22 Reasons Why Cricket (And Not Football) Should Be England’s National Sport

Rules, respect, eccentric... What could be more British...
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Rules, respect, eccentric... What could be more British...

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With a media profile out of all proportion to its actual, everyday, real life importance, association football very much rules the sporting roost here in England. I have been a fan of the game all my life, attending hundreds of games and watching countless thousands more on TV. Footie is, it seems, our national sport. Yet there are a great many reasons why our summer game of cricket should hold this distinction. So just what exactly makes cricket better qualified than football as the nation’s No.1 sporting pastime?

  1. Cricket is quintessentially English, with its village green image and associated trappings;
  1. In keeping with the English character it is suitably eccentric and, to many foreigners, unfathomably complex, with its silly rules and even sillier participants;
  1. As an organised, codified sport it has a long and distinguished history (going way beyond that of football);
  1. Generally speaking, it is played, and commented on, by more intelligent and articulate people. It is a more civilised game;
  1. It is infinitely more interesting and intricate, with its countless nuances and variations. Football is too simple a game to be truly and endlessly interesting;
  1. Compared to football, cricket has a cleaner public image / reputation. It is a classy game; football is, however, essentially ‘common’;
  1. It produces superior hero figures / role models for our youngsters;
  1. Cheating – and even mildly inappropriate behaviour – is absolutely not tolerated, and is clamped down on heavily. Cricket is a bastion of fair play, respect and gentlemanly conduct – including players’ attitudes towards the officials;
  1. Participants and fans seem to enjoy the game more – there is less nastiness and more joy in the stands and on the field than there is in football. Cricket recognises its place in the world and in people’s lives; football is way too serious – and sometimes utterly joyless;
  1. Cricketers take more pride, it seems, in representing their country;

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  1. The counties place national interests above their own – the existence of central contracts, etc., giving the English national team priority over everything else;
  1. Cricket is a game that can be played by all ages (even playing together);
  1. Unlike football, the women’s form of the game is given a high profile and is well supported financially;
  1. Cricket shows more respect towards its fans than football.
  1. There is a willingness to move with the times – embracing technology, implementing rule changes, etc. – in order to make the game more appealing to the fans;
  1. There is little violence on or off the pitch;
  1. We love our cricketers whatever there county allegiances, yet we seem to loathe our footballers;
  1. Adopting cricket as our national sport gives us English a more unique identity (after all, everybody plays football), and helps to rather pleasantly distance us from the likes of the USA and Europe;
  1. It is the sport of the British Empire;
  1. It is an almost unique combination of both individual and team sporting pursuits;
  1. Cricket is a great unifying force, bringing together Geordies and Mackems (Durham), Scousers and Mancs (Lancashire), with the whole of Yorkshire getting behind their side – and plenty more examples besides. Heavens, even the Welsh side with England!
  1. And lastly, we’re actually quite good at cricket – which seems as good a reason as any for adopting the game as England’s national sport.