Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What can cricket learn from Formula 1?

Well, essentially, the way its telecast. 

We all know the 2 major sports - one, a billion people and more worship as religion and another, triggers an adrenaline rush thats unparallelled - the glitz and the thrill never short of breathtaking.

Cricket is essentially a sport of Strategy, Skill, Patience. You play for long, battle the hardships of the opponents and the myriad uncontrolled forces (rain, storm) and emerge a winner. The 3 skills - batting, bowling and fielding are sports in themselves. And often, the uncertainty of the result does add to the thrill and the edge of the seat experience for cricket fans.

Formula 1, on the other hand, is more 1 dimensional, atleast on the surface. People use the latest cars, constructors battle through their machines and overall, look at winning the race on the day. It has its clumsiness - the pit stops and the hundreds of rules that govern this, the safety car, so on and so forth. If you actually look at it, its rather a dull game in some sense - the person in the lead usually goes on to win and there are usually a handful potential winners for an entire season.

But on the face of it, by looking at the telecast, the Formula 1, in its presentation of the game to its viewers beats cricket hands down. The energy and the richness is quite something. The exact status of the game, its drivers etc are available all the time. One look at the screen enriches a user's viewing experience and drags one into the game - whether you want it or not.  The  the graphical representation when a brake is applied or when a throttle is used, all this add quite a bit into the experience. And the Team Radio is just so amazing...to listen first hand what goes on in these high intense battles.

Cricket, on the other hand, looks rather dull on the TV screen, though who know the game know very well that each intricacy of the game has a lot to offer. Its a long game but the attempts at making it interesting are amateur. What else one can expect when the administrators, broadcasters, players - one and all - are hell bent on grabbing as much of the gold the goose offers? 

What can cricket accommodate in its telecast to make the viewing a much better experience?For starters,  the current batsmen and bowlers names and stats should always be displayed on the screen. Also the bat speed while it came in contact with the ball would be worth watching. A Line and Length metric can be devised and displayed for analysis of any particular ball bowled. 

There is scope for so much analysis and to create wonder among its viewers. Say, for example, if the reaction time to field or catch a ball by exceptional fielders such as Rhodes/Gibbs are tracked and presented graphically in comparison to other normal fielders, its going to tell us a story. Or the power exerted by Gilchrist when he hits a ball for a six.

And of course, strategy, such as snippets of what goes on in team meetings, the dressing room discussions, the coach's advice to his team. And graphical explanation of how the fielding team "Sets Up a Batsman". There are opportunities galore and one has to just look for it. Alongwith making this a great viewing experience, its going to offer novices and people with less knowledge to understand the nuances and increase their loyalty to the game. 

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