Why Has Cricket Failed to Become a Global Sport?

Why Has Cricket Failed to Become a Global Sport?

Cricket is one of the oldest sports but why has Cricket failed to become a global sport considering the game’s popularity in the countries the game is played.


Why Has Cricket Failed to Become a Global Sport



Presented By: Raghunath Nair

Date: 17/07/2023


Cricket started in the late 16th century and became a fully established sport in the 18th century.

Cricket is traditionally a colonial sport and the game spread due to colonisation by the English.

To spread the game, International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s governing and administrating body created the tier system and the affiliate member status structure.

For national teams who lacked the infrastructure and the level of the game at Test Level, an associate nation program was created to build the game and spread the game in other countries. Countries like USA, UAE, Qatar, Thailand etc are currently under the associate nations program. There are more than 90 Affiliate Members, who are developing their game to eventually aim to play in the senior level game in the future

While varied cultures collide when all the Cricket playing nation play together at the Cricket world cup, the game has not seen growth considering its popularity.

Cricket in Global Sports

ICC controls Cricket and while they have done extremely well controlling the growth within theCricket in Global Sports commonwealth, their lack of promotion of the sport in non-commonwealth countries have been the reason why the game has not grown globally. In contrast FIFA has been extremely successful in globalising Football.

This may change very soon for Cricket with the T20 format being popular and highly in demand.

Cricket was never spread in the sport friendly European countries and if ICC can focus to spread the game in the European region and build a tournament around it this can develop the sports drastically.

Why Cricket has failed to spread across the globe

Cricket is made up of complex set of rules which becomes difficult for a novice to understand and appreciate the game. Cricket in comparison is not as a popular game or as well funded as the American Football which cripples the growth of the sport to spread in new territories.

The Length of the game – A definite Road block

Test Match

Test Match cricketTest matches take a total of 5 days with no guarantee of a result. Very few Cricket playing teams can boast of high-quality squad for this format. Stadiums are empty even on the first day of the Test Match in some games which reflects the lack of popularity in this format. While the commentators and ex-players proclaim that the 5-day format is the ultimate format in the game, the reality is, it is not the most popular. This is another typical colonial mindset which do not want to let go and continue the traditional approach even when the writing is on the wall.

 One day International:

Another format which was very popular in the 80s to the beginning of the new century has now become aOne day International cricket slow and boring format to watch for the average Cricket fan. Only a multination tournament like the Worldcup has helped to maintain interest level for this format. The patience of spending the entire day to watch an Eight-to-Nine-hour game is missing today.

The 2023 Cricket Worldcup is the 50 over ODI format to be played in India and we can hardly see any interest being built apart from the India vs Pakistan Clash. It helps us wonder why ICC puts India and Pakistan in the same group. The fact is, this is just a desperate attempt to attract audience to a dying format.

Twenty Over International:

What started as an experiment has given this age-old sport a new lease of life and has taken the sport by storm in the last decade and currently the most popular format in the game of cricket.

Twenty Over International-cricketBecause of the format, the length of the game allows the 4-hour game to be entertaining and fun to watch. Even a local game garners packed crowds in the stadium only proves that the new age audience prefer sport in the shortest format.

With its popularity, the game has now also moved to a franchise sport tournament similar to the EPL along with the regular international games.

ICC should now do an introspection on the future of the game and wonder why T20, soccer, Basketball or Tennis are the most watched sport.

T20 Format makes more money than Tests and ODI combined. Sports board and players earn more which helps the sport to spread its wings in non-playing nationsT20 Format cricket

T20 World cup in future should see more teams participating and an increase in the global Cricket viewership. This will help the game to spread in nations which cannot compete in Test or ODI but can be competitive in the shortest format.

Why Cricket could not penetrate into other global sports market

Why Cricket could not penetrate into other global sports marketAll the major global outdoor sports are played in a diamond shape or rectangular shape ground and Cricket is played in a round or oval shaped ground with bigger dimensions. If Cricket needs to spread, the game should be able to be played in existing stadiums which is big enough to play the game of Cricket.

Soccer on the other hand, grew in America as it could be played inSoccer existing American Football stadium, similarly, some of the late bloomer sports like Rugby or American Football has gained popularity in recent times in many countries because it can be played in the existing Football stadiums.

Popular sports like Basketball and Football are time bound sports played within a fixed time. This allows the sport to be attacking and defensive and both teams need to play under the clock limitation making the game interesting.

basketball and foot ballEven a limited over Cricket game gets into overtime and the game becomes boring when the game is played to complete the stipulated overs.




 Rules in cricket are complex and makes it difficult for the Football or Basketball fan to follow the game.

Still considered a colonial sport, the ICC has to be blamed for this negative sport impression. The game has not been marketed enough to even make it to the Olympics while some redundant sports still make it to the list of games in the Olympics. If ICC can manage to bring Cricket to the Olympics, the game will see an upward trend in expansion

While other sports like Football and Basketball is spreading its wings, Cricket’s dilemma is borne out of historical constraints.

The long format of the game was one of the major reasons for lack of growth of Cricket till now.

Cricket is not an all-weather sport and the game comes to a halt if conditions are not favourable leaving a bad taste with the audience who would be disappointed if the game is hampered by weather.

Slow but a definite growth in Cricket expansion is being witnessed now

While it will be unfair to say that Cricket is not expanding. New countries have embraced the game in the Women’s game t-20 formatrecent past like USA, countries from the middle east, countries from the African and European continent. This is purely because of the T20 format which was missing earlier. While the potential for growth of the sport has opened up, the growth in Cricket expansion is still not at speed.

Women’s game, is another great advertisement for the future of global Cricket.


Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after soccer in terms of viewership. The latter has around four billion fans, while the number of spectators who enjoy Cricket is estimated to be 2.5 billion.

Nevertheless, Cricket still struggles to influence new countries as millions still consider it as a rich colonial sport and thus played in limited countries.

The Popularity of the T20 format has influenced a positive change in the sport. The format has allowed theThe popularity of t-20 format women’s Cricket to be as popular as the men’s sport which will now help the growth of the sport globally.

The game did not take off in Europe due to the slow pace of the game which can now be corrected with the T20 or may be even a shorter format.

Also, Cricket powerhouse has now shifted from UK to India which will also help the game to grow and be more flexible to change and cater to the growing demand of the sports.

Cricket needs to be included into the Olympics as soon as possible for the sports to grow

Also, while Football allows 30+ countries to participate in the Football worldcup, Cricket restricts only 8 to 10 teams to play the Cricket world cup. This needs to immediately change and the game should allow more teams to participate in the worldcup.

From the Editor’s Desk -The influence of Cricket in the Indian culture and society.

In India, Cricket plays a huge role on the culture and society as a whole. Cricket is followed by millions and they influence the audience in their everyday life.

Fashion, music, movies all get influenced by Cricket. Even motivational videos made by corporates to motivate their employees use Cricket as their tool.

Today major brand endorsements are done either by a Cricketer or a movie star. The game of Cricket and the apparels worn during the game too inspires a range of fashion trends

Cricket is religion and caste neutral and players play the game together which helps the ability bring people together breaking down barriers of race and nationality.

Cricketers act as tool to bring social change. for example, India fought the negativity around vaccination by prominent Cricketers coming on media to help the government educate people on the vaccine and its importance. This helped in smooth process of vaccinating the entire nation in record time.

Cricket has influenced Gender neutrality in sports and equal importance is now given to the women’s sport as it is to the men’s sports.

We at Supersports360 believe there was a deliberate attempt in the past to maintain the sport as a colonial sport. With the popularity of the T20 format and with Indian Cricket Board being the new Power House of cricket, there will be an additional pressure on BCCI who is also to be blamed for not doing enough to globalise the sport.

Cricket in Global Sports 2

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