For most American audiences, Cricket is an alien sport. It’s no wonder then that Netflix‘s “Explained,” a weekly documentary series in collaboration with Vox, has dedicated an episode to it.
Narrated by Indian-American comedian and actor Aasif Mandvi, the cricket episode is an excellent introduction to the schematics of the sport as well as it’s immense popularity in India and other countries.
Mandvi takes the charge in this episode, which also features interviews from British actor Stephen Fry, author Mihir Bose, and West Indies cricket player Brian Lara. He provides voiceovers that explain terms of the sport like “wicket” and “overs.” He talks about the origins of Cricket in England and how they brought over the sport to the countries it colonized. This includes not only India and other Asian countries but also the Caribbean and even the United States.
The U.S., however, abandoned the sport because it reminded them of a time of being colonized. The other nations took it upon themselves as somewhat of a personal challenge to beat the English at their own game.
“Cricket” traces the mammoth evolution of the sport.
— aasif mandvi (@aasif) July 22, 2018
The focus is on how it shifted from being the sport of England to becoming insanely popular in India and amongst its more than a billion residents. They trace the Cricket World Cup over the years, understanding its reason for success. (India won the World Cup in 1983 for the first time and has gone on to win several other tournaments and matches.)
There are clips throughout the episode that feature famous Indian cricket players like Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Kapil Dev, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Cricket” also heavily talks about the Indian Premiere League aka IPL, a cricket tournament that started in 2008 and gained extreme support from players and fans across the world. The IPL teams include various Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai. Team owners include Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan.
Bose, who wrote the book “The History of Indian Cricket,” credits the success of IPL and how it became a model for other countries to create their own tournament to the Hindi language word ‘tamasha’ or spectacle. India has the financial ability, the powerful backing, and the readily available citizens to enjoy the show of cricket. IPL capitalized on all of it to start somewhat of a revolution in the cricket world.
“Explained” also features explainer episodes on cryptocurrency, K-pop, and the stock market. A new episode is added every Wednesday.
“Cricket” is available to stream on Netflix.