Is there such a thing as too much cricket?
This is a question that plagued me quite recently. This is also perhaps not a very bright move considering that I was absent for sometime The question lingered during the last IPL Champions League trophy. I was delighted to see my fellow countrymen from Trinidad & Tobago playing this tournament, yet my desire to watch them diminished rapidly.
Sad, but true, my passion for the gentleman’s game was fading so fast that I chose to watch a couple episodes of Ray Donovan instead (great show, I strongly recommend it!). Am I being harsh? Are we playing too much cricket? Could this be the reason why the Proteas haven’t had Jacque Kallis in their squad for some time?
The problem starts with money. There is loads of money in cricket at the moment. An endorsement deal for marquee player goes beyond 1 bar sometimes. The money varies with each cricketing format. Test cricket pays the least and of course the shortest format, T20 pays the most. Almost every upcoming cricketer has a desire to play for their country. Yet the generation of cricketers we are stuck with now, would much rather desire to play in the IPL or the big bash in an effort to get a pay-out they would never have got in any other scenario.
The short term benefits are more than substantial. We have premiere cricketers getting pampered and treated like royalty for a 4 week period playing occasional games. The compromise is the remainder of the year. The test & ODI calendar gets compromised even further with the absence of premiere bowlers and batsmen. The unions have come into great scrutiny by not realising the length of time selected players are away and loading their coffers. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s their job at the end of the day. But the last time I checked, Cricket was a seasonal sport in which the fans looked forward to. The television and endorsement deals are meaningless to the man on the street. The man on the street wants to see a remarkable innings or a fantastic spell…. not the number of 6’s in a tournament.
I am certainly hoping that India will tour SA at the end of the year, much like the rest of SA. This request is neither for money nor fame, just for a great match between 2 teams that do not understand the concept of losing. The age old rivalries are what ignite the passion from cricketing fans. Gone are the days of an Atherton vs Donald or the Triangular in Oz at the beginning of the year. We are basically manufacturing short term cricketing careers with hybrid teams playing for a quick buck.
Passion is as fluid as water. I will retain my passion for cricket at some point. However, our cricketing heroes may soon realise that purity will eventually eclipse the need for endorsements or makeshift man of the match awards. To the agreeing sports fan or the pro-endorsement advocate, please go ahead and submit your comments below