It should come as no surprise to cricket fans, but this historic game has seen many different changes over the years that have led to new eras in the sport. In modern times, the sport must compete against many others, as well as new technological distractions and the changing interests of the younger demographics. To help bring cricket into the new age, there have been many proposals that aim to make the game safer for athletes, or increase international participation. Here are some of those proposals, and the reasoning behind them.
One of the proposed changes with safety in mind is the length of the cricket season. Over the years, we’ve heard complaints from numerous players like Jackson Bird and Chris Lynn, as well as coaches. Many people feel that the overall season length should be shortened. This echoes a trend we are seeing in numerous sports, notably football.
It has often been said that the human body was not designed to withstand the kind of physical demands required of footballers to play at the elite level. Still, these athletes endure season after season. While cricket may not have as much cardio exercise required as in football, it still has a large impact on the athlete’s physical wellness, as all sports do. It’s been proposed that shortening the length of the cricket season could be beneficial overall.
Create a Global Cricket League
If cricket truly wants to take a bigger market share of professional sports away from competitors like football, it would do well to have more nations participating on any level. One such lofty aspiration would be a competitive international or global cricket league. This could potentially include the top four teams from the Indian Premier League, combined with national teams from other countries, or the best teams from other leagues.
The fact is, eight teams per league is simply not enough in the eyes of many fans and analysts. For cricket to expand, an international league could help bring talent from around the world and in turn create new, growing markets in many countries. This is an interesting concept that has been floating around for some time, and it makes a lot of sense, though it will have to overcome some challenges to come to fruition. However, investors are often looking for growing markets and cricket could adopt a more sponsorship-friendly approach like football to make this happen.
More International Competitions
Cricket is not an Olympic sport, and true international competitions are rare. The Cricket World Cup happens every four years, with 2019 being the most recent, but in between there is a lot of room for other competitions. India has been a growing power in the sport for some time, and smaller countries and leagues can gain a lot by having more regular exposure to the Indian playstyle. Overall, competition is good for the fans and for the players.
Team Size Increase and Substitutions
In most team sports, there are substitutions and 2nd strings. This means that a team may have its starting lineup of their best talent, but other players come in to relieve them as the match goes on. Cricket is often criticized for its lack of substitute players and its relatively small team sizes. This is yet another suggestion that is aimed at not only making the sport safer and increasing the longevity of players, but also making the matches more exciting as players get to rest and regain their full energy. If a change like this were to take effect, this would also expand the size of teams and leagues around the world which could very well have a ripple effect that increases participation and viewership.
Past Changes Have Been Beneficial
In the past, many changes have been made in the cricket system that have been very beneficial for the sport overall. One recent change that has had a big impact was the agreement to go to a decision review system (DRS) for questionable calls on the pitch. Like western baseball, calls by the officials were often considered a part of the game, for better or worse. However, this is the superior option and it has made the sport better for fans and participants alike. There are many ways the sport of cricket can be expanded to bring new energy into such a great game.