I had written earlier that in cricket England seems to have invented everything related to it in England's gifts to the game of cricket
However with England being eliminated from the 2015 ODI World Cup and not making it to the Top eight for the first time ever it is plagued by ironies and tragedies…
Invents ODI cricket but…
One day cricket was a domestic innovation in England and then went international when they played Australia. No country was in a position to hold the World Cup and hence England hosted the first three.
However England is the only Top eight nation not to have won an ICC trophy in ODIs. Australia, India, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won a World Cup. South Africa and New Zealand have won the ICC Champions Trophy.
The only odd man out is England: That despite making it to three World Cup finals, something which South Africa and New Zealand are yet to achieve.
Till a few years back England used to be at least a competitive ODI team, but in the 2015 World Cup they totally collapsed and their future looks totally uncertain.
Invents T20 cricket but…
T20 cricket was another England domestic innovation. So popular was it that soon all the other Test playing nations (excluding India) adopted domestic T20 leagues. England even managed to win the T20 World Cup in 2010. However it has been totally overshadowed by India.
India won the inaugural world T20 in 2007 and thereafter launched the IPL (the last among Test nations) which has emerged as the sole brand mascot of T20. IPL teams also rule the Champions League. It’s like India invented T20 and the English fume regularly at this.
Invents all innovations one can think of but…
The laws of cricket came from England. They continued innovating with things like the Snickometer in the 1990s and Hawk-Eye in 2001. However off late they have been falling behind that too.
The Hot Spot came from Australia in 2006. However currently the technological masterpiece that has caught everyone’s eye is the Zing LED stumps that flash the moment the bails fall off. In the 2015 World Cup they have overshadowed all other technologies.
Now they were invented by an Aussie and are manufactured by a South African company!
Invents Test cricket but…
Despite what happens in ODIs and T20s, England is happy as long as it wins the Ashes and the team usually is a good competitive Test unit. But let’s face it. Test cricket is not a game of the future. Forget the Associates, even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are yet to come to terms with it.
Decades from now it’s possible to imagine a competitive 32-nation T20 World Cup but not a regular Test World Cup. Test viewership is steadily declining and is propped up by the ICC. Fans would rather see a T20 series than a Test one.
England is faltering in formats that are the future of cricket and doing okay in something which could well be a dying art form.
Ruled cricket with an iron fist till the 1990s but…
The English presided over cricket for centuries and lost control in the 1990s. Till then it (along with Australia) had a veto power and ruled international cricket. But after that India took over.
Now today cricket is a game of big bucks and the BCCI is a rich board and even the likes of MS Dhoni makes more money annually than many tennis superstars. The tragedy is that England ruled cricket when there wasn’t much money in it and lost control when it became a goldmine.
Invented First Class cricket but…
Once county cricket was a much sought after sport with people from all over the world following it. Foreign players used to consider it a prestige to participate. However the Indian board has virtually banned its players from participating.
With Tests, ODIs, T20 and the IPL, virtually nobody cares for county cricket anymore—something that was prestigious for more than a century.
England also has just one FIFA World Cup (that too nearly 50 years ago) despite being such a football crazy nation and hardly ever makes it to the semis forget winning it nowadays. Even modern field hockey grew from England, but India totally overshadowed England from the 1930s to the 1970s while teams like Australia and Germany are way ahead today.
Wimbledon is another game where an Englishman seems to have absolutely no chance (Andy Murray is Scottish).
England have to do something drastic to stem their decline in cricket!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/