To watch cricket at the ground or on TV? It’s complicated

81 All Out  > Conversation, Listen >  To watch cricket at the ground or on TV? It’s complicated
To watch cricket at the ground or on TV? It’s complicated

Where is cricket best enjoyed? Live at the stadium or on a screen many miles away? What do these experiences teach us and what really are we watching when we take in a game? The 81allout crew discuss.

Talking Points:

  • The challenges (and privilege required) to access a cricket ground
  • The ordeal of watching a game in an Indian stadium
  • The improved quality of television coverage that takes you close to the action
  • The complications of a televised game that is carefully directed and packaged
  • The distractions during a broadcast: advertisements, crowd shots, sponsor logos
  • Experiencing the conditions at the ground and understanding flight and length
  • The appreciation to be gained from watching the entire field of play
  • The democratic nature of TV – and how it introduces the game to new fans
  • The influence of commentary on one’s interpretation of the game


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

Mahesh Sethuraman (@cornerd)

Kartikeya Date (@cricketingview)

Ashoka (@ABVan)


Buy The Summer Game by Gideon Haigh (recently republished by 81allout)

India (hardback) | India (paperback) | India (e-copy)

Australia (paperback, e-copy)

USA (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

UK (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

Canada (hardback, paperback, e-copy)



  • ‘A TV producer needs to catch the pulse of where the game is going’ – Ajesh Ramachandran – 81allout podcast
  • ‘In some ways, a TV director plays God’ – Hemant Buch – 81allout podcast
  • What about the fans? BCCI could have avoided the Dharamsala mess – Karthik Krishnaswamy – ESPNcricinfo
  • Why do spectators get a raw deal – Gideon Haigh – ESPNcricinfo
  • Fly Lara Fly – Rahul Bhattacharya – The Cricket Monthly
  • A handy rule to have in sports – Osman Samiuddin – The National


Lead image from here.

4 thoughts on “To watch cricket at the ground or on TV? It’s complicated”

  1. Thanks guys. This was a wonderful chat. Inspired by you guys, I actually took my 5 year old son to the chinnaswamy stadium for the deodhar trophy final next day. It turned out to be a worthwhile experience. Cheers.

    Where the heck would you get to see such genius slogans? I saw the mentioned one in Chepauk 2001 day 5 India vs Aus. Inspired by the prose, I wrote a few other (cringy) ones myself. There is something to be said about community-watching for sure.

    In a stadium besides the atmosphere you are watching sport in full field of vision in 3 dimensions . Depending on where you are you can observe nuances that were well noted in the pod. This also serves to illustrate the differences in different levels of the game. You can observe differences in footwork, quickness, timing , hip rotation in different batters and see why someone is so much better than others. Same with bowlers.

    Since @cornered mentioned Tennis – in a tennis stadium you can see the ball trajectory , footwork, feel how clean it was hit and the incredible spin it takes to have it dive into the court. 2 dimensional TV can’t capture these well.

    I do agree a packed stadium with poor facilities makes watching in the ground a nightmare and this is across all sports. I’ve experienced this at Chepauk which is supposed to be one of the good ones! Has this changed with the advent of the IPL?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Tarun. Laughing out loud at “Ding Dong Bell…” I think a few things have changed post IPL era but the state of toilets still remain a big concern (more so for women who actively stay away from ground for this very reason). The ticketing system is also a massive turnoff – and there is no reason for fans to queue up (and risk a stampede) a day before the match. Sid Monga makes some fine points here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.