Boring cricketWatching the ICC Champions Trophy matches, I felt a sort of total detachment. Just look at the mostly empty stands to know what spectators think of the match. I've never talked to any of the cricketers but I don't think that playing to an empty gallery is going to enthuse the players. The idea of spectator entertainment is so low in the priority list of ICC that a mini-world cup like Champions Trophy is a boring 1 month affair. This religious worship of the game is what compels players to play domestic cricket with huge stadia with only the officials as spectators. This religious worship of the game is what compels ICC to gag the players and forbid them from expressing their views ...
One of the oft-repeated comments from the cricketers and the ICC is that the game is supreme and bringing disrepute to the game has been fined heavily as if that is tantamount to treason. I think that is a ridiculous concept. Any game or sport that doesn't care about the spectators is doomed. Even an intense and quiet game like chess can be beautiful to watch. I remember waking up during night in my highschool days (in 1995 ?) to watch Anand v/s Kasparov world championship match in World Trade Center. Even a cricket test match can be very absorbing at times.
If I am investing a significant amount of time to watching a game, I expect to be suitably compensated with entertainment. Players are also performers and entertainers. They exist for the sake of entertaining the audience. ICC power politics, deliberately provocative umpiring (Darrel Hair, anyone ?), excessive advertising, massacre of the minnows and frequent test matches (!) are what causing disrepute to the game. It is time ICC starts looking in the mirror to identify the culprits.
While I think that Sony Max's "Extraa Innings" (did I miss out an additional 'a' in the 'extraa'?) is getting more sillier by the day, the good news is that someone is thinking of TV audience. I hope that the trend continues.
A game can never be higher than the purpose it is supposed to serve.