So you’ve seen the unfairly negative reputation that cricket has accrued for itself and you’ve decided that enough is enough. You’re going to defy popular opinion and get into cricket. We’d like to congratulate you on your decision; cricket may be a more contemplative and slow-paced game than many of its sporting peers, but that doesn’t make it any less tense or exciting. However, if you want to get into cricket and become a true fan, there’s lots to learn about the game. Here’s how you can become a cricket fan in 2022.
Learn as much as you can about the state of the game
One of cricket’s most important leagues is the IPL, the Indian league in which some of the world’s best teams compete for dominance. As Kevin Pietersen pointed out to Betway in an interview, it’s all to play for, with the Rajasthan Royals competing against the Gujarat Titans and Royal Challengers Bangalore for supremacy. If none of this means anything to you, well, that’s exactly why you need to familiarise yourself with the exciting ins and outs of various international cricket leagues. The IPL, as well as other leagues, can be just as exciting as football’s Premier League if you devote the time and energy to learning about it.
Understand the basics
Naturally, you’re not going to get very far as a cricket fan if you don’t understand the basics of the sport. Cricket is an extremely simple sport in principle; two teams of eleven compete to get the most runs before all of their batspeople are caught out by fielders. Each team takes it in turns to bat and field, and the team with the most runs at the end of any given game is the one that emerges victorious. Of course, the rules are more complex than that (which we’ll talk about a little later), but at the very least, you should have a good grasp of the basic outline of a game of cricket if you want to become a fan.
Watch as much cricket as possible
There are many ways to watch cricket games online. Most of the big sports platforms – ESPN, Sky, and the like – will stream cricket games when they’re being played, and you’ll probably also be able to take advantage of pay-per-view events where applicable. Depending on where you are in the world, you may also find that various streaming services, such as Disney+, are offering cricket games for viewing as well. If all else fails, then you can use a live score tracker to keep track of how the match is progressing, although that, of course, pales in comparison to actually watching a real cricket match unfold before your eyes.
Play some cricket yourself
If you’re physically able, then you should try playing some cricket yourself. Don’t be discouraged by physical disability; there are often ways to play cricket in a wheelchair, for example, and you may also find other cricket rules that accommodate your particular physical disability. Either way, playing cricket can be a great way not only to understand the sport on a deeper level, but also to improve your connection with it and recognise what professional cricketers are going through each and every time they take to the field. Try gathering a group of friends together to play just a few rounds of cricket. You’d be amazed at the boost in perspective this can offer.
Go to cricket matches
Because of the slower pace of cricket matches, fans will often turn a visit to a cricket ground into a day out. You’ll often find fans lounging at cricket pitches, bringing their favourite snacks and chatting to one another as the game progresses. The tense, pent-up feeling of a football game, for example, is largely absent from cricket matches (although things do become significantly more tense as the teams near victory or defeat). You also won’t find the tribalism that’s often present in football games; while supporters do cheer for their team, there’s a respect and reverence for the sport that makes going to a cricket game a joy. Try to attend a match if you can!
Try a cricket video game or two
If you’re a gamer, then one way to familiarise yourself with the rules of cricket (without having to go and play it yourself) is to play a cricket video game. Right now, the dominant force in the world of cricket video games is Big Ant Studios, whose name you’ll find on most major cricket game outings. Cricket 22 is the obvious place to start; you can pick it up on PC and consoles, and it offers an accurate simulation of the game, as well as licences for many major players and teams. However, you’ll also find other alternatives (many of which are, admittedly, made by Big Ant), so if Cricket 22 isn’t your bag, give a few others a try.
Learn players, teams, and cricket styles
When you feel you’ve built up a basic understanding of cricket as a sport, that’s when it’s time to start familiarising yourself with the legends of cricket. Indian greats like Sachin Tendulkar, as well as West Indian legends like Brian Lara, should be a big part of your education, but you should make time to learn contemporary players, women’s cricket stars, and other important aspects of cricket as well. It’s also important to spend some time learning the different types of cricket match and what they offer to the observer. Test cricket, for example, is very different to Twenty20 cricket on a structural level, and learning these differences will make you a better cricket fan.