The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the chief governing body of the sport of the cricket and regulates all the cricketing events all around the world. 12 countries namely India, Australia, Bangladesh, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Afghanistan, West Indies, Ireland, New Zealand and Zimbabwe have been successful in obtaining the test status. The board also has 37 Associate Members and 56 Affiliate Members.
The sport of cricket is played in three formats currently - Test Cricket (the 5-day format), One-Day International Game (8-9 hours long) and the T20 format (3 hours long). The T20 format has gained popularity over the years and a number of countries worldwide have started playing the T20 format at the international level. Teams like Nepal, Oman, PNG and Hong Kong are progressing in the shortest format of the game.
However, for cricket to be called a global sport, the ICC needs to give more countries a chance and take cricket to unexplored areas. Here are the 3 ways how ICC can make the game more popular -
#1 Have the Highlights Cricket Matches on YouTube or Facebook Watch
The key reason why we are not seeing the development of cricket teams from the United States of America, Canada, France, Germany or any other developed nation of the world is that they have limited access to cricket matches. The matches of the Indian cricket team or the IPL matches are not put on YouTube for free access. I am not criticizing the broadcasters' policy since they are paying tons of money to acquire the rights but in order to develop the game, more matches must be available on the internet.
Perhaps, the ICC can have the matches of the WT20 or the WT20 qualifiers on YouTube or Facebook Watch to at least give some lessons on how to play cricket to the upcoming teams.
#2 Increase the number of teams in the World Cup
To reduce the number of participants in the Cricket World Cup to 10 was one of the most puzzling decisions taken by the ICC. Even the Test playing nations like Zimbabwe and Ireland have failed to make it to the World Cup. Associate teams like Nepal, the Netherlands, Scotland, U.A.E., Canada, Kenya, Hong Kong and Oman used to get only one chance to showcase their cricketing skills at the global stage. However, for the first time in a long, long time will the World Cup be played without an associate nation.
Extending the Cricket World Cup to perhaps 25 or 30 teams will help spread the sport of cricket in several new countries. Just like Afghanistan and Ireland, the cricketing family could get some new members if the ICC considers increasing the number of teams.
#3 Introduce the T10 format at the international level
15 years ago, had someone said that a cricket match could be played in 3 hours, we would have laughed off that statement. But, here we are in the era of T20 cricket. With the efforts of the England Cricket Board and the ICC, T20 cricket has become the sport's most popular format.
With the patience level of the fans constantly declining, now is the time that ICC should introduce the T10 format at the international level. A lot of stars are playing the T10 league currently in the U.A.E and this league can be used as a launching pad for the T10 format.
Do you think the T10 format needs to introduced at the international level? Share your views in the comments box below.