To the God of Cricket
We are back to the country where you made your world cup debut. Thank you for the many moments of pride & joy you have given us. And, thank you for 2011.
The winning six from Dhoni will remain strongly etched in our memories. Atleast till the time we win another cup and we hope it’s soon. In the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, the matches are going to be at odd times for the fans in India. And, there are only two jump over this hurdle. Option 1 – take a leave. Option 2 – download the best app and follow team India. We think option 2 is more practical. So we went around trying a few cricket apps and here’s what we found:
Cricket is a national passion. No surprises then that the number of apps available were also a plenty. So this time around, we opted in for a two stage evaluation. Our aim was clear, find the apps that make cricket more engaging & accessible. We began with 7 apps:
- NDTV Cricket
- Yahoo Cricket
- BCCI App
- Cricket Next
- ESPN Cricinfo
- Star Sports
To shortlist the apps for the showdown, we followed the India-Australia-England Tri Series final match between England & Australia on each app. Basis the format & features of their live coverage, a few apps clearly fizzled away. NDTV Cricket, Yahoo Cricket, Cricbuzz clearly didn’t excite us much. Though okay, we though that these apps might not satiate the voracious appetite of cricketing aficionados. So here we were, with 4 apps to be evaluated in the finals.
Our parameters for evaluating the best cricketing app were elaborate. That’s because the game of cricket itself is quite complex with 3 different formats, rich legacy, various bilateral series and ICC tournaments. Our final evaluations were made on the following parameters:
Here, we looked at how many different operating systems viz. Android, iOS, Windows & Blackberry were the apps available on.
Impatience was the key influencer here. We looked at what time the apps took to update every ball bowled.
We had to really dig in deep here. Being cricketing freaks ourselves, we wanted high value content. Aspects like complete player profiles, player records, cricket grounds & their history, news, opinions & blogs mattered to us. Beyond this, we looked at video content such as match highlights, player interviews & expert analysis.
Everything boils down to this point. Here too, we looked at rich experience that was interactive and immersive. Being fans of Harsha Bhogle, we love the romance of text commentary. Balancing this romance were modern day digital aspects such as wagon wheels, hawk eye, ball by ball snapshots and live video integration.
Another important aspect was how much did the app make a match more engaging & interactive.
We looked at 4 distinct categories of properties viz. India International i.e. all official international matches played by the men’s senior team, India Domestic i.e. key domestic tournaments viz. Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy & Deodhar Trophy. Finally the most important franchise leagues viz. IPL & CL T20.
Each parameter was evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. The scores are mentioned in gray.
Quite honestly, we couldn’t bank on a single app experience. As you can see from the evaluation, there are clear strengths of each app. Here are a few parameters that really stood out:
- Video Content: Star Sports & BCCI Official won hands down. But then, they hold the broadcast rights. So, other apps couldn’t even open their scoring on this front. The match centre of Star Sports is the most complete video experience one could ever wish.
- Text Commentary: Absolutely no doubts here. ESPNcricinfo is class apart. Every comment from them seems like the perfectly timed stroke right from the middle of the bat.
- Information: ESPNcricinfo again stood way apart with no competition in sight. It’s an encyclopaedia out there. Your wish is their command.
- Live Match Experience: BCCI Official absolutely killed it here. The LIVE match experience is as close to TV viewing as it gets. With photos & key match highlights being integrated in the commentary timeline, it makes you feel one among the crowd.
- Engagement: BCCI official finds itself in a completely different league here. With the pulse questions and social media tweets being integrated in commentary timeline, the experience is simply pulsating and super enjoyable.
So, we would definitely have all the three viz.ESPN Cricinfo, BCCI Official & Star Sports on our smart phones & tablets. In our opinion all three are extremely strong digital properties with each dishing out solid content. We wish you a happy app experience for the world cup 2015. Cheer hard for team India.