Should Cricket Be Classed as an Extreme Sport?

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Historically, cricket has long been called a gentleman’s game. However, the bat-and-ball sport is built on deep-rooted rivalries and a must-win attitude. In the modern era, the game’s ferocity means that it’s not as passive and light-hearted as many people think. By definition, cricket isn’t an extreme sport, but the fast bowling, powerful boundary hitting, and acrobatic catches make it a must-watch spectacle. These factors give rise to a fascinating discussion; should cricket be classed as an extreme sport?

Facing Pace Bowlers is a Risky Business

For players and spectators alike, fast bowlers have long been one of cricket’s main attractions. The elegance of the run-up, the power of the swing, and the perfectly-timed release of the ball make for captivating entertainment. Not only do pace bowlers create edge-of-the-seat action, but they’re also incredibly threatening to batsmen. Because of the speeds that they generate, the likes of Anrich Nortje, Jofra Archer, and Kagiso Rabada bowl during the powerplay in limited-overs cricket.

At the time of writing, the fastest delivery of all time sits at 161.5 kilometers per hour. Shoaib Akhtar reached these speeds when Pakistan faced England in the 2003 ICC World Cup. Few other sports repeatedly generate pace upwards of 150km/h, and that’s what makes cricket so extreme.

Despite wearing padded gear, batsmen are still prone to injuries when facing pace bowlers. In the 2019 Ashes series, Australia’s Steve Smith got caught in the head by a 148.7km/h bouncer from Archer. The Baggy Green’s former captain had to be replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who become the sport’s first concussion substitute.

Risk of Injury in All Roles

Nowadays, the sport’s fastest bowlers are at the forefront of broadening cricket’s audience base. Pace bowlers bring unpredictability to cricket, and that sense of unknown has long piqued spectator interests. The bat-and-ball game is one of the world’s most popular sports, and its position within the sports betting industry reflects that.

The best bookmakers listed at Winner.net cover an array of markets, and their cricket filter enables prospective bettors to search for offers relating to the all-action game. At bet365, for example, bettors receive sign-up bonuses and markets covering the Ashes Series, Indian Premier League, T20 World Cup, and much more. The inclusion of short-format events at betting platforms speaks volumes about the excitement that pace bowlers generate.

However, it isn’t only batsmen who are susceptible to injuries. Upon unleashing at 150km/h delivery, run scorers occasionally seek to strike the ball back down the ground and over the bowler’s head. While some bowlers are fortunate enough to catch and bowl the opposition, there’s always a risk of being struck by a returning ball at high speeds. Because of this, pace can also be the bowler’s downfall.

How Extreme is Cricket?

Cricket will never be an extreme sport. Not by definition, at least. However, that shouldn’t detract from the game’s unique dangers. Standing in front of a ball traveling 150km/h is an absurd thing for any sportsman to do. But, for cricketers, it’s part and parcel of the sport.