From Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian comes dispiriting news:
There are negative omens everywhere for Australian cricket. Television ratings are down 24% over 10 years; grounds are near empty for all but 20-over games and Ashes Test matches; the only real competitors, Rugby League and Aussie Rules, are booming, with Aussie Rules (AFL) taking up nearly a third of all newspaper coverage; and Australia have just endured the most comprehensive Ashes drubbing by the old enemy. It is enough to test any stalwart’s faith. Cricket, once indisputably the national game, has slipped behind AFL, horse racing, rugby league and motor sport, and sits just ahead of rugby union and soccer, according to the government’s latest attendance statistics.
Those who despise the Australian team, and have chafed for the last two decades under its dominance, enjoy a hearty laugh now. But, I wonder, isn’t this the norm in most white-cricketing nations? Isn’t cricket usually behind rugby and soccer?
Another question: is cricket the game “of the masses” only in India? Or is Indian cricket and its recent popularity more connected with the explosion of the middle class? Who watches cricket?