Bringing to you my friends, the last module of this amazing chapter, History and Sport: The Story of Cricket – Commerce, Media and Cricket, today. How beautifully, my friends, ourbooks has traced the history of cricket from its origin as a village sport in England to Victorian England to then how England spread it to the various colonies. How the colonies started playing it there and today, the cricket, the amazing sport that cricket is.
My dear friends, here we go in 1970, as I told you in the last module South Africa was excluded from international cricket. Looking at modern cricket, of course, I told you they came back. In 1971, a historic event took place. The first one day international, cricket was always a five day test match affair between various countries. The first one day international took place, England versus Australia, at that time it was 60 overs. In fact in remained 60 overs for a long time. In 1975, the first one day international world cup was played and the West Indies went on to win it. No more racial superiority.
The greatest change in cricket came in the year 1977 and it did not come from a cricketer. It came from a businessman, an Australian television tycoon by the name of Kerry Packer. Who thought let me exploit this game for professional reasons and he began to televise matches. What he did, he recruited, he signed 51 leading world cricketers from different countries, divided them into teams and staged unofficial test matches and one day internationals. At that time the ICC was dead against but eventually they joined hands and made cricket the commercial proposition it is today. For two years the World Series Cricket carried on and cricket now captured the imagination of the television viewing audience. People would sit all day, all evening to watch cricket matches. It became a hugely marketable game that began to generate high revenue. Yes, my friends, the cricket we see today is the post Packer era and now you have coloured dress, protective helmets, field restrictions, yes, you have power play overs, field restrictions. You have 20-20 and cricket mostly played under lights.
My dear friends, the Indian Cricket Board is a rich, rich cricket board selling television rights to so many channels across India, across Asia and across the world. Audiences have increased, revenue has increased, business has increased, television coverage has increased and obviously the standard of cricket, my dear friends, has increased.
Satellite television when it came in made the market for cricket go global. A match being played in Sydney could be watched for example in Surat. And now India with its population and more than that, is its cricket crazy population, people like you and I, got and became a country with the largest viewership, the largest market in global cricket. Obviously there was a shift from England and Australia to the sub-continent. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan became major, major countries even the ICC head quarters was shifted from London to tax free Dubai.
Cricket techniques began to undergo change to counter the powerful bats and the powerful muscular batting of the Europeans. The Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, especially the Pakistanis came up with some amazing innovations, the doosra in which the ball would spin the other way, the reverse swing in which one side of the ball is roughened and the other side of the ball is kept smooth and this helped our Asian countries to counter the European’s. And believe me, it was an amazing, amazing time for the Asian countries. Of course, at first there were problems, the Britishers and the Australians did not accept the doosra, did not accept and they called it illegal. And the reverse swing too. But now it has become a part of the technique of all bowlers and it’s completely legal, completely within the laws of cricket.
Indian players have a global market. My dear friends, they are the best paid cricketers in the world. They are famous and you can say they are the best paid sportsmen. One hundred percent undoubtedly in India the gentleman or the amateur is now replaced by the paid professional, who eats, sleeps, drinks and lives only cricket. One day games and 20-20s have overshadowed the five day or the test match cricket. And it’s been a huge change in global, commerce and technology.
I hope you have enjoyed the history of the cricket from its origin to what it is today.
Thank you, my friends. God bless you all.
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