Monday, July 03, 2006

Cricket Vs Football

Why am writing this???
  • The WC Semis are only for tomorrow
  • 20 wickets were taken in 3 days in the India Vs West Indies Cricket match
  • And 3 months of GMAT preps has screwed up my biological clock to badly that i cannot sleep before 2.
So - i have time to kill.
Kill ppl like u who brave the odds and frequent my blog ;)

Having born in India, where a 19 yr boy who got into the national cricket team the prev day is worshipped by ppl as old as 91, Cricket runs in my blood too. Well, I am a bit more than just a cricket fan - I am a player myself and have represented my school and college teams. But strangely as it would appear, i have lotsa football in my blood too. And even here, I'm more than a fan - I was my college soccer team Captain. So yeah - I'd say i know a few things about either games, both by theory as well as by practice.

So - what made me write this post???

The cricketing calendar is so heavy that we always have some series happening. So one doesn't really need an occasion to speak about Cricket. But this is the perfect time to speak about football - with the football world eagerly expecting 1 of the 4 European nations to be crowned the new Champions on July the 7th. But it is not only the occasion. The Euphoria that the world cup has created has made many ppl, especially Indians, compare the two games and take sides - trying to say Cricket is best or Football is best.

this post is an effort to play middle man and say - plz don't compare.

Cricket and Football are two completely different games. One cannot take the positives of one game and compare - just to find the other game to be lacking in those departments. And likewise, the negatives of a game need not mean that it is inferior. In their truest form, Cricket and Football are there to entertain ppl like u and me and they do it really well.

Cricket is atleast a Day long game. I agree that u can always come late and catch up those last 10 overs, or simply see the first 15 overs before taking of to office. And the 20-20 format hasn't really set the screens on fire - not yet. So - it stays day long. That is asking for a lot of commitment from the viewer. The case is still worse with Test matches - with 5 days!!! Compared to that, a football game, even if those 22 men have taken an oath not to score, will get over in 90, 120 or 150 minutes. Does that make Cricket boring and football Interesting??? NO!!!

People say that in Cricket, there are atleast wides and no balls and wickets to keep the viewer interested. While cricket has its own share of interesting sub sections, Football is not a singe chapter book either. In football we have tackles (well - more on this later), dribbles, free kicks (not necessarily taken by Beckham), goal misses, goal mouth saves, Cards (in 2 colors that too), more more more. Just like we sometimes lose track of how the last 25 overs were completed, sometimes we feel like 2 hours is not enough for a Football match. We wont even know 2 hrs passed by.

A 120 minute goalless draw can be so boring that it can stop prospective viewers/fans from watching the game one more time, a fact i got to hear from many ppl after the England Vs Portugal match. But hey, it wasn't boring for me. And i am sure that many ppl wud agree with me. If u call that boring, how'd u rate Rahul Dravid's 81 of 215 balls in the 1st innings and 68 of 166 balls in the 2nd??? Exciting isn't the word that'd go with it.

I already hear the Dravid Fans (believe me - I'm one of u) ready to take on me with stuff like "what abt the difficult pitch???", "what abt the accurate West Indian Bowling???", "what abt the fact that no one else score more than him???" "well - he was named man of the match for these 2 innings"!!! Agreed Agreed - the point is that Dravid had to take it slow because the situation demanded it. The situation in the Eng Vs. Por match did demand England to put all men back and defend. With David Beckam (well - the only creative mind in that team I'd say) - it cud have been different. With Rooney (and with someone else Red Carded) - it cud have been different. But England had to play without these 2 men and just like Dravid stuck it out - England did make a fist out of it. It was perhaps England's best performance in this world cup. And Portugal was just plain lucky to go through - it dint deserve to.

I'd like to speak about the tackles for sure. There is a rising concern, within FIFA too, about players faking injuries and fake dives et al. FIFA had issues strict warnings to referees to punish faking players severely. But still, player dive at will. Many new viewers seem to find this bad. It is bad i accept, but which game does not have its own share of "ethic breakers". Remember what Afridi did to the pitch in the recent England tour of Pakistan??? Remember the way Brian Lara behaved with Dhoni in the second test match??? Haven't u ever seen players edging the ball clearly (something which a batsman can never miss) and still staying if the umpire does not rule him out (yeah yeah - i like what Gilly does too)??? Ever heard abt the first Indian tour to Pakistan, where the Pakis bowled unreachable bouncers to stop India from winning a match. Ever heard abt the fact that some 2 decades ago, India used to open their bowling with 2 batsmen and then deliberately rolled the ball on the way back to the bowlers to make them soft soon, so that they can call in their spinners. There are loads i can add to this list. As competition becomes more, ethics go for a spin. This is not something specific to Cricket or Football only. Players using unfair methods to gain advantage is prevalent in almost all the games that i know abt.

Well, don't take me wrong. I am not on a "Football Bachao Aandholan" :) Just trying to present a few facts people miss. All said and done, as i have mentioned in the opening few lines, these are 2 sports u shud never compare. Or for that matter, no 2 sports shud ever be compared. We have 2 different sport coz they are different. I believe that it is not possible to like or dislike a sport in a day or two. It needs a lot of time - u need to know the history, the players, the nuances of the game, the rules of the game, the highs and lows of the game, etc etc etc. You need to spend some time with the game :)

So to all u folks - just give it some time. I promise, few good games and one great game, u'll know why I'm riding against the waves and braving a few "thwacks" to tell u guys how good this football really is.

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