Erica and Matt Chua: Can Americans Enjoy Cricket?

At Valley Forge George Washington participated in a cricket game with his troops.  This may have marked the highpoint of cricket in what would become the USA, but why is this so?  Can’t Americans enjoy cricket?  How does it compare to watching baseball?  We attended the T20 World Cup of Cricket in Sri Lanka to find out and offer the ultimate comparison…

As for excitement value, cricket matches baseball in dullness.  Both sports excel in offering vies of people standing around.  Better yet, just like baseball, you don’t have to worry about blinking…you won’t miss anything if you do…

EXCITEMENT WINNER: Draw, both of these sports are better in highlights than live.

What makes slow sports enjoyable?  Beer.  Cricket doesn’t fail the spectators, offering beers for $0.92 each.  Referring to this handy 2012 MLB beer price guide I see that the average beer at a baseball game costs $6.17.  To adjust for size, on a per ounce basis, cricket’s beer costs $0.12 per ounce versus the MLB average of $0.41.

BEER WINNER: Cricket.  Beer is what makes these sports bearable.

Fan fever is contagious.  While baseball fans go “all out” by wearing a team jersey, cricket fans layer on the paint, wigs, and costumes for their favorite sports.

FAN WINNER: Cricket.  The crowd could be confused with a US college football game in terms of passion, paint and energy.  Maybe it has to do with the cheap beer…

Sitting in the stadium for hours is sure to make you hungry.  Taking a page from baseball, hotdogs and burgers are readily available.  Sadly though, there is only one meat choice that satisfies Hindu and Halal tastes of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian fans: chicken.  Possibly better for your health, but not for your taste buds…wait though, who is that I see coming?

That’s right, chicken in it’s best form: fried!  God bless America, we may not play cricket but our “cuisine” is making an honorable showing…

FOOD WINNER: Baseball.  No matter the fact that you can get a hotdog for $1 at a cricket match, baseball delivers all the food you could dream of clogging your arteries with.

The sports themselves are crazy similar.  There are a few key differences that baseball fans will notice.

  1. Batters remain at bat until they get tagged out or fly out…there are no strikeouts.  Imagine how many homers Barry Bonds would have pounded if he couldn’t strike out…  The best part is that we don’t have to put up with any 1-0 “thrillers” in cricket, scores run into the hundres.  This single New Zealand batter brought in 101 runs….
  2. In the T20 form of cricket, five different bowlers (pitchers to us) must bowl.  So out of 11 players on each team, nearly half has to pitch and bat.  Coming from the American League, where the pitcher doesn’t even bat, this seems cool.  Cricket players must be multi-talented, not one-dimensional like in baseball.
  3. 360 degree batting.  In baseball you can only hit forward, within the foul posts.  This seemed fine to me until I saw cricket.  A cricket batter stands in the middle of the field and can hit in any direction, in front, behind, to the sides, anywhere!  The players in the field need to be paying attention as everything is in play…no fouls.  A 360-degree game…awesome.

SPORTING WINNER: Cricket.  Spectators don’t have to endure a “pitching duel” instead focusing on what Americans love most: offense.

Wait, are those cheerleaders we see?  Arguably the most “American” of all sports, yet absent in baseball…

BONUS WINNER: Cricket.  Throwing in a more American tradition than America’s past time was a bold move…and one that is sure to play well with North American audiences…


…………. RESULTS ………….

And the winner is…CRICKET.  Seriously, it’s baseball but better. More passionate fans fueled by cheap beer, the ability to hit the ball in any direction, hundreds of runs per game, your favorite player keeps on batting.  Add to that cheerleaders and KFC….What’s not to love about this game?


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