Cricket is a very popular sport here in India. Even though Hockey is our national game, cricket is more followed and idolized. People are so sentimental about cricket that they don’t go to offices, in fact some private companies have half days or sometimes full day off when India is playing. People literally go crazy when India has a match with Pakisthan - a country with whom we have had three wars in the past. I don’t have the exact figures but I am pretty sure that the matches have always militated against India’s GDP for that particular day :P
My grandfather was a Ranji player and my mother was in the state cricket team representing Rajasthan. Yet I was not that great in cricket, in fact I was bad, really really bad. I was bad in Basketball and Football too and now when I see this pattern it seems like I was bad in every team sport, probably I am not a team player (more about that later). I wasn’t bad in badminton, squash and swimming, I loved games where I could perform by my self which is a typical characteristic of an introvert when I had my last introspection (by the way introverts are not shy people, see this)
What I am about to say now might offend a lot of people and the only follower of this blog (My Mother). So mom I think that out of the twenty two players in a game of cricket, at a particular instance of time effectively less than 60% players are playing - rest are not even on the ground. Taking a one day match for example - there are 50 overs, which means around 300 balls. If the shots are played in such a way that every fielder gets a fair chance to field then each fielder gets 30 shots to save (300/10, excluding the bowler). A single session would last for around 3 hours (10800 seconds). An average shot takes round about 8 seconds, this is the time that it takes for the ball to hit the bat, saved by the fielder and back to either the bowler or the keeper. So effectively a fielder plays for around 2.2% (30*8/10800) of the game time. In the whole game the players are not playing for more than 97% of the time. Interestingly in other sports the players can run behind the balls as it travels at much lower speeds, on the other hand in cricket the ball is much smaller, travels faster and you have to catch it with your bare hands. Ultimately the fielder has to wait for the ball to slow down and come into his hands.
Ok, so fielding isn’t that exciting I get it but what about batting? As far as batting is concerned I agree that the players do spend a decent amount of energy trying to hit the ball and take runs. Even so - what would happen if all the runs are scored by just two top batsmen? Others don’t get to play which is one of the reasons I never got a chance to bat much :( But again batting is more based on technique and less based on strength. Practically it is not possible to predict the path of the ball in such a short duration of time. The batsman can only anticipate the path of the ball and take a chance by positioning their bats in a way they feel will be appropriate. Which is good for them because now if they get out they have no reason to blame themselves for not hitting the ball properly because its technically impossible for the human nervous system to work at such a speed.
People still love cricket and I am getting bored because I can’t watch my favorite programs on the discovery channel. IPL was streamed on TV for two months and now its the challenger cup. I can’t seem to understand why people don’t get bored with cricket. Veritasium2 has a theory about it, check it out -