OPINION

Yep! There is Too Much Cricket

April 26, 2006
Aditya Kuber

India has had a hectic couple of years. As have the other top teams. Everyone wants to see you in action. But isn't that the price to pay for being good? So you play.

To be honest, it's not too different from a football club. Take Manchester United for example. In an average month, they play 4 EPL (English Premier League) matches and as the season progresses, European duty starts as do other domestic tournaments like the FA Cup. In the thick of it, they sometimes play as many as 10 matches in a month. And if they do better in a tournament like the Champions League, then more matches. But roughly, at the peak of the season, it's more like a match every third day or so.

Now, which tournament is their main focus? They all are. There's a price on winning. Each player gets only 12 years or so to have a go at winning as many tournaments as he can for his team. This, actually, applies to almost all sports. There are tennis players who play from January 1 to December 25. And again, the better they play, the more they have to play.

While you would say comparisons are not fair because while tennis and football matches can last at the most 3-5 hours and that too, once a year, maybe, cricket matches are routinely 8-hour affairs. True.

Let's take the team in focus: India.

From August 2005, they have played the following matches:
India in Zimbabwe: Aug-Sep 05 - 2 Tests (Ind won 2-0)
Sri Lanka in India: Oct-Nov 05 - 7 ODIs (6-1 Ind) and 3 Tests (2-0 Ind)
South Africa in India: Nov-Dec 05 - 5 ODIs (Ind 2-2 SA)
India in Pakistan: Jan 05-Feb 06 - 3 Tests (1-0 Pak) and 5 ODIs (4-1 Ind)
England in India: Mar-Apr 06 - 3 Tests (Ind 1-1 Eng) and 7 ODIs (5-1 Ind)
India v Pakistan (Abu Dhabi): 2 ODIs (Ind 1-1 Pak)

This makes it a grand total of 11 Tests and 26 ODIs (2 of which were abandoned).
Hours played (estimated): 330 hrs (Tests) presuming each Test lasted 5 days; 6 hrs each + 182 hrs (ODI); 7 hrs per match.

Total on-field hours: 512 hrs. Sure there's travelling and off-field activities and practise that needs to be considered and it definitely is a big part of the game. But assuming teams like Manchester Utd and players like Roger Federer are also travelling just as much and practising the same amount, let's leave that out.

Also, a player is not necessarily on field throughout the match. There are times when his team is batting and he is in the pavilion. Especially in ODIs. So let's assume each player spends half of this time on the field: That's 256 hrs = 11 days roughly. That is, on-field only. No breaks. No time to waste! Play!

Man Utd, since August 2005 has played:
UEFA Champions League: 7 matches (including qualifying)
FAPL: 34 matches (Premier League up to their last match against Tottenham on Apr 17)
Carling Cup: 6 (including the final that they won)
FA Challenge Cup: 4 matches

Total matches (till August 17; next match on Aug 29): 51 matches
Assuming each has lasted no more than 90 minutes, that's 76.5 hrs. That's about 3 days and 4 hours. No breaks. Run. Score. Dive!

Again, the reason I have not looked at some of the top players is because they do take a break from time to time--like Dravid did for 2 matches and Dhoni did--so consider that a constant. In the end, though, when you look at the numbers, they say that an Indian cricketer would play 11 days consecutively as against 3 days for a EPL player and the difference in monies is massive.

So based on numbers, there definitely is too much cricket!

Aditya Kuber (a.k.a. The Scribbler) thinks he is a writer. Based in Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune, he can also be found blogging at Scribbler On The Net.
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#1
Sujatha
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April 26, 2006
07:49 AM

Aditya, you say the difference in numbers is massive (I assume b/w soccer and cricket). How so?

#2
Aditya Kuber
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April 26, 2006
07:51 AM

The numbers you refer to: Monies or play days? Monies because the deals soccer players get (only salaries) normally run into millions of dollars per year as against the cricketers and too Indian, get far less... will dig exact numbers and post soon.

#3
Aaman
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April 26, 2006
11:18 AM

There is too much cricket on DC too, but don't let that stop you:)

#4
temporal
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April 26, 2006
12:23 PM

too much cricekting excuse coming from cricketers sounds like 'whining' according to street fighter javed miandad, as reported the other day

for the sake of comparison the professional sports players here command milllion dollar plus salaries

the number of regular season games are:

NBA 82 games
NHL 82 games
MLB 162 games
NFL 16 games

#5
deepti lamba
URL
April 26, 2006
01:10 PM

Yeah, too much cricketing and little studying. All those kids who sit in front of the idiot box watching some guys running after a ball need to get a life.

Now you all can beat me up for being a cricket hater;)

#6
BangaloreGuy
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April 26, 2006
01:14 PM

Here's my definition of too much cricket:

The moment I start thinking "Didnt they just finish a series? God! do I have to hit the cricket sites again?!"

Generally a gap of 2 weeks (between tours/series) is minimum, a month would be optimum. Anything less than 2 weeks is killing viewer interest, IMO.

#7
Sujatha
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April 26, 2006
01:34 PM

After many years of being able watch cricket only sporadically, I'm just loving all the cricket and am frankly annoyed that there will be no matches until the first week of May.

#8
Aditya Kuber
URL
April 26, 2006
10:05 PM

Er Sujatha... India plays again on May 18!
@ Aaman: You break my heart! ;)

#9
Sujatha
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April 26, 2006
10:51 PM

Oh no! I thought it was the first week!

#10
sami
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April 27, 2006
01:40 AM

the day must come when there will be many more teams in cricket than what we presently have. the domestic cricket might get as interesting as the internationals; india may field 4-5 teams for international cricket. on that day, we can watch cricket through out the year, players can have their share of the rest too.

#11
mayank
URL
April 29, 2006
03:13 AM

U can't compare soccer and cricket. On a soccer feild you hardly see any one but the keepers out of the 22 players still, while in cricket, 9 players are cooling thier heels in the dressing room half the time of the match.

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