Sport is an integral part of most of our's life.
Some play, some watch.
Some play as a hobby, some watch as a hobby.
Some play with passion, some watch with passion.
Of the many sports I have played, Cricket is my favorite game. During my school days, used to play cricket everyday. However, never thought it could be taken as a profession unless you have extra-ordinary skills, mainly due to the limited opportunities to play and get selected to the next level. It was even once considered as a rich man's game like Tennis. However, things have been changing in the recent times.
Cricket is majorly dominated by 8-10 countries and not very popular among the rest of the world. One of the reasons being the game time is too long. The original form of cricket is called the Test Match and was played over 5 days for a result and might also end without a result (a drawn test match). The format is right called "Test" since it actually tests the skills, attitude, temperament, stamina of the players.
An ODI (One Day International game) was introduced as an experiment due to rain intervention of a 5 day game. ODIs are played ever since and have seen lot of changes since then in the game, where a result will known after the day's game. Still the game used to be played for 8-10 hours. Though introducing Day/Night games was a cool idea, still the game was long enough for many people.
In the last 15 years, a new format has been introduced called T20 which is a 20 over each format and goes on for ~3.5 hours. It became so popular that it started pulling a lot of crowd into the stadium. Lot of countries also run a premier league, most popular ones are IPL (India) and Big Bash (Australia). Since, its a short format, the players play the game aggressively, which adds a lot of color to cricket and keep the audience at the edge of their seats. Viewership increases as well all around the world. Though this format faces lot of criticism, it remains the most popular format till date.
World Cups are played every 4 years for ODIs and every 2 years for T20s. For Test matches, recently ICC is running a Test Championship which will pan out for 2 years period to decide a champion. Due to the recent COVID-19 situation, all the games have been suspended. IPL (13th edition) has been suspended until further notice. There is a T20 WC scheduled in Nov 2020, whose fate is unknown yet.
Professional cricket is now a possibility and many kids from school days aspire to become a cricket player and take it up as a career. Thanks to the governing boards to have made this possible. It's always so nice to see a young kid come and perform at the international level, who would have otherwise had a less impactful career elsewhere.