Jun 5, 2012

Football vs Cricket: Why I prefer Football

As a child, I loved Cricket. Believe me, every one in the country does. And once you start watching it, you get glued. However, over the years, my focus has shifted towards football (soccer?) and cricket just doesn't excite me anymore. If I wonder how that happened, I come up with a lot of things, in particular the ones listed below.

Time Duration:
People may say there is a higher time of excitement in Cricket, but admit it, there's a time after which it turns boring. Even the shortest form of Cricket takes twice the time as a game of football. Now, tell me, would you prefer to watch a game patiently for 5 long days, and then realise that there is not gonna be a winner?

The Transfer Season:
With IPL, there maybe a few transfers possible, but that is not even 0.00000000001% of the transfer activity which the footballing world generates. With the season end, the transfer season opens and with the rumors creeping in, every fan is super excited as to where the unsettled ones are gonna go to. Two recent transfers that generated that hype are that of Eden Hazard (who tweeted that he is joining Chelsea) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (again Twitter, PSG's Javier Pastore's girlfriend congratulated her Lavezzi counterpart).

The FIFA Series:
One important fact why people start loving football is the FIFA series. Every year, FIFA comes up with better gameplay and with proper licensed clubs, which enable you to play with your favorite players and simulate season after season with your favorite club. The closest competitor in the Cricket world is Brain Lara Cricket. However, almost all teams are not licensed and that makes the experience worse. What's even worse is that the last version of Brain Lara Cricket was way back in 2007. EA Sports also had a Cricket '07, but even that is pretty poor as compared to FIFA.

In case of Football, you can watch a game without any distractions. There is just a 15 minute break at halftime, which includes a half time report, so the ads are very limited. On the contrary, after every over, you have the face the wrath of the commercials in Cricket. If you watch IPL, ads are shown even during the match. So, it looks as if we are watching a few deliveries in an unlimited collection of ads.

A Gentleman's Game?
Football is a rough sport. You do not find people who play 'the right way'. No one would give back a goal, if he realises that it was indeed an offside. Players dive to get penalties. But that is fine, as football was never called a gentleman's game. If you look at this label that is associated with cricket, you find the flaws. Agreed that players like Tendulkar and Gilchrist would walk, irrespective of their team's position, if they know they've edged the ball, and the umpire missed it, but what about the thousands others who wouldn't? Take Murali Karthik for example. After India won the match, he shamelessly admitted to the fact that he edged it and didn't walk. Is that what a gentleman would do? Take Luke Pomersbach's recent adventures. Is that how you define a gentleman?

Play in the Rain:
Before every match in Cricket, you look towards the skies and pray to God that it doesn't rain. Not in football. Even during torrential downpours, the game would go on. In fact, as it is difficult to play in the rain, it actually brings out the skills in the players and give the viewers a chance to appreciate their ball control and shooting.

The Nations:
In Cricket, every major tournament, you have the same set of 8-10 teams which participate, along with a few minnows here and there. In football, every single nation has a team, and the fierce competition makes it all the more exciting.

The Unpredictability:
Football is a game where anything can happen. It is possible for Bangladesh to defeat Australia in a cricket match, but how many times? Take the case of football. In WC 2010, Switzerland defeated Spain, the eventual champions. Italy and France, the finalists from the last world cup, were both knocked out in the group stages. In Euro 2004, Greece defeated the favorites Portugal in their very own backyard. Talk of club football, and the EPL comes to mind. Any day, a team lying low can defeat the league leaders(Sunderland defeated Manchester City in January '12, at that point City had just lost a single league game that season).

Offside is the only rule in football your girlfriend needs to understand:
If you try to make someone watch football, the only rule to understand is the Offside. And even without offside, you can watch the match peacefully. In case of cricket, I wonder how long it would take to explain the Duckworth-Lewis method, the infinite ways of getting out, the different types of deliveries, team structure, extras... Good luck with that.

Now, it would certainly seem rude if I do not appreciate the good qualities of Cricket, and why I still have a soft corner for the sport.

India's performance:
India has low ranking in Football. Although I love the sport, I would like to see my country in the World Cup before I die. In the world of Cricket, however, India has a different state altogether. The defending World Champions now, I believe the Cricket craze among the Indian public started back in '83 when the national team, then supposedly minnows, lifted the trophy for the first time.

The Mathematics:
If you hate Math, you wouldn't understand much of the proceedings in a match of Cricket. With every ball of every over, every single stat changes. And corresponding to that, your mind responds. Yes, that is nice. On the other hand, statistics in football is fairly simple, and even a kid can do that with his fingers(well, not the number of goals scored my Messi, but you get my point).

Frankly, the footie sport wins 9 on 2. What more can I say?

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