From T20 Thrills to Test Triumphs: Cricket is a sport that has been enjoyed by people around the world for centuries. Today, it’s followed by over 2.5 billion fans around the world. This popularity stems from cricket’s exciting formats, star players, global reach, and evolution with the times.
Now, with the rising popularity of this sport, we can only expect that more interesting things will happen in various sectors of the cricket scene. What are some of the trends that we’ll be seeing more in the cricket field this year? Let’s have a look at this article.
Dominance of T20 Leagues
T20 leagues are undoubtedly cricket’s biggest blockbuster. This was first introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003, and they were the ones who facilitated the first T20 domestic league.
Since then, T20 leagues have been established in major cricket-playing countries, and some of the most popular cricket events in this format are the Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League (BBL), and SA20.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is also a major T20 tournament that attracts a global audience. This year, it will be held in the US, Canada, and the West Indies. This is something major as it could help promote the sport in these places.
Even if T20 cricket seems to be the more popular format that many follow, Test cricket is still special to many. It continues to uphold the traditional way of playing the sport, and many seasoned fans are simply still enjoying this format.
The Rise of Women’s Cricket
Women’s cricket is also likely to get bigger this year with more players making a mark during major tournaments like the 2024 T20 World Cup. This is when Shafali Verma ends as the tournament’s highest run-getter with a staggering strike rate of 178.
English all-rounder Sophie Dunkley also etched her name in record books by becoming the first female cricketer to score ODI and T20I centuries across formats.
The inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) that happened in March last year also marks the significance of female cricketers. Some of the key players in the tournament are Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Ellyse Perry, and Alyssa Healy.
Young Talent Taking Centre Stage
Of course, emerging young talents are also spicing things up in the cricket scene. It’s always interesting to see how new and upcoming players can influence team performances. Here’s a look at some of the youngsters to watch out for this year:
Ollie Pope (England): English batsman Ollie Pople is known for his elegant strokeplay and has already made a significant impact in Test cricket. This 24-year-old cricketer has scored two centuries in Test cricket and is expected to play a crucial role in England’s batting lineup.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan): The 22-year-old Pakistani fast bowler has already taken 47 wickets in 16 Test matches. He is part of Pakistan’s international team as well as the Lahore Qalandars.
Focus on Mental Health and Well-being
Players in cricket are dealing with a lot these days, especially when it comes to their mental health. There’s this constant pressure to be on top of their game, and with fans sharing their no-holds-bar opinions on social media, it can get pretty tough.
Big names like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Trescothick, and Sarah Taylor have been open about taking breaks because of stress, anxiety, and depression.
What’s good is that cricket boards have already taken initiatives to prioritize players’ mental health. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) now has a full-time psychologist to work with their national team.
Popularity of Cricket Betting
We can’t deny that the sports betting industry is riding cricket’s popularity. Pre and live cricket odds are becoming more in demand at the most popular betting platforms today like Bet365, Betway, and 10Cric.
The global sports betting market was valued at $85.047 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% from 2020 to 2025. Cricket enjoys a significant share of this with an estimated $200 million wagered on ODI matches alone.
2024 is shaping up to be a great year for cricket. There’s a good chance that more countries will show interest in it. That includes countries that can give significant viewership like the US and Canada where a portion of the World Cup will take place.