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Why Cricket is better than Football

Why Cricket is better than Football

1. It lasts longer

If you love watching sport, you want to watch it for as long as possible, right? Football gives you 90minutes. That's it. While it may make for a couple of drinks down the pub, you can't use a footie match as an excuse to laze in front of the TV for up to five hot summer days instead of ironing or redecorating the downstairs loo.

2. There's more of it

Ok, so Kevin Pietersen may have whined about the volume of international cricket, but for sports fans its great! The England football team play a handful of matches a year; so infrequently, in fact, that they don't play as a team and no-one knows what the best central midfield partnership is, least of all Steve McClaren. The England Cricket team, meanwhile, has provided fans with nearly 70days of action since January.

3. It's cheaper

You can shell out between £40 and £100 to watch England play at Wembley. That's up to £50 an hour. I've been to fifth days at Lords and the Oval this summer and seen about eleven hours of cricket for a total of £40. That's under £4 an hour, a fraction of the cost of watching football. Even full price tickets cost £55, representing good value for a spectacle that will keep you interested from 10:30 in the morning to 7 at night.

4. No club v country

One of my pet hates is when club managers declare that their England internationals have 'picked up a knock in training' and can't possibly play for their country on Wednesday, though they hope to be fit for that crucial club clash on Saturday. Sir Alex has made it into an art form. Cricketers do get injuries, and get 'rested' from internationals by paranoid sports physios for spurious reasons (Flintoff, apparently, gets rested unless his left ankle is so happy that it's whistling to itself and smiling at passers-by), but at least the Central Contracts system means that England, not their county side, make the decision.

5. Great rivalries

I'm not going to deny that football has some great - even the greatest - rivalries. And if greatness of rivalries was measured in violence and swearing, then cricket doesn't even come close. But cricket has so many more international rivalries. In football, England's main rivals are (in descending order) Germany, Argentina, Scotland. Feel free to disagree, using the form below. In cricket, yes, the Ashes fought between England and Australia is the biggest prize. But what about South Africa? Huge rivals that get our boys riled like no others. Pakistan? Controversies surrounding their last tour will give future matches an extra spice. India? There's a massive rivalry within England when India and England meet head-to-head. Thousands of British Indians flout Norman Tebbitt's test to make the atmosphere electric throughout every match of the series. And the same could be said of Sri Lanka and the other subcontinental sides. The test series defeat of England meant more to Indians than the anniversary of their independence. Football could never have that power. Windies? Ten to fifteen years ago, they were the team to beat. Revenge continues to be sweet. Because there are fewer good international teams that play each other more often, all international matches have the intensity of a long history of classic previous battles and controversies.

6. England are good

It may come as a shock, but England are actually pretty good at this global game. Currently ranked 2nd in Test Cricket (the highest form of the game) and improving drastically in One Day matches (such that England lead India in the current series and beat Australia and New Zealand just before the World Cup), England are one of the world's best teams. Winning the Ashes in 2005 delivered the ultimate prize that our footballers have failed to recover since 1966.

7. More happens

The most unfair charge levied at cricket is that 'nothing happens'. It is not true. I have watched football matches in which nothing happens. The nil-nil draw between Chelsea and Man Utd last season was an awful advert for sport. But in every cricket match (lets ignore rain frustrations for now) there are up to 20 wickets (not to mention appeals and close calls for stumpings, run-outs and catches) and scores of boundaries, from elegant drives for four to crunching hooks for six. There are simply more exciting moments in a cricket match than a football match. If you need your excitement thick and fast, then T20 cricket packs in the drama to under three hours.

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