7/10/2019 3:39:23 AM (GMT+3)

ECB has failed to cash in on ICC World Cup advantage

ECB has failed to cash in on ICC World Cup advantage

LONDON: From Hounslow to Aston Town or even at the city’s happening places at Trafalgar Square or Piccadilly Circus, one couldn’t really feel the World Cup cricket excitement.

Alongside the Kennington Oval – home of Surrey County Cricket Club -- business is as usual. Even in and around the Lord’s, hailed as the Mecca of Cricket, barring the tournament posters, you won’t find anything that relates to the cricket fever.  

During the one-hour odd bus ride from Aston Central in central London to Cromwell Road in South Kensington, virtually nobody had an inkling of a World Cup in the city.

What’s wrong with the local cricket followers?

Outside of the grounds, few people are watching though they’re aware that the tournament is taking place. Not a single game is being shown live on terrestrial television which represents a catastrophic failure on behalf of England’s cricketing authorities.

With no major football activities around, the Cricket World Cup could’ve been an opportunity for the sport to reintroduce itself to fans and people who’ve stopped engaging since cricket disappeared to satellite TV.

The new generation could’ve been attracted, but it didn’t happen either as only the local Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankans and Afghanistan people have frequented the venues. The atmosphere within the grounds, particularly for matches involving subcontinent teams has been electric.

Some of the games have been thrillers and the global TV audience has been huge, with reputedly over a billion people watching the India-Pakistan match. Sadly, the English team, which has some swashbuckling players, failed to captur the public imagination.

Surprisingly, the World Cup has failed to become a part of national conversation.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has failed to cash in on the advantage provided by the ICC Cricket World Cup. In fact, their 2005 decision to show all of England’s matches on Sky has restricted the games to a paid-for-channel.

ECB wanted to ensure the revenue was more important than developing a serious audience for the sport, and the Ashes test match has also attracted fewer viewers. But the consequences for the game in the long run could be disastrous.