Friday, April 6, 2012

Short Pitch: Occupy Cricinfo

Cricinfo, the arbiter of finality for all oval-based pub discussion, is a necessary evil.  It exists almost entirely to disseminate information about a game played where a cork ball enveloped in leather is flung at at someone wielding a ruddy great lump of willow.

The interweb - and through the magic of Google, its affiliation with ESPN and Search Engine Optimisation - is where an awful lot of us 6.8 evolved primates go in order to find out more.  As a case in point - Encyclopaedia Britannica last week published their final  - ever - hard copy of their 244 year old tome.  And ESPN Cricinfo, is often the first - and only - site you'll see.  Only cricket tragics know of sites like (the magnificent) Idle Summers. Click on Wisden's "Archive" and suddenly, you're linked to Cricinfo.  It is omnipresent, omniscient - and increasingly partisan.

 The internet, by its very nature, is almost all partisan. from the most - eg. Sarah Palin's SuperPAC - through the intentionally "homer" (The Sports Guy), to focus sites like the (again excellent)  It is a simple matter of knowing your audience; only a few sites have managed to keep the hardcore fans satisfied while also expanding to encompass a broader, more global audience.  Even with a good product, expanding your "market" without offending your existing niche customer base is hard to do - ask Linux.

Given the nature of international cricket - where its largest audience is from one country - Cricinfo, especially since former UK editor Andrew Miller moved on to The Cricketer magazine, has become increasingly subcontinental and T20-centric in tone.  Perhaps this is because I view Twenty20 as the tabloid version of a beautiful, nuanced event, but the result is - and this is very much a personal opinion - as the site becomes more small-pages-big-print and divests itself of keen insight, I find there is little of interest on Cricinfo without serious searching.

(OK, you got me - I'm newspaperist).

This is (probably) simply a matter of catering to dominant market demands, but by doing so Cricinfo has become part of the internet's 99%.  With the needs of a diverse populace Because there is no other site with the ability/backing to present the information they do, it behoves Cricinfo to remain as impartial as possible.

Corporate responsibility is a funny thing.  If you ask any company what comes first, most will answer "our clientele" or "providing the best service".  However, that stands true until the company faces decreasing revenues or being left behind in the marketplace - where those statements of intent should read "our clientele, until it becomes inconvenient".

Adapting Cricinfo to suit the needs of remarkably diverse network of populations has to be more than providing tacit acknowledgement of what goes on in the cricket world that's not sparkly - because that already happens.  Personally, I'm not sure how to correct the problem.  However, what I do realise is that as others become equally unenamoured with Cricinfo's "insight", they'll begin to search the blogosphere and find the 1% like World Cricket Watch, 99.94 and Alternative Cricket.


  1. Nice Cricinfo blog

  2. i like this post and this awesome cricket blog as well,
    keep sharing