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Web before Wicket!
January 23, 2003 16:22 IST
As the countdown to the Cricket World Cup begins, Bijoy AK takes a look at what the Net has to offer fans of this game
If the print, visual and audio media are gearing up for the arrival of Cricket World Cup with gusto, can Net be far behind? With astrology, analysis, predictions, quizzes, contests, cartoons, games, discussions and web logs galore, the Internet is all set to capture the excitement of the tourney and bring it to your desktop.
The Indian portal cricketnext.com has bagged the prestigious rights to webcast the event. For official information on the tournament you can head to the International Cricket Council.
Cricketastrology.com already predicts good things for Sachin Tendulkar, who has displayed a low-key form during the New Zealand tour. 'Watch him this session. Scintillating performances' it says.
According to Terry Walsh of Cricket Online, the Net allows people to get 'instant' access to information that other media cannot provide due to time constraints and obligations to sponsors. "Online information can be presented in a more interactive manner," Walsh adds.
Rediff Cricket too will provide its readers with lots of interactivity. Its World Cup coverage will have a mix of information, tools, analysis and loads of fun. It plans to send a team to South Africa and leverage its relationship with cricketers and administrators to offer the best possible coverage for cricket fans who throng the site.
Detailed statistics is another area where the Web scores. According to Walsh, statistics are not easily available on television. Else, you might find them in the next day's newspapers. Online, you can find almost anything you want, on any player.
Some cricket enthusiasts have gone further. US based Ramkumar Duraikannu has created a web log that will track the event. The Net will be the first choice for NRIs like him to enjoy the event. "Since I am in the US, I don't get to see much of sport magazines about cricket. So the only way I can get news is online," explains Duraikannu.
Pallavi Jha, director of cricketnext.com is also targeting the NRI audience. "With improved broadband availability, we expect an overwhelming response to webcasting, particularly in countries where cricket is not the prime sport on local channels," says Jha.
Vishal Shah, a software engineer who works night shifts, is a hard-core cricket fan. He plans to follow the matches online. Downloadable scoreboards and ball-by-ball updates by sites are going to be a huge hit among the office going public during this World Cup, says Shah.
Jha also predicts a massive response from the office going segment, since 81 per cent of the 54 matches are day matches and 79 per cent of the matches are on weekdays. "Advertisers have an excellent opportunity to capitalise given the time factor, Net savvy audiences, interactive capabilities and the cost advantage," she says.
The 1999 World Cup saw hectic activity online because of the presence of many sites. Walsh believes things will be even better this time around. "There are more people connected to the Net this time. 'Newbies' expect to see live scores and access information at the click of a button. Popularity of the game has also widened and more nations are able to follow cricket now."
With sixteen days to go before the start of the World Cup, fans can expect loads of action. Not just out there in the middle, but online too!
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