There is something really special about barebones Internet/TV coverage of a cricket match. Just one or two cameras, no on screen overlays and sparse commentary. Whenever I watch one I feel like I have stepped back in time to an era I sadly missed as a newcomer to the game.
Subash (aka the Cricket Couch) said it best in a post about Cricket Ireland’s stream of the Ireland-Pakistan ODI:
It was throwback to an earlier time. A time when cricket was innocent and the pictures shot with cameras you could count with the fingers on one hand; Almost an amateurish feel to the angles and the switch to the different views trying to track the ball down; The voices telling you what you need to know rather than trying to capture your attention so that they could peddle you a product; No graphics besides the odd look at the scorecard and a demand of the viewer to pay attention to the live pictures because there weren’t many replays on the screen…
Subash, in the same post, also brings up the great point that Internet broadcasts such as the one discussed above are the future of world cricket. And if the ICC truly is interested in growing the game, then they need to make cricket more accessible via online streaming:
There is no doubt in my mind that endeavors like the one witnessed today from Ireland Cricket streaming an ODI on YouTube is the way forward in terms of the global consumption of the sport, which would allow it to expose it even a wider audience and hence a more robust long term health.
Spot on analysis as usual.
I bring this all up because today we are being treated to two such streams: Australia Women vs England women in a series deciding ODI, and Hong Kong versus Kenya in a World Cup Qualifier.
I am looking forward to taking in as much of both matches as possible, and I urge you to do the same. For while these matches will be – to paraphrase Subash – a window into the past and simultaneously a look into the future – they are doubly important to take an interest in considering the contents of the now infamous “position paper”.
It is my opinion that considering direction the ICC appears to be headed in, the future of the games lies not in tonight’s dead rubber Australia-England ODI, it lies instead in the women’s game and in the hands of the Associates. And it is up to us to support them.
Note: the ICC will stream three more world cup qualifiers after tonight’s match. Full schedule here.
Finally today: yes you read that right: Hong Kong has a shot at getting into the World Cup. More than that though, because of their top six finish, they are now listed as a top eight Associate side and therefore qualify for the World Cricket League Championship and have been elevated to full ODI status. A great accomplishment for sure!
The downside to all of this, however, is that – as pointed out here – Hong Kong does not have an international quality cricket facility. And while they will receive US$350,000 for their participation in the WCL from the ICC, that of course does them no good right now.
It would be a real shame if this burgeoning side was forced to play its “home” matches at a neutral venue. They are far too many nomadic sides in World Cricket as it is. I do hope they are able to build or renovate a facility in time for the WCL.