Cricket unites nations


Photo courtesy Bahnfrend

Virat Kohli batting for India, on his way to leading India to a win, against United Arab Emirates during their 2015 Cricket World Cup match at the WACA Ground in Perth, Australia. The hosting nation, Australia, beat India in the semifinal round.

The hearts of 1.2 billion people dropped when India lost to Australia, the eventual world champions, in the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup on March 26.

The ICC Cricket World Cup included 14 teams that competed, with entire nations taking off from work, throwing parties, and supporting their teams regardless of wins or losses. Cricket embodies a unification among everyone in nations, whether they are avid fans or just paying attention to this tournament.

Even though cricket is not one of the popular sports in America, there are still a few leagues. Many individuals create leagues or game times for those interested to join and have some fun at the pitch. It can be played on any ground that can bounce a ball.

However, American cricket coverage has increased. ESPN offered a package to watch every ICC game and did a “30 for 30” on Sachin Tenduklar, who is almost like a cricket god in India.

The Cricket World Cup, held every four years, is arranged in a fashion similar to the Soccer World Cup. There is group play followed by elimination rounds that range from the quarterfinals to the final championship round.

A match includes a limit of 50 continuous overs of a single team batting with six balls, or pitches, per over. An over is a set where the bowler must remain the same. There is a limit of 50 overs in this World Cup to keep time limited. Matches with unlimited overs usually last around 3-4 days.

Alongside a limit in overs, the World Cup also has a limited amount of outs a team can receive. Only 10 men can bat so there are only 10 wickets, or outs.

After one team finishes batting, there is a 30-45 minute break before the opposing team gets the opportunity to bat. The break provides time for players to rest, eat, and drink a little in between the 4-7 hour match. That team has the responsibility of chasing the opposing team’s run total. The game may result in a tie if both teams have an equal number of runs.

The World Cup this year ended on March 29, with Australia beating New Zealand by seven wickets.

In participating countries, the hype of the Cricket World Cup is a mix of those of the major sports championships of the Super Bowl, Olympics, and the Soccer World Cup. It captures participating nations’ attention like the Super Bowl, combined with the nationalism brought out in the Olympics, and the international attention of the Soccer World Cup.

Entire nations eat, breathe, and play cricket during the World Cup. Kids and adults can be seen on the streets playing cricket when there are no games occurring while the tournament is in session.

Cricket seems like a simple sport to play in the backyard because you need is a ball and stick. However, playing at a competitive level with the best of the best, just as any other sport, presents a difficult challenge.

With an average game lasting at least four hours, the match is stretched out. Most view the middle overs as unimportant and a waste of time with teams playing conservatively, but this is untrue. Entire games can be won or lost in these overs. The strategies must be pin-point during these middle overs to ensure a shot at victory in the closing overs where teams let loose.

Even if strategies are executed perfectly, you can never account for luck. In many cricket games, especially during big upsets, luck determines the outcome more so than strategy.

No matter how much preparation a coaching staff does, there always seems to be one cricketer who rises above and beyond his previous performances and reaches a pinnacle of his career. These heroes inspire nations and keep dreams alive for the fans and hope for the kids that in the future it might be them.

In all of the countries competing, you won’t find a kid who hasn’t played cricket while the World Cup is happening. The game is quickly gaining momentum worldwide, with the ICC debating on extending the tournament to include more teams.

There are billions who go out and enjoy this sport supporting their country in an international level, so why shouldn’t Americans? America is the best country in the world, why not be the best at cricket too? Go out, get a cricket bat and tennis ball and start practicing, maybe America will compete in ICC World Cup 2019 and you’ll be on the team.

Kishan Patel is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and