Just how do you explain the popularity of fantasy cricket? Even as experts debate whether the popularity of certain forms of the game is on the wane, the interest in fantasy sports has only sky-rocketed.
Interest in fantasy sports, and fantasy cricket, in particular, has been building steadily for years now.
Howzat, the best fantasy cricket app in the market, now attracts millions of users every year, with those that register being able to take part in contests for dozens of international matches and leagues from around the world.
When ESPN-Star Sports pioneered the Super Selector game two decades ago, it had a maximum engagement of about 500,000 fans on its website.
Now over 200 million Indians have tried online gaming at some time or the other, and the vast majority of those choose to play fantasy cricket.
Even before India’s World Cup triumph in 1983, cricket was the spectator sport of choice. But the engagement was always one way. The players played, and the fans watched.
They cheered or jeered, and then went home. What fantasy cricket did was bridge the gap between the players on the field and the fans on the other side of the boundary line.
Watching the game is no longer a passive experience. Fans who have chosen a fantasy team are invested in every ball that’s bowled.
Just like every run scored on the field, every point counts as you try to eke out an advantage in the various fantasy leagues you can participate in.
What Howzat offers is the most realistic gameplay. Players are valued according to their actual performances.
You won’t see a situation where a Virat Kohli, with a decade of sustained excellence behind him, is assigned the same value as a Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has enjoyed one incredible Indian T20 League season.
You have to balance your XI taking into account each player’s value. As easy as it would be to fill up the slots with a who’s who of the game, that can’t be done because of budgetary constraints.
Howzat also mimics real cricket in how you have to balance the team composition. As with cricket on the field, it pays to have fast-scoring top-order batters, reliable all-rounders, wicket-taking bowlers, and a wicketkeeper who can chip in with fast runs.
The app gives you a wealth of pre-match information too, and your selections could well change based on weather conditions and the recent form of the players.
Practice makes perfect
Just as it takes time to build a successful cricket career, you can ease your way into the Howzat experience. There are unlimited free games to help you get an idea of how the contests work.
You can try out various strategies while taking on real players from across the country. Once confident enough that you’ve got what it takes to mix it with the experts, there are plenty of contests for big cash prizes.
And the better you get, the more you can enjoy the cash bonuses and offers that the app gives you.
Howzat also has an extremely popular Beat the Legends feature, where your team can take on those chosen by the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Kieron Pollard, and Kumar Sangakkara.
If you always thought your knowledge of the game, its intricacies, and its strategies were a cut above the rest, here’s your chance to prove it against the legends of the game, almost each of whom has a T20 World Cup winner’s medal.
What fantasy cricket has done is build on the cultural shifts that were brought about by satellite television in the 1990s. No longer did watching a cricket match mean watching the Indian team.
A serious fan could follow the Ashes from Australia at the crack of dawn, watch a Test match in Asia before noon, tune in to action from South Africa in the afternoon and wind down with action from England at night. For the insomniacs, there would be a telecast from the Caribbean.
Fantasy cricket has taken that one step further. You may follow every match of the Indian T20 League, but your expertise when it comes to picking teams need not be confined to that.
There’s now The Hundred in the UK, the Australia T20 League in Australia, the Caribbean T20 League in the Caribbean, a T10 tournament in the UAE, and a host of other competitions to keep fans engaged throughout the year.
Find your inner cricket star
When you play cricket fantasy league online, what you’re really doing is connecting with the player inside you. You may not be able to hit sixes like Yuvraj Singh or swing the ball like Irfan Pathan, but that didn’t stop you from dreaming.
Fantasy cricket provides an outlet for those dreams. It makes it possible for you to show off just how much you know about the sport – your eye for talent, your awareness of conditions, knowledge of head-to-head records, and recent form.
And even if you are a little rusty, Howzat is there to plug the gaps with its match previews, tips, and insights before every major tournament or game.
Follow those, and you will rarely go wrong. Thousands of new players download the app every day and join the ranks of those whose day isn’t complete until they’ve clicked “Submit” on their latest team selection.
The game of cricket may have added new formats over the past 50 years, but the essence of it hasn’t changed much. What has changed beyond recognition is the fan experience.
And Howzat is right at the forefront of that change. What are you waiting for? Download fantasy app right away!