Cricket has been a staple of society in the UK for about 400 years. While it started as a game only for young boys, it has since become one of the most-watched spectator sports. Though mostly in India and other West Asian countries.
While the shortest match ever recorded was only 50 minutes long, the longest game ever recorded ran for 9 days. The variation in the length of a test match can lead to some fierce competition, not only between local teams but also between national teams.
In this article, we’ll give an overview of some of the most famous cricket competitions in the world and explain how some of the leagues work.
Top Cricket Leagues in the World
Cricket is played in many different formats. It can be played over several days or several hours. It can also be played between teams in a national league or an international league.
Not only do the international tests bring huge numbers but the national leagues also pull big crowds. Most of the national leagues are held in the T20 format. That is the most popular in the world simply due to the accessible timeframe.
As of 2021, these are the top national leagues in cricket:
- The India Premier League generally has 8 teams, though some years have had 9 or even 10 teams participate. First started in 2008, the IPL format starts with a double round-robin followed by playoffs. In terms of size, the IPL was worth an estimated $6.7 billion, and it is the world’s most-watched T20 league.
- The Big Bash League Australia was first started in the 2011 to 2012 season. 8 teams come together to compete in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Hobart in a double round-robin format followed by knockout finals.
- The Caribbean Premier League West Indies includes 6 teams from various islands in the West Indies. It began in 2013 and had a slow start though is now the third most popular league in the World.
- The Pakistan Super League is the youngest league on the list since it started in 2015. It contains 6 teams competing in a double round-robin and playoff format.
- The Bangladesh Premier League is the second oldest among the top leagues in the world mostly due to its proximity to India and the popularity of cricket in that region. It started in 2012 and currently includes 7 teams. The format is a single round-robin and playoffs.
At an international level, the International Cricket Council (ICC) carries the responsibility of managing the national teams and matches. The ICC Cricket World Cup is generally one of the most-watched sporting events in the world. When the time of the World Cup comes around, the top 10 cricket betting sites in the UK report some of the biggest spikes in activity. It draws the attention of most spectators, viewers, and gamblers of any other sport in the world besides football.
Most Famous Tournaments
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body that is responsible for organising teams at the national level. Because of the broad reach and historical importance, some countries hold with their teams, the tournaments put together by the ICC are some of the hottest tickets in the sport.
- The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the world’s most-watched sporting events. It is held every four years and includes all 104 members currently in the ICC. The first three years tend to include various matchups of different teams in the preliminary qualification state. Then, the final year is spent eliminating teams until the final matchup. The format changes from time to time, and there are plans for 2024 to bring another change to the format.
- The ICC Champions Trophy was the smaller version of the World Cup, though also organized by the ICC and held every four years. It was a One Day International tournament that first began in 1998 as the ICC KnockOut Tournament and became the Champions Trophy in 2002. While it was extremely popular, it was cancelled after 2013 and had a spotty period. However, it will be back in 2021 with the championship being held in 2025.
- The T20 World Cup is another ICC tournament held every two years. It used to only consist of 16 teams. Generally the top ten teams in the rankings at a certain deadline and six other teams that have to go through the T20 World Cup Qualifier. Began in 2003, the tournament was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting in 2024, the tournament will include 20 teams.
- The Ashes Series is perhaps one of the longest-running rivalries in cricket history as it is held between England and Australia and has been since 1882. Even over a hundred years ago, the playful banter between the two countries was strong.
After England lost to Australia at The Oval, an obituary was posted that said English cricket had died. The obituary further said that the body would be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia. This post in The Sporting Times is responsible for coining the name of the series. Ever since then, the team that wins the five-test series gets to take “the” urn filled with The Ashes back to their country until the next series.
The sport of cricket has a strong beginning in the 16th century as a boy’s game, but the calmer flow of play than sports such as rugby and football allowed it to take hold in proper English society quicker than many sports. Now, however, the international and national cricket leagues bring in some of the largest numbers of viewers, spectators, and gamblers in the world.
The ICC World Cup tests bring in perhaps the most numbers and hold several of the top tournaments. But the popularity of national leagues cannot be understated. With access to spectate and bet on matches continuing to spread, the popularity of the sport will only grow and perhaps give rise to even more tournaments and teams.