Dictionary.com, passion is a
Strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.
Passion comes in all shapes and forms—it could be romantic, could be ambition to be the best and break barriers, or just a willingness to improve and prove to yourself that you are worth it.
Wait, wait, wait. You would be thinking, where or why is the cricket gone? Why am I talking about music and philosophy all of a sudden? Isn’t this IPL season?
Well, lately I have been reflecting about the relationship between a fan and the professional. Cricket is a game filled with passion – the fans, the players, and the administrators alike. The vision of a fan differs vastly from how the sportsperson plays his or her game.
Now, the idea of my own last article perturbed me a bit.
According to a fan’s point of view, we would like to have seen the journey of a few cricketers longer than they lasted, but do they see themselves as unlucky? I am not so sure.
We all want to be part of something greater than we are. Hence, we invest ourselves in the sport. Although the fans are part of the crowd, we want to be in the game, and we live our dreams through the players themselves. If our own favorite player does not play well, we feel bad ourselves deep down inside, as if we had failed.
So are we not being harsh on the player when calling them unlucky or criticizing them?
Anyway, the philosophy can wait for a little while. Stay tuned for the What Can We Learn? from these so-called unlucky cricketers section at the end of the article below.
Audience Poll Results – Top 3 Unluckiest
Before we jump into the moral of the story, here are the actual results of the poll we did on who our viewers thought were the unluckiest cricketers of the last few decades.
Honorable Mentions : Mohammad Ashraful, Shane Bond, Brad Hogg
Others: Alex Hales, Lendl Simmons, James Taylor, Hansie Cronje, Sreesanth
2. Test: Washed Out XI
Honorable Mention: Adam Voges
Others: Marcus Trescothick, Mark Ramprakash, Fawad Alam, Prasanna Jayawardene, Simon Harmer, Duanne Olivier, Stuart MacGill, Lasith Malinga
3. Twitter Poll
Where Are They Now?
While Fawad Alam finally made a hard fought comeback and players like Alex Hales, Mohammad Amir, and Lendl Simmons are still fighting for a spot in their national squads, we look back at how some of the former international cricketers are inspiring the next generation.
I. Marcus Trescothick and James Taylor
Marcus Trescothick was on track to be one of the all-time greatest openers and the best English batsman ever produced before he had to stop playing international cricket due to mental illness during the prime of his career.
What he did after his international career is itself awe-inspiring. He continued playing first class cricket for Somerset till the age of 43 and has been open in talking about his struggles, most prominently with his autobiography, Coming Back to Me. Lately, several cricketers like Jonathan Trott and Glenn Maxwell have come out in public with mental struggle of an international career, but it may not have been possible had Trescothick not paved the way.
James Tayor has also had a similar story. Talented young English cricketer but had to retire at the age of 26 because of a serious heart condition.
Did this stop Taylor from doing what he loves most? No, instead he carried on and stayed close to the game with the goal of giving back to English cricket. He is now a full-time selector and is frequently seen in the stands supporting the England cricket team. He also wrote an inspirational auto-biography, Cut Short.
II. Shane Bond, Mohammad Kaif, and Prasanna Jayawardene
Although Shane Bond’s career halted because of recurring injuries, he is having as much impact as a bowling coach now as he did when he was a fast-bowler for New Zealand. Most prominently, he was the bowling coach of NZ between 2012-2015, the period that saw the growth of this team especially mentoring Trent Boult and Tim Southee.Has also coached Mumbai Indians and Sydney Thunder.
Mohammad Kaif joined the Gujarat Lions assistant coach staff in 2017 (under coach Brad Hodge, another name on our list)and is now the assistant coach of Delhi Capitals under coach Ricky Ponting (they are doing quite well if you have not noticed). As one of the best fielders India produced, one of his areas of focus is to actively promote fitness.
Finally Prasanna Jayawardene, regarded as the best wicketkeeper of Sri Lanka, was recently hired by England as a wicket-keeping coach apart from coaching in Sri Lanka.
III. Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa
Both Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa have invested there post-cricketing careers in media and broadcasting like several other players. Although Uthappa is currently representing Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, he has already done a few shows at Cricbuzz. Another way Robin Uthappa has been contributing is mentoring and supporting school-age cricketers.
Brad Hogg is one of the more familiar faces in commentary recently with stints in the IPL, Big Bash, and all over the place. Just look at his Linkedin.
So, What Can We Learn?
This was just a small list we picked from. There are numerous such unsung heroes in our sport.
So looking back, were these cricketers really unlucky? Did they really disappoint? On the contrary, their journey has been just as valuable as someone who has played a 100 Tests.
They may be regarded as “unlucky” in their own cricketing careers for one reason or another, but they may become the source of inspiration, the hand of the support, the “lucky” person someone else needs.
We know the scientific axiom that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed. Similarly, passion never dies. The love of the game just transforms.
You can take a cricketer out of cricket, but can never take out cricket from a cricketer. Even if Kaif can inspire one person to live a more fit lifestyle or if Bond discovers the next fast bowler, they have still contributed to the game immensely.
Ups and Downs, success and failure will occur. That is just natural.
The important thing is to remain not-outand go to the next part of the journey.
So you should never give up and keep whatever you are doing. Just stay in the game.
The journey is more important than the destination. Regardless of what happens out there in the middle, the fact that they have given their all is what matters. I hope all these players keep on contributing to world of cricket in one form or the other and continue their journey.
They have all inspired me. Even if you inspire one person, it has been a journey worth living. After all is said and done, with all your shattered and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world out there.
Image Courtesy: Mark Ramprakash – Onewhohelps at English Wikipedia / via CC 3.0; Mohammad Ashraful – Nurunnaby Chowdhury (Hasive) / CC BY-SA 4.0; Stuart MacGill – paddynapper / CC BY-SA 2.0; Yanni / CC BY-SA 2.0; Alex Hales – Amal316 / CC BY-SA 4.0; Shane Bond – Benchill / CC BY-SA 3.0; Marcus Trescothick – SGGH at English Wikipedia / Public domain;
Today, we will be doing our first cricket interview at Broken Cricket Dreams! We have with us here Avinash, who is fulfilling his own broken cricket dream in the United States.
Avinash grew up playing cricket in his hometown of Hyderabad at various levels up till the undergraduate level, where he pursued a degree in aeronautical engineering. He then moved to the United States of America for his master’s degree. Even though he is far away from his home in India, he is one of many who have continued their passion for cricket in the U.S. He has since represented Iowa State University and the DSM Vikings Cricket Club and competed in tournaments such as the American College Cricket League, Heartland Cricket League, and Iowa Premier League.
Let us get to know the person and his journey of playing cricket.
The Who– Avinash
Batting Style: Right Hand Batsman
Batting Position: Top-Order
Bowling Style: Right Arm Medium-Fast
Fielding Position: Point, Long-Off/Long-On
Major Teams: Iowa State University (ISU) Cyclones, DSM Vikings Cricket Club, Young Guns
Favorite Sportsperson: Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli (Cricket), David Montgomery (NFL), Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney (soccer), Michael Schumacher (F1), Sania Mirza (Tennis)
Favorite Shot: “Straight Drive and Leg-Glance. I can play the leg-glance with my eyes closed.”
Favorite fielding play:“Love to pick the ball one-handed and throw.”
Q1. What was your first memory of playing cricket?
“My cousin was a Division A player in the Hyderabad domestic circuit. Whenever we visited his house, there were cricket kits, bats, and pads all around their house. As a kid, I liked to wear the cricket kit and shadow playing cricket shots.
I have watched several of his matches, and it inspired me to pick up the sport.”
Q2. What were your favorite memories of watching cricket in your childhood?
“I just remember waking up at 5 AM for any cricket game in my childhood. There were several memorable games, but the 2003 India vs Pakistan game was one of the best.
“I was present when Tendulkar hit 175* at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium but unfortunately had to leave before the ending. Other than that, I have watched a couple of test matches there against New Zealand and Australia along with a few IPL games.
My favorite IPL memories was witnessing the pace of Brett Lee at the Somerset vs KKR 2011 CLT20 game and watching Rahul Dravid in the RR vs SRH game.”
The When – Early Days
Q4. When did you start playing cricket?
“I first started playing cricket for around 2nd or 3rd grade, but the real practice I had when I played everyday with two of my friends on the terrace of my house. It helped to develop my ground shots and playing in the V.
It was fun, there was a lot of banter, and whoever would win would be treated to pani-puris to top it off.“
Q5. When did you start believing your ability could meet your passion?
“From 10th grade. It was the first time I was playing in a leather ball match and went to open in a 15-over game. I stayed there till the end and got out as the 9th batsman in the 12th over. After that, the next couple of years, I played a lot of cricket, especially tennis-ball cricket.
In my bachelor’s years, I would play with people who would come from across the city every Sunday 7 AM-noon. There were so many people, we had to create 12-13 member teams.
My parents used to say that I had a hard time waking up for my classes, but to play cricket, I would wake up anytime—even at 6 AM on a Sunday morning.”
Q6. How was the college cricket scene at your university?
“In the last couple of years of my bachelor’s, the matches were really competitive and fun. From February-April, it was basically a cricket fest out there.“
“Our aerospace department had a very good team, and the highlight was winning the Intra-College championships in my 3rd and 4th year.“
Q7. Do you have any stories from playing during your college days?
“Actually, the final match of the 3rd year championship was very interesting. There was sledging throughout the match but after we won, the situation got out of control. The opposition team broke our winning huddle with a full-on fight.
Next year, we were prepared and brought officials to the game, but this time, the other team had learned the lesson and walked off quietly after losing.”
Q8. Best performance?
“The 3rd-4th year, I had some really good matches. In the 4th year final, I came to bat early and stayed till the end. When the final ball was bowled, I ran three and was completely exhausted.
I did not realize this but my teammates started cheering from the pavilion that I had just made 50. My career in India ended with an unbeaten 50, so that was nice.”
The What – College Cricket in America
Before we get into Avinash’s own cricket journey in the U.S., let us learn some things about the cricket structure in America in his words.
Q9. At what levels have you played cricket in the U.S.?
“I played at the university level at Iowa State University between 2014-18, and for the last two years, I have played with the DSM Vikings Club.
The Iowa State team was one of the most diverse teams I have ever played in. There were people from India, England, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.“
Q10. How many different types of tournaments are at the college and club level?
“Tape-Tennis (Indoor), Tennis-ball cricket (Outside), Leather-Ball cricket: T20, T30, T40. My favorite is T30. Gives me time to settle down and score.”
Q11. What are some tournaments you have participated in college cricket?
“Iowa State Premier League (ISPL), Midwest League and the American College Cricket League in Florida with ISU and Heartland Cricket League with Vikings club.”
American College Cricket League is a national tournament with about 32-36 teams that compete in Florida. I competed in this league for a couple of years, and we even got to play at the Ft. Lauderdale stadium, where West Indies have played some international games.
The ISPL was also pretty interesting. There were 8 teams made of 5 ISU students, 1 professors XI, and 2 guest teams. For the 5 student teams, team selection was based on virtual bidding.“
The Now – The Journey in America
Q12. First Match in the U.S.?
“First official match in U.S. was Iowa State in a leather ball game – ISU Cyclones vs Cedar Rapids Kings at Seminole Valley Park. Scored 14 runs and ran-out my teammate.”
Q13. Best Moments?
“With Iowa State, I was a part of a team that won 3 back-to-back championships 2015-2017. In that team, I had to bat lower down the order since everyone was just so good.After 2017, I moved to the middle order, and the last two years, I have been playing 1 Down with the Vikings.
A fun moment was in 2015, when I was fielding in the slips, and we did ‘proper dignified sledging’ to the opposing captain, who was batting then. A few balls later, he did a ‘well left’ and got clean bowled.
Personally, the 2018 T20 Challenger’s cup and the 2019 T20 season was my best. Given my gameplay, I am not someone who is expected to hit six sixes, but in one match I hit a fast bowler 6,6,2,4,1 that season.”
Q14. Lowest Moments?
“Lowest moments are always when I get out, especially when I am playing well.
But exactly a year ago today, September 7, 2019, I suffered a finger injury in the final of the tournament and could not bat for the team.
Earlier in the season, our team won the T20 league. We won all the games convincingly and hardly anyone below 2-down had a chance to bat. In the T30 tournament, I was one of the more experienced batsman in the team, being the 3rd most capped in leather ball cricket.
Finger injury ruled me out of the rest of the game, and our team fell short of 30 runs.“
Q15. Any other activities you were involved with cricket?
“I was involved as the Secretary in our Cricket Committee at Iowa State and got the experience to publicize cricket through various events like ClubFest at Iowa State University.”
The Wow – Reflection
Q16. Reflection on Cricket in the U.S.?
“The quality of cricket here is way better than expected where cricket is still an evolving sport, especially universities. Every city you will find at least 100 such people like me who want to play professional cricket.
Also, there is a lot of diversity in the cricketers here. Apart from the subcontinent, I have played with people from England, South Africa, the Caribbean islands and Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan to name a few.”
Q17. How has cricket helped you?
“Cricket has helped me both professionally and personally. My circle has increased because of it, and there are several networking opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier, cricket has helped me culturally, meeting people with various backgrounds. I have also got to travel to several places like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Michigan, Omaha, and at the Central Boulevard Park (Ft. Lauderdale).”
Q18. What have you learned from cricket?
“I have learned to stay calm. When you are calm, you have a lot of ideas. When you become aggressive, you run out ideas.”
“You get lots of suggestion coming around when you are on the field. You have to choose what to pick. It is easier to comment than to execute.”
Q19. Cricketing heroes and what you have learned from them?
“Ganguly – captaincy/leadership, Dravid – concentration/patience, Tendulkar – champion – there is nobody like him”
The Zow – Broken Cricket Dream?
Q20. What is your broken cricket dream?
“I was never coached. If I would have been coached, it would have taken things to another level. If I were in India, I would also have continued.”
Q21. Broken Cricket Dream as a fan?
“As an Indian cricket fan, 2003, 2007, and 2019 World Cups along with the 2017 Champions Trophy. The 2003 Final was so one-sided after such a great run.”
Q22. Any final thoughts on your dream lived?
“I could not imagine what I have done had I not played cricket all these years. My master’s would be something else, a completely different experience.”
Q23. How long will you continue to play cricket?
“As long as possible. Several 44-45 year olds play in the leagues here, so still have at least 15-16 years.”
Q24. Any advice for budding cricketers in the U.S.?
“If you want to pursue full-time, stay in warmer states so can play year-long. There are indoor facilities in some of the bigger cities like Chicago, but playing year-long outdoors is always better.”
Q25. Final question—Favorite IPL Team for 2020?
“SRH and RCB.”
Well, let us thank Avinash for doing this interview and sharing his journey with us. Please share, subscribe, and comment below on your own cricket dreams and experiences.
Also, to learn more about cricket in the U.S., check out the sources linked below! We will leave you with some more pictures of Avinash’s cricket journey.
Rahul Dravid, the Wall as he is affectionately known, has been my cricketing hero—my role model for as long as I can remember.
My favorite memory of the great Indian legend—Rahul Dravid, was when he carried his bat in England at The Oval. In that series, when all the chips were down, he fought for the team until the very end.
At the end of his career, it was a reminder of what he stood for. Today I discuss my favorite Rahul Dravid memories and what he taught me.
My First Memory of Rahul Dravid
My first memory of watching cricket was Dravid’s roar and fist celebration in that famous 2003 Adelaide victory with a trademark square cut to Stuart MacGill after scoring 233 and 72*. Early next year, the 2004 ODI series versus Pakistan sealed my love for cricket and my awe for the dashing wicket-keeper batsman with sunglasses, as his image was in those days.
Before we get into the philosophy, let us get the stats out of the way.
164 Test Matches and 344 ODIs, 48 international centuries, a 17 year international career, over 10,000 runs in each format
Holds the world record for the most number of catches in Test matches
Most balls played in a Test career (31,258)
Indian Team captain (Led them to first Test victory in South Africa along with series victories in West Indies and England. Also was the captain during India’s 2007 World Cup).
Holds the Test record for most number of runs in a partnerships (6921 with Sachin Tendulkar)
With VVS Laxman, Dravid shared a 376-run partnership (2001) & 303-run partnership (2003), both vs Australia
Dravid in England
In England, his record even more stellar:
Dravid’s first international match was a Test match in Lord’s against England, where he made 95, missing his century by just five runs (He would eventually get on the Lord’s Honours Boards fifteen years later in 2011).
Twice Man of the Series (with 3 tons each) – 2002 and 2011
Test series win as a captain – 2007
On the other end of the spectrum in limited overs cricket:
After Dravid retired as a player, he tried commentary and coaching. Well, the commentary stint did not last that long. As a coach, Dravid took over as a player-mentor with the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 and later with the Delhi Daredevils.
The Under-19 & NCA Stint
National recognition in the coaching setup came when Dravid was selected as the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and the Under-19/A Teams. This is where Rahul Dravid had the most success as a coach. Training the next generation of Indian cricketers, helping them technically & mentally, and giving them confidence was what India needed at the time. Additionally, setting up A tours paid India dividends with the future overseas Test victories.
The rise of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw & the contributions of Shardul Thakur & Washington Thakur in the historic Gabba Test could be traced back to this stint.
After India crashed from defeat in the first round of the 2021 T20 World Cup, Dravid was handed over the reins as the coach of the national side. Rohit Sharma replaced Virat Kohli as captain.
During the year, several players were given opportunities, a change of mindset was promised and even delivered. However, inconsistency in selection, multiple captains, overkill of cricket, injuries, & inability to play modern-day T20 cricket meant India crashed out in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal against England.
So, how can we judge Dravid’s coaching career so far? Not great, not bad, somewhere in the middle. Sort of like his captaincy career.
Numbers aside, it was how he carried himself on and off the field that shone through. Whether it was the ability to contribute to victories in tough overseas conditions, the consistency throughout his career, or the adaptability to suit the needs of the team, Dravid was always there. Opening the batting, donning the gloves to accommodate an extra batsman, stepping away for the youngsters in the 2007 T20 World Cup, and even bowling handy off-spin, he was a perfect team player.
Navjot Singh Sidhu summarized it perfectly, “Rahul Dravid is a player who would walk on broken glass if his team asks him to.”
Even in tough phases of his career, examples of perseverance and resilience were aplenty, like his 40-ball stay for a single against Australia. During days of batting collapses, or in the case of the 2011 tour of England- an entire series of collapses, we could depend on him. Grinding opposition bowlers down, building partnerships after partnerships, and staying in the game were his forte. For the highlight reels, his innings may not be the most flamboyant, but probably the most essential. As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Off the field, mentoring youngsters in the U-19, India A, or the IPL, delivering the Don Bradman Oration lecture, being an example of Fair Play as Rajasthan Royals’ captain, and avoiding controversies, Dravid’s genuine and graceful demeanor complemented his skills on the ground.
The combination of perseverance and resilience, determination and discipline, as well as humility and team-before-self attitude — that is what Rahul Dravid has taught me.
What We Can Learn from Rahul Dravid?
Challenges will come throughout life, but as long as we have the determination to face and overcome the obstacles, things will be get better. Giving up is not an option, but improving is. We should always strive for excellence without sacrificing morals. Even if we do succeed in achieving our goals once or twice, that is not enough. Being consistent with the process, adapting with time, repeating the good and learning from the bad, that is what matters. In the long run, the results do not matter as much as the journey. Finally, regardless if we are a member of a company, a leadership group, a sports team, or a band, interests of the team always outweigh individual glory.
These lessons can be applied to any aspect of life, not just cricket, and that for me is why Rahul Dravid is my cricketing role model.
I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes on Rahul Dravid:
“If you really want to see aggression, look into Dravid’s eyes”—Matthew Hayden
“The wolf who lived for the pack” — Harsha Bhogle
“If you can’t get along with Dravid, you’re struggling in life”—Brett Lee
Rahul Dravid – Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Rahul Dravid?
Rahul Dravid was an Indian cricketer and is Team India’s current men’s head coach. From 1996-2013, he was India’s top batters. He is arguably India’s Best #3 batter, scored in numerous important overseas victories, and served as India’s captain.
What is the middle name of Rahul Dravid?
Rahul Dravid’s middle name is Sharad. His full name is Rahul Sharad Dravid.
When did Rahul Dravid retire?
Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket in 2013. He retired from T20Is and ODIs in the horror series against England in 2011. He continued to play Test cricket, but retired after the tour of Australia in the next year. Finally, Rahul Dravid retired from T20 league after Champions League 2014, when he captained the Rajasthan Royals.
Why is Rahul Dravid called the Wall?
Rahul Dravid is called the ‘Wall’ due to his ability to survive tough sessions for long periods. Dravid has been the architect of several of India’s key overseas victories – Headingly 2002, Adelaide 2013, Rawalpindi 2004, Kingston 2006, and the disastrous England tour of 2011 (where India lost 0-4). Overall, Rahul Dravid faced 31,258 balls in Test cricket, more than any cricketer in history.
How many balls did Rahul Dravid play in international cricket?
Rahul Dravid played a mammoth total of 46,591 balls in international cricket (31,285 Test, 15,285 ODI, and 21 T20I)
Which IPL teams did Rahul Dravid play for?
Rahul Dravid played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2008-2010 and the Rajasthan Royals from 2011-2014.
Did Rahul Dravid play for Scotland?
Yes, Rahul Dravid represented Scotland as an overseas player. He played for Scotland in the national Cricket League against teams like Hampshire, Scotland, Lancashire, etc.
What are Rahul Dravid’s nicknames?
Dravid has had a couple of nicknames, The Wall and Jammy.
Also Read: If enjoyed reading this article, enjoy the others from Life Lessons category and Cricketing Heroeslinked below.