To begin with, it is not the highly armoured gladiator like sportsmen, pushing themselves to cross over the line with the ball—American football—is not the definition of football here.
It is the game that is played on grass with light weight metal spike shoes worn by players, of which the elite ones are traded for millions of dollars from one club to another—called Soccer is the focal point.
The only common point between Cricket and Football is there are 11 players who take the field at one time. Similarities end there for the good.
There are decent number of good to diehard fans all round the globe who follow both the sports with equal passion. And there are few people who watch football just for the clubs and the players who are tied up with.
Probably people who watch both the sports with moderate to high level of interest are the ones expected to throw brickbats or bouquets on this article.
Being some sort of cricket fan, I always forced myself to see football during the World Cups to feel the excitement and develop a liking to the game. And these are some of the reasons why I could not develop an interest for the game which was started in the 18th century that is played for 90 minutes.
1. You have to wait for an age in that short span of 90 minutes to see a goal scored. Often I find watching the goals in replays than seeing them Live.
2. The crowds singing their team songs are the ones mainly responsible to build the tension on the football field. Muffle the crowd noise and see the difference it adds to your excitement.
3. Every ball in cricket is new and can change the course of the game. In football, unless a player scores a goal, it is not going to matter to the opposition.
4. Wickets and runs equally play a good part in cricket. Fouls and penalties unless they result into goals, are not affecting the end result.
5. A cricket match can get right down to the wire like three runs of the last delivery. A counter part of it does not exist in football. No, penalty shoot outs are as good as D/L method in cricket which is to bring a result when there is a stalemate.
6. Cricket players can have multiple skills like batting, bowling and fielding to prove his selection worth in the team where as football is a uni-dimensional game.
7. Exceptional skill by a batsmen, bowler or a fielder can change the face of the game at that instant where as exceptional dribbling skills in football can at the maximum result in good passes which again depends on the other player to shoot the ball in the goal post.
8. Barring the traditionalists, there are shorter versions of cricket which will keep you hooked. Never heard of a football match played for just 45 minutes.
9. The coloured clothing also enriches the viewing experience. Football often confuses with the jerseys and in fact, you really have to observe the players to know which team they are playing for.
10. Cricket tests the players calibre and mind set to the core when put under pressure cooker situation. In football you have the luxury to hit the ball out when you know someone is approaching you.
In addition to these, fans have a chance to compare and admire the shots played by one batsmen to the other. The line and length maintained by one bowler can be spoken for generations. Impeccable bowling and fielding standards are always there to keep one hooked to the sport.
Atmospheric conditions also play a huge role and brings the best out of the players.
If nothing else works, the curator has the luxury to change the texture of the 22 yard strip on which the game will be played anything ranging from three hours to five days, depending on the format.