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83 Movie Review – Does the Film Do Justice to India’s Unlikely Dream 1983 World Cup Journey?

83 Movie Review – The much-anticipated Bollywood film on India’s unlikely 1983 World Cup victory has hit the theaters.

Watch it or Skip It? Here is my 83 movie review. Comment on what you thought of the movie. Below my Verdict, you will see India’s 1983 match scorecards, highlights of the semi-finals and finals, interviews, and the trailer/clips from the movie.

Also Read: Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans

Table of Contents

  1. 83 Movie Cast
  2. 83 Movie Detail & Information
  3. 83 Movie Review – The Summary
  4. 83 Movie Review – The Performances
  5. 83 Movie Review – The Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?
  6. The Most Consequential Underdog Story Ever?
  7. 1983 World Cup India’s Scorecards
  8. Team India’s Statistics at the 1983 Prudential World Cup
    1. Batting – Most Runs
    2. Bowling – Most Wickets
    3. Fielding Most Catches
    4. Wicket Keeper – Dismissals
  9. 1983 World Cup Videos and 83 Movie Clips
    1. 83 Movie Review – Trailer and Clips
    2. 1983 World Cup Video Highlights, Interviews, and Documentaries
      1. Interviews
      2. Documentaries
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83 Movie Cast

  • Captain Kapil Dev (C) – Ranveer Singh; Romi Bhatia (wife) – Deepika Padukone; (Mother) – Neena Gupta
  • Sunil Gavaskar – Tahir Raj Bhasin; Pammie Gavaskar (wife) – Parvati Nair
  • Krishnamachari Srikkanth – Amar Choudary (Jiiva)
  • Dilip Vengsarkar – Adinath Kothare
  • Mohinder Amarnath – Saqib Saleem; Inderjith Bhardwaj (wife) – Aditi Arya
  • Yashpal Sharma – Jatin Sarna
  • Sandeep Patil – Chirag Patil (actual son)
  • Ravi Shastri – Dhairya Karwa
  • Madan Lal – Harrdy Sandhu; Annu Lal (wife) – Wamiqa Gabbi
  • Kirti Azad – Dinker Sharma
  • Roger Binny – Nishant Dahiya
  • Balwinder Sandhu – Ammy Virk
  • Syed Kirmani (WK) – Sahil Khattar
  • Sunil Valson – R Badree
  • PR Man Singh (Manager) – Pankaj Tripathi
  • Farokh Engineer (Commentator) – Boman Irani
  • Malcolm Marshall – Mali Marshall (Actual son)
  • David Firth (Journalist) – Simon Balfour
  • Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister) – Avantika Akerkar
  • Guest Appearances from Kapil Dev (spectator) & Mohinder Amarnath (as father Lala Amarnath)
  • Other characters include Mr. Wankhede, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Jeff Dujon, Indian army, little Sachin Tendulkar (and older brother)
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83 Movie Detail & Information

Release Date: 24 December, 2021

Director: Kabir Khan

Length: 2 hours, 42 minutes (162 minutes)

Genre: Sports Drama Film

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Where Can I Watch 83 movie? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions)

Where Can I Watch 83 movie?

The sports drama film, 83, is available on Netflix in different languages.
*This may vary by region.

Is there a 1983 film on India’s World Cup win?

Yes, Kabir Khan’s 83 depicts team India’s miraculous journey in the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

Which actors are part of 83 movie cast?

Ranveer Singh (as Kapil Dev), Tahir Raj Bhasin (Sunil Gavaskar), Saqib Saleem (Mohinder Amarnath), Dhairya Karva (Ravi Shastri), Deepika Padukone (Kapil Dev’s wife, Roma Bhatia), Neena Gupta (Dev’s mother), Jiva (Kris Srikkanth), and Pankaj Tripathi (PR Man Singh) are some of the prominent cast members of the movie, 83.

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83 Movie Review – The Summary

83 is unlike any sports drama out there. Rather, it is an extended highlight reel (which has been shot spectacularly well) of the 1983 World Cup from the point of view of the players sprinkled in with some inspirational music.

The movie begins with that Viv Richards’ shot in the 1983 World Cup Final. Madan Lal’s seemingly innocuous delivery, Richards attempted pull, Yashpal Sharma closing in, and captain Kapil Dev running towards and completing that catch.

The movie pivots back to the months prior to the World Cup, where the Indian cricket team receives the invitation to the 1983 Prudential World Cup and manager PR Man Singh starts his preparation for the tour.

The rest of the movie is set in England. 83’s theme revolves around doubt cast by the rest of the world on Kapil Dev’s team and how they overcame it. The Indian cricket board, MCC officials, English journalist David Firth, Indian journalists, Indian fans, the commentators, and even some of the players themselves—none of them gave Team India a chance.

In order to NOT spoil the movie for you, I am not going to go in the details but let me lay out the general idea.

The rest of the movie basically dives into each and every fixture for India in the World Cup—What happened between each match, the conversations in the dressing room and net practices, the shenanigans in the hotel or bus during downtime, cultural influence back home, support from wives and family, and finally, the tension in the match itself. The direction of Kapil Dev’s 175* is the best moment of the movie, giving life to an innings uncovered due to BBC’s strike.

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83 Movie Review – The Performances

Special mentions to the acting performances.

Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of captain Kapil Dev is spot on with accurate bowling action, accent, and leadership moments. Another character who is central to the movie is Pankaj Tripathi as PR Man Singh. He is the glue that keeps the movie together.

With Ranveer Singh highlighting the show, I had an underlying fear that he would overshadow the rest of the characters.

This could not have been farther from the truth as each actor came into his own just like each of the actual players coming to the party in the 83 WC. Ammy Virk (Sandhu) and Jiiva’s (Srikkanth) comic timing, Jatin Sarna’s (Sharma) fluency, and Tahir Raj Bhasin’s embodiment as Sunil Gavaskar with his subdued demeanor add immense value to the movie.

Even though they do not get as much screen time, Saqib Saleem (as Amarnath) and Nishant Dahiya (Roger Binny) shine and provide the best moments in the film while portraying their vulnerable side. From Patil & Shastri to Kirmani & Sunil Valson, each character has been given due role.

Boman Irani’s (Farokh Engineer) commentary acts like the fourth wall, conveying the differences in perception between the rising Indian dressing room and the outside world.

The beauty of this movie is that halfway in the movie you will feel like you are watching the actual players and are hooked into the storyline.

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83 Movie Review – The Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?

Pros: Screenplay; Chemistry Between the Actors; Seamless Immersion of Real-Life Photos in the movie

Cons: Climax Ends Too Quickly (Not much focus on post-match speeches or the aftermath); Political References Interrupting flow of the World Cup

Verdict:

Is 83 the greatest sporting movie of all time? No, not even close.

Remember the Titans, the Rocky movies, Last Dance documentary, Moneyball, and Invictus all rank higher up that list. In terms of Bollywood, Chak de India, Lagaan, Iqbal, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are the golden standard.

Comparing 83 to any other sports movies would be an injustice. You see, there isn’t a rousing emotional speech in this one. There isn’t much background of players’ personal lives either like other stereotypical sport movies. The sole focus is on the couple of months preceding June 25th, 1983, and they do this exceedingly well.

The movie’s delivery is simple because Kapil Dev was a simple man.

The strength of 83 lies in the inside jokes and stories. We may have heard a few of them during the numerous interviews over the years, but 83 has breathed life into these characters on the big screen.

Credit to the writers of the movie for infusing little details like Keki Tarapore’s influence on Indian fast bowling and for illuminating on the aura of West Indian players at that time—Captain Clive Lloyd, Sir Vivian Richards, and the fast-bowling unit, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, and Malcolm Marshall.

If you are a cricket fan, this is a 5/5. You will enjoy each and every moment of this movie. If you are watching objectively from a film critic point of view, there is a little more left to be desired at the very end.

Don’t miss out on this gem.

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The Most Consequential Underdog Story Ever?

While it cannot be claimed that this is the single greatest underdog story in sporting history, it definitely ranks among the top. What India’s 1983 journey can claim is the Most Consequential Underdog story.

In 83, you will see that Team India came in with dire financial situation and zero expectations. The Indian cricket board facility looks archaic, allowance per day & food is at a bare minimum, the 83 WC is just a stopping point for a self-funded trip to Miami, and there is no respect from the cricketing world.

The only WC game India had won so far was against East Africa (1975), and they even lost to Sri Lanka in 1979, a team with no Test status back then (equivalent of USA defeating Ireland in today’s world).

Fast forward 30 years, the BCCI controls world cricket as a multi-billion-dollar governing body, depth of Indian cricket is unparalleled, cricket is central to India’s culture and economy, and the Indian Premier League, limitless sponsorships, world class facilities & coaches are a given.

India is at a great position today due to the efforts & hard work of these men in 1983. If there was ever a fairytale story to get inspiration from, this is it. Never lose hope despite outside noises. Keep believing – you never know, it might come true.

I will leave you with one final thought – What if India had NOT won the 1983 World Cup? What if Kapil Dev had dropped Richards? If Dev had failed to arrest the slide at 17–5, with the 175*, would we be playing the Zimbabwe Premier League today?

Also Read:

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1983 World Cup India’s Scorecards

  1. India Won by 34 Runs Vs West Indies, Manchester
    • Yashpal Sharma 89 (120)
  2. India Won by 5 Wickets Vs Zimbabwe, Leicester
    • Madan Lal 3/27
  3. Australia Won by 162 Runs Vs India, Nottingham
    • Trevor Chappell 110 (131)
  4. West Indies Won by 66 Runs Vs India, The Oval (London)
    • Sir Vivian Richards 119 (146)
  5. India Won by 31 Runs Vs Zimbabwe, Tunbridge Wells
    • Kapil Dev 175* (138), 2 catches, 1/32
  6. India Won by 118 Runs Vs Australia, Chelmsford
    • Roger Binny 21 (32) & 4/29
  7. India Won by 6 Wickets Vs England, Manchester
    • Mohinder Amarnath, 46 (92) & 2/27
  8. India Won by 43 Runs Vs West Indies, Lord’s London
    • Mohinder Amarnath, 26 (80) & 3/12

Bonus: India Won by 10 Wickets Vs East Africa (1975) Farokh Engineer 54* (93)

Team India’s Statistics at the 1983 Prudential World Cup

Batting – Most Runs

RunsAverageBest100/50
Kapil Dev30360.60 (108.00 SR)175*1/0
Yashpal Sharma24034.28890/2
Mohinder Amarnath23729.62800/1
Sandeep Patil21630.85 (90.00 SR)51*0/2
Krishnamachari Srikkanth15619.50390/0
Madan Lal10234.00270/0

Bowling – Most Wickets

WicketsAverageBest4/5
Roger Binny1818.664/291/0
Madan Lal1716.764/201/0
Kapil Dev1220.415/430/1
Mohinder Amarnath822.253/120/0
Balwinder Sandhu837.122/260/0
Ravi Shastri (5 matches)421.753/260/0

Fielding Most Catches

Catches
Kapil Dev7
Ravi Shastri (5 matches)3
Sunil Gavaskar3
Krishnamachari Srikkanth3

Wicket Keeper – Dismissals

DismissalsCatchesStumpingMax in 1 Innings
Syed Kirmani14 1225 catches

1983 World Cup Videos and 83 Movie Clips

83 Movie Review – Trailer and Clips

  1. 83 Official Trailer
  2. Kapil Dev-Sandhu “There, There, & There” Scene
  3. Madan Lal-Kapil Dev Scene Before the Catch
  4. Kirti Azad Vs Ian Botham Scene
  5. Mohinder Amarnath-Yashpal Sharma Scene
  6. Srikkanth’s Speech Scene
  7. Kapil Dev’s Attempted Motivational Speech Scene

1983 World Cup Video Highlights, Interviews, and Documentaries

  1. India Vs West Indies Finals Highlights
  2. India Vs England Semi-Final Highlights (Crowd storms the field as England as Patil-Dev clinch victory)
  3. Post-Match Interview with captain Kapil Dev & Clive Lloyd
  4. Indian Team Meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

Interviews

  1. Gavaskar on Kapil Dev’s 175
  2. Breakfast With Champions (Kapil Dev)
  3. BwC (Michael Holding)
  4. BwC (Ravi Shastri)
  5. Team Interview at Kapil Sharma Show

Documentaries

  1. ICC – Kapil Dev and the story of the 1983 World Cup
  2. How We Won the World Cup with Sandeep Patil (ESPNCricinfo)
  3. 1983 World Cup Fox Documentary

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 12/28/2021. 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).

Top 11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early – The Lost Generation of Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Michael Clarke

Greatness.

A simple word that carries immense burden. What defines greatness in sports? Statistical brilliance, nostalgia, longevity? In cricketing terms, 99.94, memories like Brett Lee vs Sachin Tendulkar, 100 Tests, or 15 years+ career?

Also Read: 22 Unlucky Cricketers, Most Underrated Cricketers

Table of Contents

To Retire Or Not to Retire, That is the Question

Legacies are largely depended on the final days in the international arena. Retirement has always been a tricky issue in cricket.

Sourav Ganguly’s Ian Chappell saga tarnished his otherwise positive legacy. A poor 2007 Cricket World Cup ended dreams for Brian Lara & Inzamam ul-Haq. Simon Jones’ career ended before it could start due to injuries.

Some overstay and risk going out on a low. Others like German soccer captain Philipp Lahm retired internationally at the age of just 30 after winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

The Lost Generation

Today we dive deep into the careers of the lost generation of 2005—Alastair Cook, AB De Villiers, Michael Clarke, and Hashim Amla, all of them would retire prematurely.

With the triple retirement of Dale Steyn, Brendon Taylor, and Lasith Malinga, the legendary class of 2004-06 is coming to a close. Only Broad-Anderson & Ross Taylor remain from the greats of this era.

Sandwiched between the 90s golden generations of Sangakkara-Jayawardene-Muralitharan, Tendulkar-Laxman-Ganguly-Dravid, Kallis-Pollock-Boucher-Ntini, Inzamam-Yousuf, Ponting led Australia, & the Fab 4 (Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith), there was the class of 2004 & 2005.

Why did these cricketers retire so soon? How does the future look like? Read till the end for our in-deptj analysis & final thoughts.

11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early

While legends of the past played 12-15 years, the cricketers in this list only had about 9-12 years of international cricket. The fact that they followed the golden generation lead to slightly later debuts and hence, even shorter careers.

One of the clear indications of the early retirement for the batters is the statistics. Most did not cross 10,000, their averages fell below 50, and the centuries hovered between 25-27 (although at one stage it seemed each of these players would break them all).

Anderson’s long career seems like he is on another level (which he is) but in all reality, at one stage, all of these players would have careers as long as Jimmy Anderson.

The players in this list were not dropped. They retired on their own terms or because of other circumstances. Hence, we exclude players like Ian Bell, Virender Sehwag, Umar Gul, Suresh Raina, and Gautam Gambhir who were available for selection but were unfortunately dropped from the team plans later in their career.

1. Michael Clarke (Australia)

Tests: 115 Matches, 8643 runs, 49.10 average, 329* best, 100s/50s – 28/27, 31 wickets

ODIs: 245 Matches, 7981 runs, 44.58 average, 130 best, 100s/50s – 8/58, 57 wickets

T20Is: 34 Matches, 488 runs, 21.21 average, 103.17 SR, 67 best, 50-1, 6 wickets

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 18, 2003 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 19-22, 2015 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

Retiring on a high is every cricketer’s dream. Captaining Australia to a victory at home in front of the MCG crowd must have been a surreal experience. A few months later, the Ashes would be his final appearance. One of the bests #4 batters of all-time with a godly conversion rate in Tests. The 2012-13 season would always be remembered as Clarke’s year, the only batter to score 4 double centuries in a year.

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2. Ryan Harris (Australia)

Tests: 27 Matches, 113 wickets, 23.52 average, 50.70 SR, best of 7/117 & 9/106, 4w/5w – 4/5

ODIs: 21 Matches, 44 wickets, 18.90 average, 5/19 best, 5w – 3

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 17, 2009 (ODI)
  • Last Match: January 5-9, 2015 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 29
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Why Did He Retire?

Harris’ career was a classic cases of fast bowling injuries. Whenever he was fit, he bowled his heart out and made an indelible impact. Could not make the XI in Australia’s golden generation and had to leave early due to chronic knee injury. Retired 3 days before the Ashes because he could not recover even after surgery. Will always be remembered for the ball of this century to dismiss Alastair Cook.

“I played 27 more Tests than I ever thought I would and I have relished every single moment of them.”

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3. Sir Alastair Cook (England)

Tests: 161 Matches, 12472 runs, 45.35 average, 294 best, 100s/50s – 33/57

ODIs: 92 Matches, 3204 runs, 36.40 average, 137 best, 100s/50s – 5/19

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: February 28 – March 4, 2006 (Test)
  • Last Match: September 6-10, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Current Age:36
    • Still playing for Essex and hitting centuries
  • Why Did He Retire?

At one point in time, he was touted to overtake Sachin Tendulkar as the highest run-scorer and century maker having scored 5000 runs at 26. Will always be remembered for the 2010-11 Ashes series down under. However, loss of form and inconsistency creeped in. Tougher playing conditions, 159 Tests in a row, and the KP saga probably got to him. Century in his first and last Tests against India showed that he still had it in him. Still the best opener in England?

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4. Sir Andrew Strauss (England)

Tests: 100 Matches, 7037 runs, 40.91 average, 177 best, 100s/50s – 21/27

ODIs: 127 Matches, 4205 runs, 35.63 average, 158 best, 100s/50s – 6/27

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 17, 2003 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 15-19, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 27
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Why Did He Retire?

Due to his late debut, it was inevitable that Strauss would not have an extremely long career, but England fans learned how great Andrew Strauss was after his retirement, for both his captaincy & batting. Since the Cook-Strauss partnership ended, England could not find a stable partner for Cook (and Cook’s effectiveness also decreased). KP himself said in an interview that the text-messaging scandal on the eve of Strauss’s 100th Test was one of his biggest mistakes, which tarnished Strauss’ last match. Later became ECB’s Director of cricket and subsequently received knighthood for his service to English cricket.

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5. Kevin Pietersen (England)

Tests: 104 Matches, 8181 runs, 47.28 average, 227 best, 100s/50s – 23/35

ODIs: 136 Matches, 4440 runs, 40.73 average, 130 best, 100s/50s – 9/25

T20Is: 37 Matches, 1176 runs, 37.93 average, 141.59 SR, 79 best, 50s – 7

T20s: 200 Matches, 5695 runs, 33.89 average, 136.89 SR, 115* best, 100s/50s – 3/35

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 27, 2004 (ODI)
  • Last Match: January 02-04, 2014 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 24
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

See Strauss above. Jokes aside, KP’s career had always been hampered by controversies. Although he had to leave South Africa and debuted relatively late, he quickly established himself as one of the greatest in his generation. Key contributor to the 2005 Ashes, 2012 India series, and 2010 T20 World Cup victories, he was a key component of driving English cricket forward. Although he was England’s highest scorer in the Mitchell Johnson 2015 series, he was a casualty of the 5-0 defeat. Poor relationship with Strauss & coach Andy Flower did not help as the management decided that KP’s career is over.

KP might have been controversial off the field, but there is no doubt he changed cricket for the better. Fast forward 15 years, everybody has an inner KP with the switch hits & aggressive mindset. Paved the way for English cricketers to join the IPL & other T20 leagues, thereby moving England one step closer to their eventual 2019 World Cup winning campaign.

Also Read: South African Cricketers Who Play For Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?

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6. Graeme Swann (England)

Tests: 60 Matches, 255 wickets, 29.96 average, 60.10 SR, best of 6/65 & 10/132, 4w/5w/10w – 14/17/3

ODIs: 79 Matches, 104 wickets, 27.76 average, 5/28 best, 4w/5w – 3/1

T20Is: 39 Matches, 51 wickets, 16.84 average, 3/13 best

T20s: 80 Matches, 98 wickets, 18.88 average, 3/13 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 22, 2000 (ODI), December 10-14, 2008 (Test)
  • Last Match: December 12-16, 2013 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 29 (Test), 20 (ODI)
  • Age Retired: 34
  • Why Did He Retire?

Statistically, Swann does not make the best bowlers of all-time list, but what he did in his 5-year Test career was continued the art of off-spin. After T20 cricket & ODI Powerplay rule changes, leg spinners flourished in the 2010s. Except for Daniel Vettori, finger spin was a dying art. Swann took off-spin forward and became a cog of the famed 2010-11 English lineup. Late Test debut, an elbow injury, and Johnson 2013 ensured that he retired mid-series (after the 3rd Test).

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7. Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)

Tests: 35 Matches, 178 wickets, 28.10 average, 65.10 SR, best of 7/75 & 11/111, 4w/5w/10w – 9/10/4

ODIs: 113 Matches, 184 wickets, 22.72 average, 5/24 best, 4w/5w – 6/2

T20Is: 64 Matches, 85 wickets, 17.83 average, 4/19 best

T20s: 195 Matches, 271 wickets, 17.36 average, 4/14 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: July 1, 2008 (ODI)
  • Last Match: April 23, 2015 (T20I)
  • Age Debuted: 31
  • Age Retired: 37
  • Why Did He Retire?

Another one who debuted late, but made an immediate impact. From the cricketers who retired too early, Saeed Ajmal’s ending was probably the saddest. During Pakistan’s toughest days, Saeed Ajmal & Umar Gul took Pakistan to great heights, especially in T20 cricket. However it was his action that was his downfall. Unlike Mohammad Hafeez & Sunil Narine, Ajmal’s remodeled action was not effective enough without the doosra. Will definitely go down as a Pakistani great.

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8. Morne Morkel (South Africa)

Tests: 86 Matches, 309 wickets, 27.66 average, 53.30 SR, best of 6/23 & 9/110, 4w/5w – 18/8

ODIs: 117 Matches, 188 wickets, 25.32 average, 5/21 best, 4w/5w – 7/2

T20Is: 44 Matches, 47 wickets, 25.34 average, 4/17 best

T20s: 190 Matches, 207 wickets, 25.29 average, 4/17 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: December 25-29, 2006 (Test)
  • Last Match: March 29-April 2, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 22
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Current Age: 36
    • Plays with Brisbane Heat in the BBL; Was at Surrey from 2018-2020
  • Why Did He Retire?

When Morne Morkel left international cricket after that Australia series for the Kolpak deal in England (with Surrey), it signaled the beginning of the end of the great 2008-2015 South Africa generation. From 2015-2019, each one slowly retired, and it was painful to watch South Africa collapse to new lows. What was not painful, however, was Morne Mornel’s bowling. High arm action, pace & bounce, & most importantly, consistent line & length. Dale Steyn would not have been as successful had he not had Morne on the other end as the ideal foil. Morkel, in his own right, will go down as a South African great. With 309 wickets at age 33, who knows, he could have gone past Steyn himself. Now a resident of Australia and plays in the BBL as a local cricketer.

9. Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Tests: 124 Matches, 9282 runs, 46.64 average, 311* best, 100s/50s – 28/41

ODIs: 181 Matches, 8113 runs, 49.46 average, 159 best, 100s/50s – 27/39

T20Is: 44 Matches, 1277 runs, 33.60 average, 132.05 SR, 97* best, 50s – 8

T20s: 164 Matches, 4563 runs, 30.83 average, 126.04 SR, 104*, best, 100s/50s – 2/30

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 27-December 1, 2004 (Test)
  • Last Match: June 27, 2019 (ODI)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Current Age: 38
    • Plays for Surrey in County Cricket
  • Why Did He Retire?

Fastest to 10, 15, 16,17, 18, 20, 27 centuries & 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, and 7000 ODI runs, he was the only contemporary of Virat Kohli who could challenge him. South Africa’s fall from grace was confirmed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, and it was especially painful to watch Amla being hit in the head by Jofra Archer and retiring hurt. He would retire at the end of the tournament. Sublime cricketer, wonderful human being, he still architects blockathons on the County Circuit. You just help but wonder if South Africa should have persisted a year or so more for his form to come back.

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10. AB De Villiers (South Africa)

Tests: 114 Matches, 8765 runs, 50.66 average, 278* best, 100s/50s – 22/46

ODIs: 228 Matches, 9577 runs, 49.46 average, 176 best, 100s/50s – 25/53

T20Is: 78 Matches, 1672 runs, 26.12 average, 135.16 SR, 79* best, 50s – 10

T20s: 333 Matches, 9318 runs, 37.57 average, 150.46 SR, 133*, best, 100s/50s – 4/69

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: December 16-20, 2004 (Test)
  • Last Match: March 29-April 2, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 20
  • Age Retired: 34
  • Current Age: 37
    • Plays for RCB in the IPL
  • Why Did He Retire?

Will he? Won’t he? Speculation about AB De Villiers’ retirement has been as spicy as Hollywood gossip. It all began with the ghost of 2015 semi-finals loss, which he captained. He would then get the Test captaincy job, a dream for a long time. However, workload management & administrative struggles became a hassle. Picking & choosing on a series-by-series basis followed by an indefinite break was a sign of what was to come. He came back in brilliant home with Test series against India and Australia.

However a video retirement a year before the ODI World Cup took everyone by surprise. Since then, he has been in multiple conversations about coming for the 2019 ODI World Cup or 2021 T20 World Cup, but those conversations have not gone too far. He can still be seen smashing it out of the park in the IPL. He is still fit, takes mind boggling catches, and plays match changing innings even after no game practice for a year. Although ABD & Amla played 14 years, they could have been Tendulkar-esque with a career of 17-21 years in another era.

The best batter of the generation and the face of “Cricketers Who Retired Too Early.”

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11. Graeme Smith

Tests: 117 Matches, 9265 runs, 48.25 average, 277 best, 100s/50s – 27/38

ODIs: 197 Matches, 6989 runs, 37.98 average, 141 best, 100s/50s – 10/47

T20Is: 33 Matches, 982 runs, 31.67 average, 127.53 SR, 89* best, 50s – 5

T20s: 86 Matches, 2389 runs, 29.86 average, 123.08 SR, 105, best, 100s/50s – 1/11

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: March 7-11, 2002 (Test)
  • Last Match: February 27-March 4, 2014 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

Given captaincy at a young age, Smith began the rebuilding of a squad that would take South AFrica to #1 Test rankings. One of the best openers of this era, his courage & leadership came to the fore. Batting with a broken hand to save a Test will in fans’ memories forever. Now the director of cricket for South Africa.

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Chris Gayle (West Indies)

Tests: 103 Matches, 7214 runs, 42.18 average, 333 best, 100s/50s – 15/37

ODIs: 301 Matches, 10480 runs, 37.83 average, 215 best, 100s/50s – 25/54

T20Is: 74 Matches, 1854 runs, 29.42 average, 139.18 SR, 117 best, 100s/50s – 2/14

T20s: 446 Matches, 14261 runs, 36.94 average, 145.87 SR, 175*, best, 100s/50s – 22/87

  • Debut: September 10, 1999 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 2, 2021 (T20I)*
  • Age Debuted: 20
  • Current Age: 42
    • Plays for RCB in the IPL, SKNP in CPL, and the West Indies

*subject to change. He is selected in West Indies’ 2021 T20 World Cup squad

Surprised? Well, you should be.

Chris Gayle is the antithesis to the 2005 generated. Debuted in 1999, and he is still playing at the age of 42. 100 Test matches, a triple century, an ODI double century, 10000 ODI runs, 14000+ T20 runs (with 22 100s!), he is a legend. So how did he survive so long even though he can barely run?

The answer is enough breaks. While the 2005 generation succumbed to continuous burnout, Gayle was in-and-out of the international side, played T20 leagues around the world, and gave up first class/Test cricket in 2014 to prolong his career. A couple of World Cup wins also helps keeping the fire going.

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The Ones Who Survived

Here is an exhaustive list of players that served between 12-15+ years in international cricket. Notice that as we get further along, the list gets smaller.

Late 90s Generation: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid (India), Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Ricky Ponting (Australia), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

2000-02 Generation: Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik (Still Playing), Brendon McCullum (NZ), Shane Watson (Australia), Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh (India), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Hamilton Masakdza (Zimbabwe), Younis Khan, Misbah Ul-Haq, Shoaib Akthar (Pakistan)

2004-07 Generation: Ross Taylor (New Zealand), Brendon Taylor (Zimbabwe), Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad (England), Dale Steyn (South Africa)

The Surviving Outliers

The main point to notice here is that those who played continuous cricket from 2005-2015 retired too soon.

However, there are plenty of cricketers who did not get a chance early on or were in-and-out of their national sides, but are still available for selection today. These players include Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and the 2004 U-19 Cricket World Cup class of Shikhar Dhawan, Fawad Alam, Mahmudullah Riyadh, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Tim Paine, Moises Henriques, William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Wahab Riaz, who are still playing competitively and are available for international selection.

Since they did not get a chance earlier or play for lower-ranked teams, they are making the most of it now when opportunities finally came their way.

Hunger for success have caused these batch of cricketers to elongate their careers. To prove themselves as long as they are fit. Or to be a part of that elusive World Cup winning team.

Why Did The 2005 Generation Fall So Quickly?

Transition Periods

If we analyze these 10 cricketers who retired too early a bit more closer, we notice they mostly feature from England, South Africa, or Australia.

All of these teams went through a traumatic transition period. The 2013-15 period was especially stressful for England. While Mitchell Johnson dismantled the entire 2013 Test generation, forcing retirements of Trott, Pietersen, & Swann, the sacking of Cook in ODIs before 2015 World Cup would usher a new era in English cricket.

For South Africa, Grant Elliot’s semi-final six broke the gem of that South African team. AB De Villiers, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, & Vernon Philander were never the same again.

Finally, although Australia did not have it that rough, they have not really gotten back to the Warne-McGrath days. The Clarke era was the short transition between the longer lasting, Ponting & Steve Smith eras.

Frequency of World Cups

Before the 2007 T20 World Cup, world championships only happened once every 4 years. A decade earlier, we only had the 2003/2007 ODI World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup, and 2002/2006 Champions Trophy.

Teams were built on the premises of four-year cycles. With England & Australia, the Test Teams were formed with the next Ashes cycle in mind. Then followed 2009 (CT), 2010 (T20 WC), 2011 (CWC), 2012 (T20 WC), 2013 (CT), 2014 (T20 WC), 2015 (CWC), 2016 (T20 WC), 2017 (CT), 2019 (CWC), 2021 (World Test Championship).

Frequent trophies meant teams did not have to carry players for 4 years. An in-form player could be drafted while seasoned cricketers could be dropped with the upcoming ICC trophy in mind. Hence teams started to experiment more and started taking bold calls.

Case and point 2013 Champions Trophy—India dropped Sehwag, promoted Rohit Sharma, and went with an in-form Dhawan (seems like a history repeat itself moment with Dhawan in the 2021 T20 WC team).

Death of the All Format Player

Everything boils down to overkill of cricket and player burnout.

These cricketers who retired too early were raised on the backs of Test & ODI cricket. Almost everyone from the 90s era played both formats if they were good enough. With the entrance of T20 cricket, cricket began to be played all year long instead of season to season.

If you add captaincy to the 3 formats, that takes pressure & mental exhaustion to another level.

Openers Struggle

This still does not explain why Cook & Amla retired. They had given up captaincy towards the end, did not play all formats, and did not have new players vying for their spots either.

The obvious answer to this is form. Both Cook & Amla suffered drastic loss of forms, but so did openers worldwide.

Cook himself concluded that batting in England became tougher towards the end of his career. We can see from the Burns-Sibley partnership that it has not gotten better any since. It was not necesesarily that they were worse players, just that the conditions had become more difficult.

Kohli Shows The Way Forward

Three format players like KP and ABD prospered for a while, but it caught up with their health & form.

A decade later, it is clear that separate teams are now being picked for the 3 vastly different formats. Mental health conversations are in place. Fitness, physiotherapy, and analytics have jumped to another level altogether. Rest & rotation have been employed by certain teams to prolong the careers of cricketers.

This means that the current generation of the Fab 5 & Buttler-Stokes-Cummins-Rabada-Starc-Hazlewood-Bumrah have a better chance for longer careers and go back to the 15-year norms of the 90s. Who knows the COVID break might even have re-energized some to extend their careers.

However balance is key. Virat Kohli has already lead the way and given up IPL/T20I captaincy to manage workload and focus on other formats. If this generation of players have to survive, they might have to give up at least one format, release captaincy pressure, take mental health and paternity breaks, and keep up their fitness.

Greatness Achieved Nevertheless

Although Amla, Smith, Sehwag, Clarke, de Villiers stopped agonizingly close without reaching the coveted 10000 run-mark, it does not take away from the genius of these men.

Numbers are not everything. Although their tenure was short, their impact was not. They changed cricket for the better, and that is all that matters.

There are some players who will always give a sense that they left too early. Fans are left asking, ‘What If they had stayed on for a couple of years?’, ‘Maybe one more World Cup?’

We should just be grateful enough we witnessed some of the greatest cricketers of all time.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 09/23/2021. 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).

County Cricket-Hundred Debate From an Outsider’s Perspective: Can They Co-Exist?

Abraham Lincoln famously remarked, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

England cricket is having that moment right now with the County Cricket vs The Hundred debate. From the outside, everything seems fine—2019 World Cup victory, Anderson-Broad still going strong, finally a somewhat stable opening Test partnership in Burns-Sibley, and an enviable depth.

Deep down, though, there are gaping cracks. Tradition, history, club cricket, professional contracts, indirect impact on Tests are stacked against city-based franchises, new format, media rights, and emphasis on limited overs cricket.

Today, I am not going to present an argument from an English perspective—David Hopps, Andrew Miller, and George Dobell (twice) provide well-articulated balanced views. On the other hand, I express my observations as an outsider.

Is Controversy Helping County Cricket or Hundred?

Full disclosure—I am not from England. I have no particular affinity with a specific county and do not follow much of the County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup, or the T20 Blast (unless of course Alastair Cook is nearing another ton or Shaheen Shah Afridi takes 4 in a row). Nor did I watch a single game of the Kia Super League.

Yet the endless debates and discussion on social media against The Hundred piqued my curiosity. I have since watched almost all games of The Hundred and have enjoyed them too. While County Cricket fans are trying to fight for their side, they might have actually helped publicize the Hundred.

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

The Good, Bad, And Ugly

So has The Hundred lived up to the hype?

First impressions—the possibility that a bowler can bowl 10 consecutive balls has added an extra dimension. Rashid Khan went as far as to say it’s now possible to take three hat-tricks! Imagine the flexibility with swing bowlers and death specialists. When a Joe Root-esque part-timer keeps it tight, let him or her continue.

I also like the speed of the game. The over-rate field placement penalty and the swiftness of DRS decisions has reduced the time down to less than 3 hours.

Most importantly, the cricket has been good, and it looks like a fun family time. Affordable tickets, priceless expressions of kids, last over thrillers, Lizelle Lee-Jemimah Rodrigues specials, find of Chris Benjamin, Alex Hales-Ben Stokes drama, and Bairstow being Bairstow. All good.

There is always room for improvement, however. Graphics are all over the place, crowds are not sell-outs, and even umpire Nigel Llong had to ask the DJ to dial it down a notch.   

Disparity in Score Decreases

The simultaneous matches with the Women’s Hundred is turning out to be a gamechanger. The level of women’s cricket was criticized in Women’s T20 Challenge when the Velocity were bundled for 47 although conditions were not ideal.

In the Hundred, when the women’s team only scored 113-93, the men’s teams did even worse 87/10 a few hours later in a spin dominated pitch. The average scores are 124 and 137 so far for the women’s & men’s editions respectively, and quality of cricket equally enthralling.

Can County Cricket, T20 Blast, and The Hundred Coexist—Yay or Nay?

One argument has been why not just re-market the T20 Blast instead of creating a new format?

If we all agree that County Cricket, T20 Blast, and the Hundred are to coexist, the question then becomes of scheduling.

  • County Championship: 18 Teams, 3 Groups, 90 matches, April-July
  • T20 Vitality Blast: 18 Teams, 2 groups, 133 matches, June-September
  • The Hundred: 8 teams & 34 matches for Women’s/Men’s each, July-August

Add the home Test summer, the English rain, and this is a packed schedule. The issue with the T20 Blast is that it is played over 18 teams, broken over several months, with numerous games on the same day. The momentum is stagnant, regular international talent not retained, and coverage low.  

About Time England Dominate The League World

England are the current ODI World Champions and one of the favorites for the T20 World Cup. If there was ever a time to invest in a franchise league of international standard, it is now before the likes of Eoin Morgan head towards retirement.

When the IPL was launched in 2008, India still had legends like Dravid-Tendulkar-Ganguly-Laxman to build stable fanbases & drive spectators to the ground but it was the 2007 T20 World Cup victory that ensured T20 would succeed in India. Yes, it might be weird that Jonny Bairstow from Yorkshire is playing for the Welsh Fire. There maybe no natural County support for an artificial franchise league, but Dhoni & Raina are not from Chennai either (far from it!) and probably possess the largest IPL fanbase.

England was reluctant to invest in franchise cricket and suffered till the 2015 Cricket World Cup debacle as a result. The rest of the world allowed India to become a monopoly in the T20 market. One can argue that losing Buttlers-Stokes-Morgans-Archers to the IPL 2 months in the year is indirectly hurting the County Cricket. Had English cricket invested in a T20 league earlier and provided it a window so it does not clash with domestic tournaments, they would have been at a better place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

There is still time. Who knows, a high-quality concentrated domestic tournament can extend England’s golden era and throw up new stars.

Better players, more competition, more spectators/TV viewership, more money, higher salaries—Players, counties, leagues, everybody happy?

Also Read: The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar

Why Not Follow the India Model?

With 38 teams & multiple groups, Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and the IPL coexist. A separate window for the IPL ensures availability of homegrown talent as well as majority of foreign players. Ranji Trophy provides professional support, SMAT is scheduled strategically a month before the auction to showcase new talent, and the IPL, in return, provides developed players, academies, & scouting systems back to the domestic teams.

From the looks of it, ECB has almost made up its mind about the Hundred at least for a couple of seasons. So why not try to find a solution that benefits all parties involved instead of opposing it?

I will leave you with Michael Atherton’s warning on commentary today. Fans are drawn towards a new format because it is exciting and different. Administrators get greedy and keep expanding like the IPL and Big Bash. A few years later, the format becomes diluted and ‘loses its pizzazz.’

Just a short 1-month Hundred can probably survive and not hurt other formats. However, if this format is to spread to expand to more teams, other countries, or become an international format, then there will be detrimental consequences. Until then we can have some fun and adapt innovations from this experiment into the existing formats. Keep the Hundred simple, but do not forget the county game either.

Lincoln was right. Now England must choose—an internal divisive cricket Civil War or a mutual partnership?

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Copyright @Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, bcd@brokencricketdreams.com – 07/29/2021

Image Courtesy: Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

The World Is Back In the Cricket World Cup

Greek philosopher Heraclitus penned a now famous phrase, “Change is the only constant in life, ” and well, it seems that the Cricket World Cup (CWC) formats took this quote a little too seriously.

Group stage, round-robin, Super Sixes, Super Eights, knockouts—you name it, the format has been experimented with.

History Repeats Itself

From an 8-team event (1975, 1979), the CWC gradually grew to nine teams (1992), then 12 (1996, 1999), 14-teams (2003), and finally reached its inflection point with 16 teams in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The 2007 iteration was poorly received for various reasons, but one of the fallouts was halting the gradual expansion of Associate nations in World Cups. With genuine upsets from Ireland & Bangladesh against Pakistan, India, and later South Africa, the ICC lost a major chunk of funding.

The impact?

2011 & 2015 World Cups went back to the ‘90s formats with an elongated 14-team event, while the 10-team 2019 & 2023 events have revived the 1992 round-robin structure, providing as much game time (and hence, financial stability) for the big teams.

If It Is Broke, Fix It

The change of management has done wonders for the ICC—reducing the power of the Big 3, promoting the idea of cricket in the Olympics, and expanding the game with coordinated World Cups with a blockbuster World Cup schedule for the next decade:

  • Men’s ODI World Cup & Women’s ODI Champions Trophy (2023, 2027, 2031)
  • Women’s ODI World Cup & Men’s Champions Trophy (2025, 2029)
  • Women’s & Men’s T20I World Cups (2024, 2026, 2028, 2030)
  • World Test Championship Final (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029, 2031)

There is at least one major tournament for both men & women every year with the odd years also including the World Test Championship final.

Expansion Is the Will of the Nature

If you thought that was good news, hear this out.

The 54-match ODI World Cup is expanded to a 14-team affair (throwback to 2003) – 2 groups of 7, followed by Super Sixes, and finally the semi-finals & the finals.

The 55-match T20I World Cups will well and truly be a ‘world cup’—20 team tournament, 4 groups of 5, a Super Eight Stage, followed by semi-finals & finals. The T20I World Cup will guarantee at least 4 games for eight non-Test playing nations. Massive improvement.

With expanded World Cups, this provides incentive & motivation for Associate players to continue the game. Several Associate cricketers have taken premature retirements for opportunities elsewhere. This will add the fuel to keep them going.

Basketball has caught up with the FIFA benchmark of world cups with a 32-team event, while field hockey & rugby are 16-team affairs. It is time that cricket expand and catch up to the will of nature.

Revisiting the Glory Days

Remember Dwayne Leverlock’s one-handed stunner? Or Shapoor Zadran’s emotional celebration?

This is what World Cups are for—discovering new talents, cherishing the moments, providing a platform for smaller teams to grow, and promoting competition, not diminishing it.

The Associate Nations have provided numerous moments of glory—World Cup’s fastest century at the hand of Kevin O’Brien to hand England a defeat in Bangalore, Stuart Broad’s missed run-out/overthrow giving way for a Netherlands victory, Zimbabwe’s defeat to world-beaters Australia in 2007, and Bangladesh’s rise via CWC victories against Pakistan (1999), India, South Africa (2007), and England (2011, 2015).

Gruesome Qualifier Tournaments Out of the Window

With the expanded World Cup formats, one thing is for certain. The added salt to injury, also known as the Qualifiers, will have a lesser impact.

After Afghanistan & Ireland attained Test Status and became Full Members, the 2019 & 2023 formats were even more difficult to digest. It is a cricket sin for Full Members to not be a part of the World Cup. Zimbabwe & Ireland did not make it to the 2019 WC, and it is likely that even someone like Sri Lanka can lose out on a spot in the next world cup.

Case & point is the 2018 CWC Qualifier, one of the more closely fought tournaments in recent times. Scotland was in sight of qualifying at the expense of the West Indies or Afghanistan, when rain arrived and Scotland mathemagically lost by 5 runs due to the DL method. Zimbabwe also missed out on a qualification spot due a rained-out match.

An over or two should not determine fates for a World Cup qualification. Even worse was the T20 tournaments. After a 51-match qualification tournament for Associates, teams would enter a 3-match ‘pre-qualification’ stage in the actual world cup itself! Ludicrous.

In 2016, Bangladesh & Afghanistan proceeded to the next round while Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Oman, & Ireland crashed out.

Double disqualification, I like to call it. Survivor of the fittest ones that have the most money.

Warning: Potential Conflicts & T10 Format Ahead

Not everything will be fixed by expanding the Word Cup, however. Last month, the ICC backed T10 Cricket in Olympics. I am in full support of cricket in the Olympics albeit T20.

However, with a T20 World Cup now scheduled every two years, including 2028 & 2032, T20 cricket in the Los Angeles & Brisbane Summer Olympics look like a distant dream. Creating an international T10 format might be the only feasible choice, further crowding the international and the T10/T20 leagues calendar.

In any case, I will definitely take more context in cricket calendar, & support for the Associate & lower-ranked nations in exchange of embracing the T10 format.

It is the Little Moments That Matter

Did we really need a World Cup to prove that in the ‘80s the West Indians were a class apart or the Australians were the best in the world in the 2000s?

No, but a World Cup or Olympics is much more than that. So, why have predictable world cup formats?

Surprises & uncertainty, thrills & chills, unity in a divided world, and sportsmanship & hope amidst despair—that is what sport is all about.

It is about time cricket puts the world back in its so-called world cup.

Copyright: Nitesh Mathur, 6/2/2021, bcd@brokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Image by stokpic from Pixabay

USA Cricket—The Complete Guide to Cricket in America (Updated 2023)

USA Cricket —two terms that do not go together, BUT did you know:

The first international cricket match was played between the United States of 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:

  1. Recent developments that have suddenly propelled USA Cricket in the news.
  2. Status of cricket in America & Major League Cricket.
  3. The Money Factor: Sports business & major leagues in US—NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
  4. The Broken Dream: Leagues that have failed in America
  5. 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.

News clip from the city of Dallas of itself on the major news of cricket development in their city.

1. Recent Development: Heavy Investments In USA Cricket

Recently USA Cricket has been in the news for various reasons.

  1. 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.
  2. Knight Riders group, the group that owns highly successful franchises of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR), buys stake in the Major League Cricket league.
  3. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, and other high profile names interested in investing in Major League Cricket, a $1 billion investment.
  4. 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.

Also Read: Learn the Rules of Cricket in Just 3 Minutes, Top 7 Most Popular Cricket Videos

2. So, Where Is American Cricket At the Moment?

Cricket Rankings

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.

The Highlights

  • 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)

Cricket In America: Current Development

USA Cricket (USAC) has released a foundational plan for the next decade.

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).

Quite ambitious.

Here is their 2020 progress report – Zonal Trials, Umpire Training, and in 2021, even a national softball tournament?

Also Read: Interview -Avinash’s Cricket Journey in the United States

Structure

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.

Earlier, we did an interview with Avinash, a player who has featured in both the university and club circuit tournaments across the United States. He has participated in the American College Cricket at the university level and the Heartland Cricket League locally.

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.

Infrastructure

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:

  1. Central Broward Regional Park: Lauderdale, Florida, $70 million (ICC certified international quality)
    1. 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
  2. AirHogs Stadium: Grand Prairer, Texas (under renovation – to become international quality)
  3. Indianapolis World Sports Park: Indianapolis, Indiana, $5.1 million (2014 – multipurpose)
  4. Leo Magnus Cricket Complex ‘Woodley Park’: Los Angeles, California (stadium/cricket facilities)
  5. Moosa Stadium: Houston, Texas (built with ICC rules – hosts ACC)

India vs West Indies in 2016 at Fort Lauderdale, Florida was especially a wonderful spectacle.

What is Major League Cricket?

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

Embed from Getty Images

3. The Possibilities: Sport Leagues In America 💲💵💵💲

The North American sports market has a value of a whopping $71 billion and is expected to rise around $83 billion by 2023.

Let that sink in.

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.

World Leagues

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 ads and 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.

Here are some of the best plays from the NFL.

National Basketball Association (NBA)

  • Year Founded: 1946
  • 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.

Here is an awesome compilation of the best NBA plays.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

  • Year Founded: 1903
  • 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.

The cultural impact of baseball was evident by Chicago Cubs 1st World Series Win in a 108 Years.

National Hockey League (NHL)

  • Year Founded: 1917
  • 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.

The gameplay can get quite physical at times. Here are some of the best goals and ugliest hits. Ouch!

Major League Soccer (MLS)

  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Teams: 26 (23 US, 3 Canada) – 421 matches
  • Average Attendance: 21,310 (2019)
  • Total Revenue: $1.2 billion (2019)
  • Most Valuable Team: Atlanta United : $500 million
  • Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 1.8 million
  • TV Rights: $110 million (2019)
  • Average Annual Player Salary: $410,000 (2019/20)

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.

Here is the U.S. Women’s 5-2 victory in the 2015 FIFA World Cup final, courtesy Carli Lloyd’s heroics.

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.

For a broader list of failed sports leagues in the United States and why they failed, here are some good reads.

Failed Cricket Ventures In the US

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.

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Just Right: What Should Happen to USA Cricket

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.

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What the Future Holds?

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!

Predictions

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.

‘Murica.

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

Did you learn something new? Yes, no, maybe so?

Do YOU Think that cricket will ever become popular in the United States? IF YES, comment below. IF NO, comment below as well and let us know why! We want to hear from you!

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USA Cricket: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Can You Get Involved in USA Cricket?

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.Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge

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.

Sources

  1. New York Time, 2. Forbes Magazine, 3. The Guardian, 4 Statista, 5. ESPN Cricinfo, 6. USA Cricket, 7. Major League Cricket, 8. USA Cricket Association (Now Defunct), 8. CricAmerica, 9. USACricketers.com

Why The World Needs Sam Curran: Calm, Charismatic, Courageous

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” said someone not named Albert Einstein.

In the world of cricket, there is one player who follows this advice closely—Sam Curran. Commonly known by commentators around the world as Sam “Makes Things Happen” Curran, when results are not going England’s way, you can always find Curran around the corner—trying new things and rescuing England time and again.

In the first T20I against South Africa, he bowled a match-winning spell of 3-28 along with a crucial 7*(3) finishing punch. Another game, and yet another important contribution from Sam Curran.

He is given this title for a reason—the lad never gives up hope. And this is exactly why he is one of my favorite players in the current cricket circuit.

Ask him to salvage Test matches in the lower order? Can do. Ask him to sit out for the Andersons and the Broad? No problem sir. Operate as a swing bowler, death bowler, gun fielder, opener, pinch-hitter, finisher?

Yep, been there. Done that.

Also Read: Sam Curran IPL Predictions, Unlucky cricketers (feat Simon Jones)

The Stats

The sample size in ODIs/T20Is is relatively small with 5/7 games respectively with uninspiring numbers of combined 39 runs and 14 wickets. Hence, we will only focus on his Tests and T20 stats.

Batting

Tests: 19 matches, 728 runs, best of 78, average 26.96, 3-50s
T20s: 85 matches, 1032 runs, best of 55*, average 19.47, 130.79 SR, 5-50s

Bowling

Tests: 19 matches, 41 wickets, 32.12 average, Best Match – 5/92, 2-4 fors
T20s: 85 matches, 79 wickets, 29.16 average, Best – 4/11, 2-4 fors

The numbers are not that spectacular, are they? Yet, numbers do not paint the whole picture. It his impact that is palpable.

My First Memory of Sam Curran

I am not sure I have ever seen a more sparkling introduction to Test cricket in recent memory.

India lost the 5-match series 4-1 although the series was closer than the score line suggested. Were India ever out of the series like 2011? No, but just whenever England seemed to lose their way, Sam came into the picture.

It all started in the first test at Edgbaston, which was the second Test for Curran.

In the first innings, from 6-224, he dragged England to 287 with a valiant 24(98). Next innings, he pulled England from 6-85 to 180 with an attacking 63 (103). In between, 3 wickets in space of 8 balls at Edgbaston to reduce India from 50-0 to 59-3.

He played a couple of other knocks like 78 (136) at Southampton, a few 40s here and there, and took important wickets.

Not the highest scorer, nor the highest wicket taker, but impactful nevertheless. Ending up winning England’s Man of the Series award and was deservedly, one of the breakout stars of 2018.

What Can We Learn From Sam Curran?

Since that Test debut, he has not got too many opportunities. With a bowling line up of Broad-Anderson-Woakes in Tests and Archer-Rashid-Jordan in limited overs, it is hard to find consistent opportunities. Heck, he even has to compete with his brother Tom for a spot.

Yet, as the South Africa match showed, whatever opportunities he gets, he makes the most out of it. Recently, in the IPL, he was one of the young stars for CSK amidst a dismal campaign. He bowled at the death, opened the innings, and finished a game or two as well.

So what can we learn from him?

The Lessons

  1. Quick Learner: Give him a new role, he will take a game or two to adjust and then you see immediate results. Good skill to have for a job application.
  2. Keep Curiosity Alive: There is never an age to stop learning. Ask questions, keep on learning.
  3. Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Literally strike that out. As a rule of thumb, master two trades and the rest is bonus. Having a primary and a secondary skill is crucial in today’s day and age. Then, you can go and become the jack of the rest of the trades.
  4. Be ready: Being Sam Curran may not always be easy. You are never guaranteed a game. Your role is not defined clearly. It does not matter. When your time comes, give it your all.
  5. Courage: When things are not going your way, keep on trying new things even if it may be risky. Volunteer for the pinch-hitter opener role. Pitch the ball up hoping for some swing. How about a slow cutter with a risk of getting hit?

As one of my good friends said,

If you ain’t dying, you ain’t living.

So take risks once in a while. It is going to be okay. Try new things, but never give up.

The Legacy

Currently we can see the impact these utility players have. India’s two games against Australia exposed a problem – a sixth bowling option. None of India’s batsman bowl and none of their bowlers bat.

Yes – the Pandyas, the Cummins, the Ben Stokes – are all necessary for a team’s success, but having one all-rounder only may not be enough.

This English limited over team is built of giants – Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler, Archer, Rashid, and Stokes. Their legacy is forever etched in record books and cricketing legend.

Without their star power, England could not have won the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Yet, the world also needs the Liam Plunketts, the Moeen Alis, the Joe Denlies, and most definitely the Sam Currans. Whatever the team requires of them, they adapt and deliver. With a smile and without a grudge.

He has a long career ahead of him. The stats will improve. We can just sit back and enjoy Sam Curran’s presence—conquering the world one game at a time—calm, courageous, and charismatic.

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

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Image Courtesy: “Never Ever Give Up” – Geralt Pixabay

Preview: Ind V Aus – Closer Than It Appears

India (Ind) vs Australia (Aus) — a rivalry of sorts in recent times, especially in ODIs. It is 2020. Times have changed. Looked at ODI rankings recently?

Australia – #3, Zimbabwe – #4, Ireland – #5

Not kidding. This is the points table for the ODI Super league leading up to the 2023 ODI World Cup. The league was just getting underway before COVID hit.

Now, the proceedings finally restart. India vs Australia at Sydney on November 27th for a good-ole classic ODI match, India’s first in the ODI league.

My prediction for the series: India 2, Australia 1. Read till the end to see why. Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!

Also Read: Eng vs SA T20I Series Preview, Series Predictions – Twitter Edition

The Batting

Ind: Batting Has Depth But No Flexibility

  • Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kohli, Iyer, Pandey, Agarwal, Samson, and even Hardik Pandya (with back injury) – none of the top 6 bowl
  • Rohit Sharma is one of the ODI players of the decade, but is out with an injury from the IPL. How much will this batting line-up miss him?
  • With the #4 dilemma India suffered prior to the 2019 World Cup semi-final, it may be wise to move KL Rahul to #4 and open with the in-form Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill

Aus: Batting Has Too Much Flexibility

  • With Finch-Warner-Labuschagne-Smith, the top four is pretty solid and settled
  • The concern is the flexibility in the middle order – Stoinis, Carey, Maxwell and maybe even Moises Henriques/Cameron Green. Carey & Maxwell coming from disaster IPLs and Stoinis in the middle order is a hit and miss (fluid line-ups do not work much – look at KKR from the IPL)
  • Out-of-the-box: Move Stoinis up to open, drop Labuschagne, and play with 3 all-rounders/power-hitters?
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The Bowling

Ind: Kul-cha Holds the Key to India’s Success

  • Kuldeep Yadav has had a horrid year or so with the ball, but in the large Australian grounds, the Kuldeep-Chahal partnership needs to be revived
  • If Pandya does not bowl, should India drop a batsman and play Shardul Thakur as another bowling option/slogger down the order?
  • Shami’s opening spells and Bumrah’s death bowling will be key

Aus: 5th Bowling Option the Only Issue

  • Watch out for Hazlewood. I have a feeling his miserly line-and-length bowling will set the tone for the series
  • With Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins the fast bowling is set and with Zampa getting into rhythm, this looks like a stable core
  • 1 out of Stoinis + Henriques/Green + Maxwell/Labuschagne will complete the bowling, which is the only concern in this line-up
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The Broken Dream

Ind: Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson

  • India vs Australia ODI at Sydney 2016 – Manish Pandey’s 104* takes his team home in the chase of 331. 4 years down the line, still has not nailed a spot (feat inconsistency and selection mismanagement). Can he find a spot in the XI?
  • Sanju Samson has always lit up the IPL and is finally getting some chances in the international fold. With KL Rahul almost certainly taking the gloves, can India find a space for him as an X-factor or will he end up as another Indian unlucky cricketer?

Aus: The New Kids on the Block

  • Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, and Labuschagne in ODIs are great prospects for the future, and it remains to be seen if their long-term future will be secure
  • Matthew Wade made a marvelous comeback after toiling in domestic cricket for a while. With Carey’s struggle of late, Wade may get a chance. Who knows, at 32, this might be his final try in ODI cricket

Prediction

Verdict: 2-1 India

This series will be closer than it appears. Australia at home with this bowling attack and an envious top 4, Australia are the clear favorites.

If India can find that final lower-order firepower and exploit Australia’s 5th bowling option, we might be in for a close one.

I think Australia will win the first one, but India will bounce back with two on the trot to win the series.

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My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first ODI (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

Ind:

Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli*, KL Rahul (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav

Aus:

Aaron Finch*, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques/ Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

Ind: Manish Pandey, Navdeep Saini, Sanju Samson (WK), Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur

Aus: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Daniel Sams, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (WK)

Image Courtesy: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) – Marc Dalmulder from Hamlyn Terrace, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Top Commentary Highlights

What is the first thing that comes in your mind when you think of cricket highlights? Fast bowling wickets compilation? Catches Win Matches? Stylish Cover drives?

How about classic commentary highlights? Well, today we will discuss exactly that!

Last week, we created a Fantasy team of Commentators XI. Harsha Bhogle was our team captain, Gaurav Kapur the opener, and the dynamic duo of Simon Doull and Pommie Mbangwa as the fast bowlers.

So naturally we asked our Twitter audience to respond with #BestCommentary for:

  • Best #IPL2020 Commentary Highlights
  • Most Favorite Iconic Cricket Commentary Memory

Commentators come in all shapes and sizes—a few serious, others insightful, and some extremely hilarious.

Who is your favorite commentator? Bill Lawry, Michael Holding, Tony Greig, Ian Bishop, Richie Benaud, Ravi Shashtri? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

Anyway, here are their twitter responses! So, sit back, relax, and watch some of the best cricket commentary videos!

There are lots of videos. Like a lot. Watch till the end for all the good ones.

The Tweets – Commentary Highlights

Here are the favorite IPL and cricketing memories from the fans in their own words. We have categorized the commentary in categories—The Jaw Drop, The Heartbreak, and The Critical, and then, some more.

The Jaw Drop feat Ravi Shastri

Here are some of the jaw dropping moments in recent cricketing history captured by iconic commentators.

1. Mohd Shamir Ansari (@ShamirMohd)

My Fav. #BestCommentary will be Ravi Shastri commentating on Yuvraj Singh Six sixes in an over to Stuart Broad in first T20 World Cup. And best #IPLT20 will be First time I saw sunny sir doing Hindi Commentary that was really an awesome moment for me

Yes Really It was very nice especially I was watching this match Live… So still remember those exciting sixes and commentary by Ravi Shastri.

What a great day for cricket. One just imagines what would have happened had Flintoff kept his cool to Yuvi that day?

2. Jonny (@Leathernwillow)

IPL comms just wash over me a bit. Sunny Gavaskar is the master of the box as much as he was at the crease, especially when he’s annoyed. KP’s ‘Pingo Pongo’ moments are fun. Best ever is Fazeer Mohammed “Why did he do that?!” to Gabriel’s brainfade against Yasir #BestCommentary

Try #RCBvSRH on 21 September as I checked and mentioned it that day. Also you’ve got to have Richie Benaud from Botham Headingley 1981 – “It went in to the confectionery stall and out again…”

3. Pratyush (@ps26_11)

For me, #BestCommentary All-Time – by Ravi Shastri Sir on India WC 2011 wining moment (Dhoni’s 6) ~ ” Dhoni finishes off in style..A magnificent strike into the crowd…India wins after 28 years…& it’s the Indian capt who’s been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final

Also Read: MS Dhoni and SK Raina Retire: An End of an Era

The Ian Bishop

Ian Bishop recently celebrated his 53rd birthday at the IPL. With Harsha Bhogle, Mark Nicholas, and JP Duminy, the banter among the group was hilarious!

He has had so many iconic moments in recent times, that he deserves a category by himself.

1. JustCricket (@justcricketblog)

My fav in #IPL2020 Bish, Danny M, Mark Nicholas, Sanga . All time Nasser H. Favorite moment :normally love all the 3rd man and Masterclass segments(Nasser and Murali) in sky sports. But generally I think it’s Bishop calling brathwaite and Ravi S in natwest series #bestcommentary

2. Rahul Kumar (@rahulk_1019)

Mine from ipl is AB v steyn(SRH one) 2014.. Simon doull & ramiz raja in comm… All time fav.. Bit biased, will select two: 1) Ravi shastri calling Dhoni’s six, wc 2011 final 2) Bish in manchester 2019 wc “Surely the hopes have been ignited enough for them to be extinguished!”

“Can he? Can he really?” “The dream has diminished for CB, here in manchesterrr..”

Watching late at night.. Was preparing for the exams..but couldn’t take my eyes off.. Even after the fall of 7th wkt.. For some reason didn’t switch it off… Treated with a phenomenal & memorable game.. The heart sank but was a special knock from brathwaitte..

Wow what a memory! The detail is impeccable. What would have happened had Boult dropped the catch?

Which Bish phrase is your favorite? Remember the Name“, ” The Dream is Alive”, or “The Dream is Diminished”?

The Heartbreak feat Ian Smith

1. My Favorite Commentary Highlight (@cricket_broken)
  1. Best #IPL2020 moment – Sanga-Mahela banter
  2. All-Time – “Grant Elliot – Superman! by Ian Smith

Joy for New Zealand, heartbreak for South Africa.

4 years later, heartbreak for New Zealand, joy for England. How the tables turn.

2. Arnob (@Arnobchitchats)

#BestCommentary for me is certainly by Ian Smith from CWC 2019 Final written below:-

“This is the moment – it’s Archer to Guptill. Two to win. Guptill’s got to push for two, they’ve gotta go! The throw’s gotta go to the keeper’s end. He’s got it! England have won the World Cup – by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.”#BestCommentary Chilling!

Want more New Zealand? Here is Starc’s 6-28 in that breathtaking finish.

The Critical

Not all commentary is hilarious or heartbreaking. Some commentary moments deal with serious cricketing issues.

  1. Vandit – West Indies T20 League Exodus

2011 Pakistan Vs West Indies ODI. The highlight was Michael Holding exclaiming, “I was told he played in the IPL this morning. I almost fell over. A feather duster could have knocked me over”

2. Here is another serious commentary by Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain on Muhammad Amir’s comeback following the Spot Fixing ban. Do watch the full interview here.

The Best Commentary Highlights

1. Sparsh Telang (@_cricketsparsh)

#BestCommentary Harsha Bhogle: “Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts. We are ready for the take-off.” This was when AB started his innings with a bang in one IPL match.

Did not find the exact Harsha video but here is Harsha Bhogle at his very best.

2. Tony Greig – Sharjah Sachin Tendulkar

3. YouTube – Best Commentary
4. Richie Benaud – BBC Tribute

Here is the BBC Tribute to Richie Benaud’s marvelous career, both as a player and a commentator. Here are some of his other Benaud’s other best moments.

5. My Personal Favorite – That. Is. Very. Good.

Any other videos or memories? Comment below and send us your favorite commentary highlights!

What did you think of the videos, the tweets, and the article? Please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to our blog for more such articles and follow us on twitter/facebook!

Also Read:

Sources: ICC, YouTube, IPLT20.com

Image Courtesy: Ravi Shastri – Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

My Favorite Player from Each Country: Unity In Diversity XI – #5 Will Shock You

“Is there any player you do not like?” asked a friend.

The question stumped me.

I have always remembered loving the game and enjoyed watching cricket on TV, no matter what team or player was playing. One of my fondest childhood cricketing memories was even playing a Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe Test Series with a friend although we were not from either country. We would memorize every players’ names, imitate each bowling action, and change our batting styles accordingly.

This got me thinking. Why not create A World XI with favorite players from every major cricketing nation?

Today’s Twist – Unity in Diversity:

Create a World XI squad consisting of exactly 1 player from each country. Here are the rules:

  • Pick a player from each of the 12 Test playing nations
  • Pick one more player from an Associate Nation for a total of 13 players.
  • The team should be able to field in an actual match – at least one wicketkeeper and 5 bowling options are necessary

The Catch:

The team should be diverse enough to represent any format – Test, ODI, and T20. Alastair Cook and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are two of my favorite players. Although they would be ideal candidates for an All-Time Test XI, they may struggle in the T20 era.

Who are your favorite players from each country? Comment below with your XI!

The choice for the Associate player would be interesting to see. Maybe it is from a Netherlands team that surprised England in the 2009 T20 World Cup or from the classic Kenya team from 2003? Steve Tikolo, the Obuyas, and Odoyo, remember?

Without further ado, here is my All-Time Favorite XI.

Embed from Getty Images

Unity in Diversity XI

Note, my team only consists of players from the last 20 years.

  1. Rahul Dravid (IND) The Wall—architect of India’s greatest Test victories. My Role-Model.
  2. Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) Inventor of the Dilscoop. Energetic cricketer, opener, and fielder
  3. Younis Khan (PAK) Tenacious. Beautiful Batting style, conversion rate, and studious?
  4. Ross Taylor (NZ) Does anyone have a better leg side slog? Underrated ODI player.
  5. Nicholas Pooran (WI)WK I think he is the next big talent in West Indies Cricket.
  6. Paul Collingwood (ENG) C Calm captain, good all-rounder, and best fielder of all time.
  7. Shakib Al Hasan (BAN) Bangladesh superstar and one-of the best all rounder of all-time.
  8. Ryan Ten Doeschate (NETH) Averages 67 in ODI cricket after 33 ODIs. A delight to watch.
  9. Rashid Khan (AFG) How much has he achieved already at this age? And the googlies
  10. Brett Lee (AUS) Pace, smooth action, best chainsaw celebration, and great musician
  11. Dale Steyn (SA) Best Test fast bowler? Intensity in the eyes and overseas record
  12. Brendon Taylor (ZIM) Zimbabwe’s best in the current era. Easy on the eye.
  13. Niall O’Brien (IRE) Starred in the upset vs Pakistan in 2007 WC. Love his commentary!

Honorable Mentions

This was a really tough exercise. Maybe even harder than All-Time Test or ODI XIs. Here are just some of the others I considered.

  • INDDinesh Karthik, Mohammad Kaif, Robin Uthappa, and the Golden Generation – Sachin/Sehwag/VVS/Ganguly/Zaheer/Harbhajan/Yuvraj/Raina/MSD
  • SL – Sangakkara-Jayawardene and the M Factor – Mendis, Malinga, Murali
  • Pak – Mohammad Yousuf, Babar Azam, and numerous bowlers including the recently retired Umar Gul
  • NZ: How does one not like every player from New Zealand? Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Dan Vettori, and all the rest. Lockie Ferguson – KKR fans?
  • WI – Chanderpaul, Brian Lara, the Universe Boss, and captain Darren Sammy
  • ENG – Marcus Trescothick, Cook, Ian Bell, Jimmy Anderson, Jos Buttler, KP
  • BAN – The Fab Five
  • Associate Nations – Coetzer/Sharif (Scotland)
  • AFG – Mohammad Nabi
  • AUS – Adam Gilchrist
  • SA – Faf Du Plessis, AB De Villiers, Amla, Graeme Smith, Kallis, Morne Morkel, Quinton de Kock
  • ZIM – Tatenda Taibu, Andy Blignaut
  • IRE – Kevin O’Brien, Tim Murtagh, Porterfield, and Eoin Morgan (oops different country now)
Embed from Getty Images

Reflection

I love underdog stories and love discussing cricket at every opportunity.

Whether it is the IPL or a hard fought day of test cricket, The Ashes or the India-Pakistan rivalry, a World Cup Final or the group stage of a qualifying tournament, women’s or men’s cricket, be assured, I will be following.

Diversity is such a beautiful thing. It is completely okay to be a fan of various different players from different countries. As long as the on-field battle is competitive, the game is fair, sportsmanship moments are abundant, and cricket continues to grow, that is all we need.

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON CRICKET, COMMENT Below on your All-Time Favorites, and SUBSCRIBE!

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Sources: Vandit (Friend), cricket.com.au, IPLT20.com

Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Sachin Tendulkar – British High Commission, New Delhi, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Top 7 Most Popular Cricket Videos

This week in our segment, Cricket ABCs -For New Future Fans, we will relive some of the most popular cricket videos in the last decade. The goal of this section is to try to explain the game of cricket to your new friends. And the best way to explain is by Videos.

Last time, we went over the rules of cricket. So now, let us learn cricket by watching some videos in different categories – fielding, bowling, and batting.

We are only using videos over the last 10 years for two reasons: (1) since the game has evolved over the years, and (2) enhanced video quality.

Below each video is a description and the number of views on YouTube (and still rising) for your reference. Here is my compilation of the most popular cricket videos.

Comment below on your favorite videos, and share this with new fans who are trying to learn cricket. Enjoy!

Videos

1. Best Catches – WC 2019 Edition

Starting where we left off in our last article over Best Fielders, we relive some of the best catches of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. There were diving catches, acrobatic boundary efforts, wicket-keeper excellence, and much more.

Views: 10 million

2. Best Yorkers – WC 2019 Edition

Moving on to bowling. One of the ways of getting batsmen out is by hitting the wickets, known as – ‘bowled.’ The most pleasing way for a bowled is for a toe-crushing ‘yorker.’ Enjoy this video on the Best Yorkers from the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Views: 20 million

3. Mitchell Johnson – Bouncer Compilation

Continuing with bowling, we look at the ‘Bouncer.’ This is a tactic used by bowlers to intimidate the batsman, and in the process, driving a mistake out of them. Mitchell Johnson in 2013-14 became one of the best and scariest bowlers, when he single-handedly destroyed a generation of the English team.

Views: 1.7 million

4. Biggest Sixes – WC 2019 Edition

Moving to batting. While bowlers and fielders try to restrict the number of runs the batting team can score, the batting team tries to score as many as possible. The most runs that a team can get from one ball is from a six, when the ball goes out of the stadium without bouncing. Here are the biggest sixes from the 2019 cricket world cup.

Views: 4.6 million

5. Dinesh Karthik’s Day Out

This one is also batting excellence. One of the best viewings of a cricket match happens when a game is thriller. This video is on a T20 game, where after 4 hours, there was little to separate the two sides. Bangladesh were ahead with just about 15 minutes to go in the Final of the Nidahas Trophy, when Dinesh Karthik scripted a once-in-a-lifetime comeback.

Views: 98.9 million (Let us see if we can take to a 100 million views!)

6. Dinesh Karthik Part II

Oh and that was not the end. You thought 98 million is a lot. How about 169 million views and counting? Watch Dinesh Karthik seal the tournament final with a last ball six.

7. The Most Epic Ending of All

Speaking of last-ball thrillers, how about leave the best for last? World Cup Final Super Over tie. For all the non-cricketing fans, both the actual match and the overtime, called the Super Over, were tied.

Ian Smith, the commentator, summarized it best, “7 weeks of cricket, 48 games, and one ball.”

Views: 6.7 million

For this final, you can also watch the entire highlights here (33 million), the final over here (33 million), and just the Super Over here (7.8 million)

What are your favorite cricket memories? Comment below, share, and subscribe!

Sources: YouTube-2019 Cricket World Cup, ICC- What is Cricket?, YouTube-Cricket Australia, YouTube – Sri Lanka Cricket