Cricket, a beloved sport by over 2.5 billion people worldwide originated in England and then swept across Asia, inspiring a sensation amongst subcontinent fans. Legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli dominated our screens, fueling our love for this game due to its endurance, strategy, and sportsmanship. One of cricket's unique charms is its versatility – it can be played with any number of players, anywhere, and with modified rules that suit the playing conditions. You can enjoy this sport in your backyard, in gullies, on turf, or in any area of your choice.
The ICC, or International Cricketing Council, which is the highest governing body in the sport, recognizes Test Matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals as the three cricket formats for international matches, each of which has its own charm, set of rules, and characteristics.
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The pinnacle of the sport, test cricket format, is a real test of players' mental and physical prowess. As Virat Kohli says, this is the best way to play the sport. Players compete against one another on the pitch in a game of skill and strategy over the course of five days, which requires them to maintain unwavering concentration, discipline, and stamina.
What makes these matches so exciting and unique is the possibility of having a game drawn even after playing and competing recklessly for 5 days. This uniqueness of the sport has given us some of the best moments and given birth to the legends that we get the most inspiration from.
Whether to bat out an entire day to draw a test match, or bowl a team out on the final day of the match, these matches are filled with thrilling moments that keep fans on the edge of their seats all the time.
Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and Alastair Cook have been some of the biggest legends to play the sport.
Modern batsmen, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, and Kane Williamson are all part of the elite Fab Four, currently considered the four best batsmen in this format. Though Babar Azam from Pakistan is a shout for addition in this list, making it the Fab Five.
Apart from this test match rivalries are one of the most entertaining aspects of this sport. The Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia, the Ashes between England and Australia, or domestic tournaments like County Cricket in England and the Ranji Trophy Tournament in India, are some of the top series that have kept the essence and excitement for this old fashioned way alive.
The One International, or the ODI cricket format is played over 50 overs per side, holds a special place in the hearts of fans, especially when it comes to the prestigious event of the World Cup. Watching India win the World Cup in 2011 is still a moment that gives Indians goosebumps. India were crowned champions of this great form of the sport after 28 years!
These matches, played throughout the day, are filled with every aspect of the game, including strategy, skill, and athleticism of the players, combined with entertainment and thrills for the fans. It tests the dedication and discipline of the players. The discipline with which bowlers bowl, the patience with which batsmen bat, and the calculated risk that they take all matter when you play for success in this format. The team that has the will to win and is ready to push their limits always succeeds in this format!
One such example of this dedication is the faceoff between South Africa and Australia in 2006.
Australia in the first innings set a total of 434, which was the highest total at the time. Nobody would’ve thought that there was anything left in the match. But South Africa was prepared for it! What a fightback! They chased down the target, scoring 438 while also setting the record for the highest score in the format, leaving the kangaroos heartbroken twice in the same day!
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Let me ask you a question, What’s the most exciting thing about the sport?
I am certain that everyone’s answer to this question is watching players hit sixes, bowlers bowl those pinpoint yorkers in the death overs, last ball nail biting finishes, watching super overs, everything!
I just described T20s in a couple of words! This is the newest cricket format in the sport’s history and has taken the world by storm. T20 has become a fan favorite given its high-octane, quick-paced action.
Shorter than the ODIs, with only 20 overs for each team and every match not more than 3 hours long, T20 is a package of complete entertainment for all fans.
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At this time, it is probably the most popular way of the game among the audience, as it is being played by all 105 registered countries. The newer audience wants immense suspense and thrills in a short time, and this format provides them with that. With the arrival of the IPL (Indian Premier League) in 2008, followed by similar leagues in other countries like the PSL in Pakistan, CPL in the West Indies and the BBL in Australia, the franchise leagues started gaining popularity. These leagues are enjoyed by a wider audience. This game is a twenty-first-century innovation that rose to popularity in the first decade itself; that's the potential this form of the sport has.
Everyone in the cricket community can find something to enjoy thanks to the game's varied forms. While ODIs strike a balance between strength and resilience, Tests highlight the grit and patience of the players and T20Is put creativity and energy front and centre. The modern game caters to all viewer's preferences, from the thrill of a batsman saving their wicket until the conclusion of Day 5 in a Test match to the excitement of high-scoring T20Is with plenty of boundaries. Further diversity is provided by other well-liked forms including the ten-over and three-day domestic matches. In order to keep the audience amused, different cricket formats have the flexibility and resilience to overcome obstacles. Let's share the happiness and excitement that this game offers to the world as fans.