Why cricket is better than football
If watching football is like consuming a delicious burger, then cricket is like having a seven-course gourmet meal.
I read Azeem Abbas's blog, "Ten reasons why football is better than cricket", and felt compelled to write a lighthearted response. So, here are ten reasons why I feel cricket is better than football:
1) The Pakistan factor:
I grew up as a fan of the Albicelestes (Argentina National Football team), and love following Inter Milan, Barcelona, and the English Premier League in general. But no matter how many Barcelona jerseys I buy, or how many Argentina flags I stick on my car whilst struck with Football World Cup fever, there is just something about cheering for your own country in a sporting event, which comes from the soul and is a feeling that can't be replicated.
Yes, Liverpool coming back from three goals down against AC Milan in the Champion’s League final made for great television. And, yes, I still get hit by goose bumps, watching highlights of Diego Maradona’s artistic goal against England, during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. However, just thinking about Javed Miandad’s six off the final ball in Sharjah against India, or Imran Khan lifting the Cricket World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, makes my eyes go moist with national pride. As much as my mind enjoys watching football, my heartstrings will always belong to Pakistan.
2) The greatest rivalry in sport:
Brazil vs. Argentina, Germany vs. England, Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, to name a few, are some of the best rivalries in sport. But, when it comes to the mother of all rivalries, nothing holds a candle to Pakistan vs. India.
You haven’t lived sport, until you’ve been in the jam-packed Karachi National Stadium, and chanted, “AFRIDI, AFRIDI, AFRIDI!” as an Indian bowler comes in to bowl.
And here’s a question: How many of you Pakistani football fans would gladly exchange your favorite club’s most memorable win, for a chance to go back in time to tell Misbah-ul-Haq not to play the paddle shot against India, during the inaugural T-20 Cup final?
Yes, I thought so.
3) Test of Fortitude:
Football can indeed have great moments of attrition, but how exciting is it to watch Jacques Kallis bat out the final day of a test match, to secure a draw on a snake-pit pitch? Moreover, how absorbing was it to watch Michael Atherton bravely take balls on the chin, chest, and elbow, as he tried to play out time against Aland Donald, in Johannesburg?
4) Multiple dimensions:
From wrist spin to finger spin, from traditional swing to reverse swing, cricket has so many finer points to appreciate. If watching football is like consuming a delicious burger at a fast-food joint, then enjoying cricket is like having a proper seven-course gourmet meal.
5) No discrimination against weaker physique:
Footballers complain that size and strength are becoming too great a factor, especially in the English Premier League, where finesse players are less impactful. In addition to this, even legends like Maradona have struggled against physically imposing defenders.
In cricket, men as tall as Joel Garner, or as short as Sachin Tendulkar have found their places as legends of the game. Even leg spinners of completely different physiques, such as Shahid Afridi and Devndra Bishoo, are both fairly effective in their art.
6) Different formats for everyone:
You have test cricket for the purists, T20 for fans looking for a quick fix, and ODIs for those looking some balance. Each format exists to appeal to a different mindset, and no one is forced to watch something they don’t want to.
7) Cricket stadiums look better:
A circle is just more aesthetically pleasing than a rectangle. Ask any artist.
8) Cricketers look ready for battle:
A batsman wears a helmet with a grill, he wear protective padding, and is armed with a wooden club that can take a man’s head off. Some bowlers wear gold necklaces (Curtley Ambrose), some have holes in their shoes for their toes (Waqar Younis), while others look ready for conflict with their war-paint (Alan Donald).
Footballers, on the other hand, look like they are out for a little jog in the park. And while a footballer will call for a stretcher at the slightest scratch, a cricketer (Mohinder Amarnath) will spit out broken teeth, and even play with his arm in a cast (Salim Malik), if necessary.
9) Cricketers don't whine like children:
Imagine Inzamam-ul-Haq, or Arjuna Rantaunga, rolling on the ground, feigning injury, and shedding crocodile tears to get the umpire’s attention. Makes you giggle doesn’t it?
Footballers pretend to get hurt all the time to get rival players carded, coming across as overgrown babies as a result. Footballers also tend to be much harder to manage, and throw tantrums at random. Just think about Wayne Rooney’s pre-adolescent attention seeking tantrum, which gave the management at Manchester United a headache not so long ago. And how about Carlos Tevez, one of the highest paid footballers in the world, moaning constantly about homesickness?
10) Football fans are crazy:
Rioting, setting themselves on fire, destroying property, and murdering fans of rival teams, are just some of the shenanigans that football fans have gotten themselves involved in over the years. One of the worst incidents was the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster, in Belgium, when fans of Liverpool and Juventus started rioting in the stadium even before the match had started! The incident resulted in 39 deaths and 600 injuries, and long term penalties for the English Premier League.
How do cricket fans compare? Not nearly as nutty!