Cricket vs Football: A Comprehensive Comparison

Sports are a cultural phenomenon that bring joy to the face of billions of people. They play a significant role in uniting communities, vanishing differences, and winning hearts of millions. Among all of the sports in the world, the two biggest games have amassed billions of lovers and supporters worldwide are Football and Cricket. Fans always keep debating which sport is the better one and very few rivalries are as intense as the battle between these two giants. One sport has a global reach and gives fans a high-octane entertainment, while the other is known for its tradition and strategic gameplay. 

A Collage of Cristiano Ronaldo kicking a football on the left and Virat Kohli playing a cricket shot on the left

Credit: Reuters, News18

In this chapter of Football vs Cricket by ZAP, let’s compare the two sports and find out how each game is beautiful in itself. 

The History of Football and Cricket:

The origin of football can be traced back to centuries earlier. It was a mere ball kicking game back then, but now has evolved into one of the world's more dynamic and modern games. The first records suggest that the sport was first played in the medieval times in villages of England. The craze grew, and it spread to all of Europe and eventually to the European colonies (Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America, and the French Colonies in Africa). Ever since then, the game has been growing and has become extremely popular around the world. The game modernized in the 19th Century, with the establishment of the English FA (Football Association), which laid the foundation of the rules and regulations.

A Collage of two images: A black and white image of players playing football in older times and a drawing illustration of players playing village cricket in older times

Credit: Kreedon, ICC 

The history of Cricket is interesting, and is a sport older than the ball kicking game. The sport was first played in England with a wooden stick & a ball and was a test of who could hit the ball the furthest. This competition eventually turned into an actual bat and ball game, with a modern set of rules and dynamics. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at the Lord’s Stadium, which was formed in 1787 played an important role in standardizing the game and building its modern structure. The game gained popularity in all areas that the British colonized, like the subcontinent, down under and various parts of the Caribbean. 

Equipment and Rules and Regulations:

Football is a very simple game. It can be played in the smallest of places and even without a ball. You can just kick a small pebble on the road and have a good kick about with your friends. On the other hand, cricket is a bit complicated. You need to have proper equipment, like a bat, a perfectly spherical ball and a proper playing area to enjoy the game to its fullest. 

Read More: How to Play Cricket

In official matches, both sports are played with 11 players on each team, but the different sets of rules and gameplay dynamics set each of them apart. The ball kicking sport is a fast paced activity, with the objective of scoring goals by kicking the ball into the opponent’s net. Cricket on the other hand is a competition between the bat and ball where the objective of each team is to score more runs than the other. One thing that sets this bat and ball game apart is the number of formats. The test format is the longest format which lasts 5 days, while ODIs take up an entire day and T20s just a couple of hours. Football is simple and a game of two halves of 45 mins each, just a 90 minute game overall. Both sports require strategy, teamwork, and individual skill, but their gameplay mechanics differ significantly.

Read more: Cricket Rules 

Apart from this, both games involve a heavy use and dependence on technology. The Video Assisted Refree (VAR) in football and the Decision Review System (DRS) in cricket help make accurate and correct decisions in matches. 

Popularity and global reach:

Football blew up in the European colonies like in Latin America and the French African Colonies, because of how simple it was to play. It required a little to no investment and was very physically demanding and a good way of keeping the mind and body fresh. In the societies of the south American regions and the African areas, people adopted the game like a daily chore. Cricket however developed in the British colonies in Asia(Countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan), down under in Australia and New Zealand, in South Africa and in the Caribbean region. 

A Collage of two images: People playing gully cricket in the left, and children playing street football

Credit: dtnext, Wikimedia Images

The statistics suggest that there are about 5 Billion Football fans in the world and about 2.5 billion for cricket. Though the sports are different, the fans and the playing culture can be compared to each other. Indians have a massive love of street, gully and box cricket, and similar to this is Brazil’s street football culture. Australian cricket and France in football can be compared to each other for their excellence at thier respective sports and the brilliant players they develop each year. 

Physical Demands Skills and Health Benefits:

Football is renowned for its high-intensity style, which requires players to be exceptionally physically fit. Agility, speed, coordination, and endurance are a must. Cricket, on the other hand, places more of a focus on technical abilities like batting, bowling, and fielding and having uncanny reflexes. It calls for physical preparedness, but the demands are not as great as in a ball kicking game. Both games have a number of positive health benefits. Football enhances coordination, muscular strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It involves a lot of running and moving about, which gives you a great workout. Despite being less physically taxing, cricket nevertheless encourages physical fitness and hand-eye coordination. Both sports also promote cooperation, self-control, and mental toughness, all of which improve general well being.

Read More: Cricket Fitness Exercises

The Players:

Both sports have given us so many legends, whose performances we can remember all our lives. The GOATS of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli can be compared Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from football respectively for their performances, similarity and personalities and their impact over the future generations. Pele will be Sir Don Bradman, both are god like figures in each game. MS Dhoni can be compared to Zinedine Zidane and Rohit Sharma with Thomas Muller. Chris Gayle is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sangakkara is Iker Casillas and Shane Warne is Luka Modric. 

The Tournaments:

It’s hard for the fans to wait for the premier competition of their beloved sports, which happens only once every 4 years. The FIFA World Cup is the ultimate trophy in Football while the ICC Cricket World Cup is the biggest tournament in Cricket. Unlike Cricket, football is mainly a club team game, and there’s a window for national team matches every once in a while. Cricket runs in the opposite way. There are franchise T20 tournaments which happen once for a short time every year, between international matches. If we compare the franchise T20 tournaments to the club tournaments in football, then the IPL can be considered to be the English Premier League. The Big Bash League can be compared to the La Liga. Other T20 tournaments are The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the Pakistan Super League, while some more football leagues are the Ligue 1 in France, Serie A in Italy and Bundesliga in Germany. The Euros, the premier football competition for the nations in Europe can be compared to the Asia Cup here in Cricket. 

A collage of two images: Manish Pandey plays a shot in an IPL match with MS Dhoni wicket keeping behind the stumps on the left and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United kicks a ball in a Premier League Match

Credit: Forbes India, Manchester Evening News

IPL even is one of the biggest sports tournaments, generating a revenue of more than a 100 crore rupees, every match, which is very close the biggest football league, the English Premier League. 

Apart from this, there are some more important tournaments in cricket, the ICC ODI World Cup, the most prestigious trophy in the sport and the ICC World Test Championship, a new trophy for the best test playing nation. 


ICC (International Cricket Council) and FIFA (Federation International de Football Association) are the highest regulatory bodies of each sport. Each board works to develop their sports throughout the world and capture new territories. This creates a clash between the two games. FIFA looks at India, which is the biggest cricketing nation as a huge market for football, while ICC too is trying to in Europe. But, at the moment, there’s no comparison as to who the bigger governing body is. 

A collage of two pictures: England Cricket Team lifts the ICC Cricket World on the left and Argentina celebrates after winning the FIFA World Cup on the right

Credit: ICC, NPR

The FIFA World Cup 2022, was a massive event that generated a revenue of about $7 Billion. The 2019 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup was a very successful event, but the official revenue which was around $450 million just does not match up to FIFA’s. This is due to the fact that football is followed by twice the number of fans than cricket. 


Both sports are an amazing source of entertainment and provide great health benefits to those h who play regularly. Moreover, each of them does a fantastic job of narrowing boundaries between fans and uniting through the love of the game. So, the Football vs Cricket debate will only be a thing for the fans, choose whichever sport give them the joy of watching, playing or just having a discussion. 

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