Dear England: you gave cricket to the world, but it’s an Indian game now

Mihir Bose

India will still win off the field regardless of the outcome of the five-Test cricket series between England and India, which gets underway in Hyderabad on Thursday. The game is now ruled by Indian money. India contributes more than 80p to the international revenue of cricket for every £1. In the realm of cricket, India’s statements hold constant weight.

The History of Indian Cricket Mihir Bose

Although an Ashes series against Australia is the ultimate experience for an English cricket fan, the nation now sends its finest teams to India instead of its B sides, which were led by players who had never represented England before. India adores traveling to the UK.

This is a turning point in history. In the sixty-four years between 1932 and 1996, there were just thirteen Indian tours to this nation; however, since 2002, there have been eight. The rationale is that an Indian trip makes more money than an Australian tour does from the sale of broadcast rights in India, and that money is essential to the continued existence of cricket in this nation.

This is the first time a non-white nation has taken over an international sport. Golf, football, and many other sports have been affected by the massive Saudi money coming into the industry; nonetheless, although Saudis will hold a prominent position, the traditional white powers of Europe and the US will still control these games and their formats. Not in the case of cricket and India. Additionally, Saudi Arabia lacks players of the caliber to compete on a global scale in these sports, while Indian cricketers—dubbed the “dull dogs” of cricket by the British media in 1959—have defeated the once-dominant West Indies and are now strong enough to take on Australia and England.

The fact that Indians have skillfully appropriated every English invention and turned it into their own, in what may be the greatest cultural appropriation in history—certainly in sports—makes this takeover all the more amazing. In the process, they have not only made money about which England can only dream, but they have also compelled England to alter its long-standing cricket system. The significant shifts in English and Indian society that have occurred after the Second World War and, more specifically, in the last few decades, are the causes of this astounding metamorphosis.

Traditional county cricket has fallen, watched, so the joke goes, by two old men and a dog. This is in stark contrast to football, where the Premier League is the best club tournament in the world, packing stadiums and coffers alike. Because of this, English cricket has had to adopt new formats since the 1960s in an effort to attract more spectators. The one-day game was created in the 1960s, and international players were allowed to participate in county cricket. World Cups in the 1970s were modeled after football games; Twenty20 games debuted in 2003; and The Hundred, the most bizarre variation, debuted in 2021.India, a supplicant at England’s table, consoled itself for a large portion of this period by maintaining the five-day Test tradition. The 1990s saw the emergence of the 400 million-strong Indian middle class, who had disposable income and realized they could become the masters. As a result, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was established in 2008.

This was created to address a need in the nation, which lacked entertainment options overall, even outside of Bollywood. Designed as cricket’s soap opera, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is played on summer evenings, with women controlling the remote control in the majority of Indian houses. Furthermore, the Indians in the Indian Premier League created completely new teams to represent the new India that did not require financial assistance from the old white first world, whereas English cricket innovations had preserved the sacred century-old county cricket framework.Traditional Test cricket has been reduced to a sideshow in the fifteen years since the IPL began; the current five-Test series, which features the greatest players available, is an unusual exception. In the meantime, franchise cricket, another term for the IPL forms, has taken off globally. Even the Saudis, who have never played cricket before, are organizing an IPL-style competition.

Unable to accept this new India, England originally avoided the IPL, believing it would fail, and pursued Allen Stanford, the American who was later exposed as a scammer and sentenced to 110 years in prison. Currently, England has to submit to the dominance of the IPL. Cricketers from all over the world essentially stopped playing when the English cricket season began, and they came to play in this nation. However, because the IPL begins at the same time as the English season and pays cricketers similar to football, English cricket has been obliged to let its finest players participate in the IPL and even skip a portion of the English season, which includes Test cricket.

While India is the lone superpower, the English media comforts itself by claiming that the “big three”—England, Australia, and India—control international cricket. As English cricket fans wake up early during the next two weeks to watch television and listen to Indian television pundits, many will become acutely aware of this power of Indian cricket. When England plays overseas, they anticipate hearing English commentary regarding the match. They will just have to put up with it, even though sports writers have already expressed how angry they are about it.

India dismisses accusations that it is acting in an imperialist manner, citing other interests, such as catering to the cricket-loving and exceedingly wealthy Indian diaspora in the US. Regardless of the outcome of this Test, the new cricket tyrants are eager to conquer the US after taking control of England. They might succeed given their platform and the fact that the cricket World Cup will be staged there this summer.

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