You don’t need to be a sports fan to know that cricket is very popular in Asia besides England. It’s one of the top sports in England, Australia, India, and Pakistan, the big four of international cricket. Introduced by the British some time in the mid-XIX century, cricket eclipsed any other sport in Pakistan to become the biggest one in a short time.
Now played at an elite level, cricket is for Pakistan what football is in Europe. The success of the national Pakistani cricket team has inspired many young people to follow the dream. Additionally, some of top cricket players in the world have come from the Asian country, putting it on par with national sports in other countries.
There are other reasons why it’s the biggest sport in Pakistan which we’ll discuss below. One of them is online betting on cricket for sure. Click here to bet on Sportsbet cricket live odds from your home or on the go easier than ever. The sports betting site allows you to put money on your favorite teams and players and show off your betting skills.
Is Cricket the National Sports of Pakistan?
We’ll give you a simple answer – no, it’s not. While many believe it is, the national sport of Pakistan is field hockey. Which is a bit strange, we admit, but that doesn’t change the fact. Cricket feels like a national sport, though. It’s the biggest sport in the country, the one people play the most, and one that’s the top at cricket betting sites. And, the fact that it’s not the national sport of the Asian country doesn’t diminish its value. Cricket thrives without it.
With one of the world’s top cricket competitions taking place in Pakistan and the national team’s solid success in World Cups and Test matches, cricket will forever remain popular in Pakistan.
Pakistani Cricket Leagues and Tournaments
As mentioned earlier, one of the top T20 cricket leagues in the world is in Pakistan. Contested during February and March every year, it is played by six teams from six Pakistani cities. Visit this link to find more info on the Pakistan Super League or PSL for short and you’ll see why it’s among the best cricket competitions in the world, probably only trumped by India’s IPL.
Islamabad United is the record title-holder so far with a pair of trophies. The league is home to legendary players such as Babar Azam, Pakistan’s captain across all formats. He captains Karachi Kings in the PSL and Central Punjab in domestic cricket. With stars like him, the PSL will continue being one of the most dominant cricket leagues in Asia.
On an international level, the Shaheens (nickname for the men’s national team) are a full member of the International Cricket Council. It participates in all formats including T20, Test, and ODI matches. It’s the only national team in the world that has achieved something distinct. Pakistan has won the ICC World Cup in 1992, the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009, the ICC Champions Trophy came in 2017, and the ICC Test Championship was won in 2016.
While the national team doesn’t rank on the top spot on each list, it definitely is a force to reckon. At the very least, it’s a major reason why cricket is so big in Pakistan. The success of the national team and stars such as Babam Azar have inspired many youngsters in the country to chase their cricket dreams.
Top Reasons why Cricket is So Popular in Pakistan
Besides the fact about betting and the incredible popularity of the PSL, here are some other reasons why cricket is so big in Pakistan.
1. Cheap to Play
While you need some kind of equipment to play cricket, it’s not nearly as expensive as tennis, for example. Boys on the street play with a plastic ball and a bet. Some play with a cheap tennis ball. Tape ball cricket is popular among teenagers in Pakistan, and it’s great since it won’t cause injuries like regular cricket might. Since you don’t need to reinvest in that equipment all the time, it’s one of the cheapest sports young people can play.
2. Can be Played Anywhere
Sure, professional cricket requires a specific stadium, but street cricket can be played anytime and anywhere. Recently, many private fields have been introduced in many Pakistani cities. You can pay hourly to play on these grounds, and it isn’t very expensive. That’s often the ticket to professional cricket, which is why so many players enjoy it.
Of course, by offering private play-ons, cricket’s popularity is soaring.
3. Highly Sponsored Sport
Take a look at the PSL’s boards and you’ll see major sponsors. The league is sponsored by media and tech giants, cosmetic companies, and more. The national team is sponsored by the likes of Coca Cola, so cricket in Pakistan is just as lucrative and sponsored as other popular sports around the world.
Millions are invested in the Pakistani Super League every year, and that kind of sponsorship is often the only way out of poverty for young cricket fans.
4. Cricket Rivalry with India
The cricket rivalry between these nations is on par with the rivalry between Barcelona or Real Madrid or Manchester City and Manchester United. It’s big, and whenever these two national teams meet, sparks will fly. The pressure for players from both teams to perform well is intense, and not all of them have the nerves to take part in these matches.
Compared to The Ashes matches between England and Australia, this is probably the second-biggest rivalry in the cricket world. For more information about the latest Ashes matches, visit The Guardian cricket section.
Cricket Legends Set an Example
Pakistani youngsters have numerous cricket role to follow. Babar Azam is the latest example. In the past, the Asian country has produced superstars such as Abdul Qadir, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shoib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, and of course, Imran Khan.
Cricket has produced more sporting heroes in the country than any other sport. That’s why it’s played at such a high level and why children like it. They see a role model in these stars and try to follow them on the road to stardom, which is pretty inspiring.