When I first moved to Australia in '97 I had just assumed that, having been an American Football
fan my whole life I would naturally make Rugby my main adopted sport while living Down Under.
It came as quite a surprise when, after having lived in Australia for a year or so, I had to admit that
it was the esoteric sport of Cricket that had most won my heart. I'll never forget the first time I
witnessed the true drama this wonderful sport could provide. I was at the home of a friend of mine
(Matt Tenney), and in typical Aussie fashion, and with a consideration of the fact that even a "One
Dayer" can last many hours, he had the cricket match on the telly as if merely background noise.
As the match (and this was a One Dayer) progressed into the later overs I began asking more and
more questions of my friend in order to determine just what it was I was seeing. After grasping
basic knowledge of what was playing out before me, I asked my friend how could this ever prove to
be interesting or exciting when it happened over such a long number of hours with endless,
seemingly pointless bowls (pitches), and relatively little scoring. He nonchalantly said that even
after all of that, a match could, and often did come down to the last over (six bowls). I could hardly
believe that was true until I continued to watch the match as just exactly that happened. Wow!
This was an amazing sport! Complex, cerebral, gentlemanly, steeped in tradition and history,
exotic, highly competitive, international, and often requiring the patience of Job (good things
come to those that wait)! I was hooked. And I continued to watch and attend Cricket matches
throughout my time in Australia. Of course since moving back to the States it's been difficult to
continue feeding my craving for cricket. While Fox Sports World occasionally has cricket news (via
it's Sky Sports programming), it's coverage of play is minimal and usually consists of heavily edited
versions of matches which were played 5 and 6 years prior. Obviously that doesn't cut it. My other
option is to keep an eye on the pay-per-view cricket which is occasionally offered through my Dish
Network satellite programming. Unfortunately there are a couple of major hurdles here as well.
Firstly, it's very expensive; often $300 for a series of ODIs and 3 or 4 Tests! Secondly, the company
that provides the packages to Dish Network are Indian and therefore rarely offer programming that
features teams outside of the subcontinent. No doubt the cricket shown is good, interesting
cricket but I'm an Aussie fan, and I can't justify spending big $ if I can't see my boys! I'm hoping
that as television/internet technology continues to improve and become more accessible we
cricket fans here in North America can find better and cheaper ways of watching the game.
Test Cricket vs One Day Cricket
Within the world of cricket there are two types of competition; Test Cricket and One Day Cricket.
Test Cricket is the pure sport of cricket which has been played internationally for well over 100
years. While an explanation of play or rules would be far too much to get into here, let it suffice
to say that Test Cricket is the higher level of cricket and normally takes about 4 days of play to
complete a match. Normally a team will "tour" another country playing a handful of matches over
several weeks against the home country's side.
One Day Cricket, or One Day Internationals (ODIs) are the other version of cricket played
amongst the cricketing nations. This form of cricket was formally developed in the 1970's in
order to help cricket become more accessible and media friendly by cutting the time a match
would take to complete to a single day. This is done primarily by limiting the number of overs (1
over=6 bowls [or pitches]) to 50 for each side. This form of cricket has proven quite successful and
marketable throughout the cricket playing world. The pinnacle of One Day Cricket is the World
Cup. Like soccer and rugby, the cricket World Cup is held once every four years and includes
sides from almost all cricket playing nations. Though the dominant sides are limited to the same
countries which dominate Test Cricket (Australia, West Indies, England, South Africa, India,
Pakistan, New Zealand, Sir Lanka, Zimbabwe), even nations who threaten no one, such as
Canada, have the opportunity to compete at the World Cup. The most recent World Cup, held
two years ago in South Africa, saw Australia win the Cup for the second time in a row.
Australia Dominates '07 World Cup