Cricket is dumb, viewer-wise. What is the bother? That your country has won or your favourite club has won or your team batter has scored a century or your team bowler has dismissed couple of batsmen. These are blocks of emotion suitably wasted. This is Tribalism — My and Others.
A game of Tennis or Football displays stamina, skill, strategy, teamwork at every moment of the game. In Tennis, the speed of service, the returns, volley, dropshots etc. are the content of every game, set and match. Viewers see the opponent crafting their strategies for victory. A Football goal is richer in content than a fall of wicket in cricket. An action replay of a goal will show thought and strategy. On the contrary, a fall of wicket is just a stupid fall of wicket. It appears like a mistake. Besides, a batsman thumping sixes is a no brainer for the viewer.
Cricket is intuitive. Viewers will never know what skill and strategies are called into play. All skill and strategy are resident in the players. What the viewers see is the resultant. The viewers see a batter score a century or get out. The viewers see a bowler dismiss a batter or get hit for a six. But what is the process at play? That is why cricket commentary is so important. Viewer needs to be informed. Somebody else is doing the thinking for the viewer.
And even if there is no commentary, what do the viewers see on some big screen? Four chief points are the lookouts. That someone’s bowling and someone’s batting and what is the score needed and overs left. It might take a couple of days, a day or half a day to know the outcome.
Football is a ninety minute sport with strategies and processes starting at kick off. A goal is a result of several steps. Every set pieces, like a corner kick, free kick is packed with thought and strategy. Even an attempt on a goal has a strategic build up. A viewer is involved in every step.
Tennis is a display of speed, and accuracy. Three or five setter may take a couple of hours to several number of hours. The more the extension of the game the more is the skill, stamina and strategy called forth in the game. A Five stetter Five hour match means both the opponents have raised the level of the game by several notches and brought out the best of skills. Any viewer will see that.
Both Football and Tennis provide “wholesome” viewership experience. Cricket provides only spectacle. A Football and Tennis game leaves the viewer with a “watched something” feeling. A cricket match leaves the viewer just with culmination. Some team won. That’s it!