Off late, there have been several efforts in order to globalize the game and include more nations in the cricketing fraternity. The increased spending by the ICC on associate nations has been a strategy that has been adapted to off late. Increasing the number of international games played by associate teams has just been another move chosen by the ICC.
At a recent media event, Dave Richardson, Chief Executive of the ICC said that T20 cricket was being looked upon as a tool to globalize the game further. “T20 format is a tool to globalize the game. In the World T20 in India, we will see new teams playing which is a real boost for the game. Teams like Oman who will debut in ICC event and others like Scotland, Hong Kong, Afghanistan will also make the event big,” Richardson said.
“ Cricket has never been more popular. During the 2015-19 cycle, we want cricket to become the most popular sport in the world. It’s currently second only to football. The actual viewership for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup was 125 million with one million spectators coming to watch it physically in Australia and New Zealand. There were also 36 million followers digitally,” Richardson said, detailing some integral facts.
“ Cricket is played in 105 countries presently and if we include the West Indian countries as separate entities the figure should go up to 120. Sixteen teams will be seen in the World T20 Championship for which newcomer Oman has qualified. There are new faces to look forward to.” “Of the viewership of ICC events, 40 percent of them are women and it is much higher when it comes to T20s. It is a strategy to engage women in the game more through T20. It is not about females watching the game but about world audience watching women play,” Richardson said.
“I can say that worldwide more than one million women are playing and the quality of the game is also increasing day by day. In World Cup events, earlier England and Australia used to win; now we will find India, West Indies, South Africa winning events. Very proud of women’s cricket and I hope it will increase day by day,” he concluded.