Watching live cricket is the best way to inspire junior cricketers. If they’re not playing themselves, then watching professionals play at a high standard in front of a big crowd is an experience that they won’t forget. My visit to an England v West Indies test match 35 years ago was an inspiration that has stayed with me ever since.
If you can’t be at the big match, then live coverage in the media is the next best option, though of course you won’t experience the live match atmosphere.
Televised live cricket coverage is available via satellite, while terrestrial TV is often limited to the highlights. However, one compensation for your not being at the match is the range of high tech analysis tools used by the TV commentators.
You can also keep in touch with the latest cricket score by a number of hi-tech means, including your mobile or PDA, RSS feeds and auto-refresh desktop scorecards powered by Flash graphics. Whatever your location, the technology is there to keep you involved in the action.
There are different benefits altogether from listening to cricket commentary on the radio. This has developed into its own art form, and is also extremely addictive.
The internet has also brought us live cricket online. This is in its infancy, and is usually on a pay per match basis. However, as demand rises and the cost falls, online coverage will rival satellite one day.
The most exciting games to watch are one day cricket matches, at county/state or international level. Their format can be either 50 overs, 40 overs or 20 overs a side. The new Twenty20 matches require total attacking play from both sides, and can easily be completed during a summer evening. The advantage of these formats is that spectators can see an entire game within one day.
Test matches are a different proposition. They are played over a maximum of 5 days, which allows plenty of time for ebb and flow in the fortunes of both teams, and are a true test of cricketing skill and endurance.
Most spectators will not stay for a whole test match, and get their pleasure from watching individual performances with the bat, the ball and in the field. However, in recent years Test Matches have generated great excitement and it’s often enough to be able to say “I was there” for any part of the game.
Big match entertainment isn’t limited to the cricket itself. Giant screens give instant action replays of the action on the field. Modern electronic scoreboards keep you up to date with all the match statistics. The speed of each ball is often displayed on screen, using radar technology. And, the lunch break often features kwik cricket tournaments or live music.
Going to a live cricket match does take some organisation, particularly international matches where tickets are often in great demand and are made available several months before the event. However, walk-up tickets are usually available for one-day games at county/state level, unless these are semi-finals or finals in a cup competition.
Either way, the best approach is to check fixture lists well in advance, and buy your cricket tickets in good time. Thankfully, online fixture listings are available for most international and county/state matches.
You may want to try giving your junior cricketer the Twenty20 experience first, and work up to a Test Match. Whatever your preference, both of you will have a great time!