Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [narrator] Cricket is an old British sport. Very well played, sir. Cricket... of course, doesn't even have rules. It has laws. And that immediately strikes some people as pompous and self-regarding. [narrator] Those laws were mostly written in 19th-century London at a pitch still considered the home of cricket called Lord's. [newsreel narrator] For this is Lord's: deeply rooted in tradition and in the ritual tradition brings. You know, God bless cricket. It has a tea break in the game. [Brian Lara] It's definitely a test of attrition. A lot of people can't get their mind around, "How do you stand out there for five days?" [narrator] But cricket has changed. There's a new form of the sport That's bringing in more money, fans, and a different style of play. But one thing hasn't changed. [Kimber] It's complicated. It is one of the most complicated sports on Earth. It's totally wiggly. It doesn't even follow any apparent obvious reason. [narrator] That didn't put off the one billion people that were estimated to have watched a single cricket match in 2015 between India and Pakistan. That's one in seven humans. So how did this confusing British game become one of the most popular sports on Earth? [newsreel announcer] And here's the England side coming into the field. [crowd cheering] [newsreel narrator] A subtle battle between a slice of willow and a round of leather. [man shouts] Yeah! Got it. [crowd cheering] [announcer 1] West Indian skipper, Brian Lara. [announcer 2] What a great victory. [announcer 3] Unbelievable scenes here at the World Cup. [announcer 4] This is certainly not an Englishman's game anymore. [theme music playing] [Mandvi] Two teams of 11 play each other on a field shaped like an oval. The batting team has two players on the field at a time on either end of the pitch. They're trying to score runs, while the fielding team is trying to get them out. On each side of the pitch is a wicket. The wicket is three stumps topped by two bails. A batsman stands in front of a wicket trying to hit the ball delivered by a bowler from the other end of the pitch. If the batsman hits the ball, they score runs by exchanging positions with the other batsmen. Each exchange equals one run. While they're running, the fielders try to get the ball and hit one of the wickets before a batsman gets there. If they don't make it before the ball knocks the bails off the stumps, they're out and the new batsman comes in. If the batsman hits the ball hard enough, they won't have to run. If they hit it to the boundary, it's worth four runs. And all the way over the boundary... that's six. If a fielder catches the ball, the batsman is out. The bowler can also get a batsman out if their delivery hits the wicket, knocking the bails off the stumps. A batsman can choose not to swing or swing and miss the ball, and he won't get out as long as the wicket is safe. The bowler, however, can only bowl six deliveries at a time. That's called an "over," and it's really important. After each over, a teammate takes their place. When ten of the 11 batsman are out, it's called an "innings" and the other team bats. In traditional cricket, each team has two innings in the match and the team with the most runs at the end wins. If they haven't finished after five days, the umpire calls a draw. Technically there are ten ways to get out. But if you ask someone to explain them, cricket can get very confusing very quickly. Leg before wicket, one of the ways someone can be out and the nature of the umpire, the nature of fielding positions: silly mid-on, silly mid-off, extra cover, third man. It's all very coded and peculiar, cricket. I suppose that's the problem. [Mandvi] The British didn't just write the rules of cricket... they spread it around the world by taking it to their colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries. British soldiers played it, and the local people either took to it or didn't. In Canada, they didn't particularly. A bit cold. So they went to the ice hockey instead. But in the warmer countries, it seems obviously to have taken off. [Mandvi] Even the United States played before baseball became the patriotic pastime. America decided cricket smacked of colonialism, and therefore, they were not going to play. [Mandvi] But in other colonies, playing cricket was an opportunity to beat the colonizers at their own game. And the English began inviting teams to come test their skills against them in England. The competitions were called test matches, which is what the long form of the game continues to be called. Most of the countries and the top countries that play the game has that little element of wanting to get back at the English. [Mandvi] And the colonies got a new opportunity to do that starting in 1975, when cricket got a World Cup. Without the World Cup, cricket would still be a gentlemanly agreement. "Oh, yeah, we're free at that time of year. We'll come over." Whereas the World Cup gives everyone the chance to prove themselves. [Mandvi] In order to play a tournament, matches needed to be shorter and end with a winner and a loser. So they played a one-day form of the game that limited the number of overs faced by each team. [crowd roaring] The first two World Cups were both won by the West Indies. My mother was jumping in the kitchen when the West Indies were winning. Did she care about the game that much? No. Did she understand the game that much? No. But cricket meant a lot to us as West Indians, and not just in the Caribbean. [Mandvi] In the third World Cup, England didn't even make the finals. They had lost to India, a team playing against the West Indies after having won a single game in the first two World Cups. In the final, nobody gave India a chance. They were like interlopers. On the day of the match, the feeling was, "Who are these people? Why are they at Lord's? Why isn't England at Lord's?" [Mandvi] But on the turf of their former colonizer and with odds of 66 to one, India won. [Bose] In '83 was, for the first time, Indians at home watch their team win abroad. [crowd cheering] This is a new India emerging. I mean, the economic prosperity of India came a decade later. But if you think, that marked the moment when India was confident. [crowd cheering] We played like winners. Throughout the game, throughout the series. Everybody fight for their lives, and they said, "We will do it." Nineteen eighty-three, that generation began to feel they didn't look to have a merit certificate from England to feel that they were good enough to compete in the world. India, for the first time, began to show that a country of that size, if it has prosperity, if it has television reach, it can play an enormous part in reshaping cricket, which it has done. [Mandvi] Four years later, India hosted the first World Cup outside of England. [crowd cheering] There's an Indian word called "tamasha," which means fun, excitement, glamour, uncertainty all rolled into one. And one day cricket became instant tamasha. [crowd cheering] -[whistle blows] -[cheering continues] [Fry] You just are amazed that something that was started on green turf at the site of an English church, and, you know, polite applause and, "Well played, good fellow," becomes this screaming religious ceremony. -[crowd roaring] -[announcer 1] Pakistan win the World Cup. A magnificiant performance in front of 87,000 people. Imran Khan is waiting inside. [crowd cheering] [announcer 2] McGrath wide on the crease and that goes for four. And the crowd loving every minute of it. [announcer 3] Could be caught... Is caught. Sachin Tendulkar celebrates. [Kimber] Political power then became that the World Cup was worth so much money and that India and Pakistan were bringing in so much of that money, that the sort of democratization of the game, and it went from being England and Australia running the game to a more global thing. [Mandvi] In England, domestic cricket was losing fans, so something was done to save the sport at home, but it would only accelerate the power shift to Asia. In the early 2000s, a British TV Network paid for Stuart Robinson and his marketing team to research what the problem was. The key word that came out of that was cricket was "inaccessible." It was a sport for the posh. [Mandvi] Robertson had an idea: an even shorter form of cricket limited to just 20 overs for each team that would last three hours. [Robertson] And we asked those people if we introduced a game of cricket that lasted less than three hours, would they come to see the game? And all of those people who were indexed as never having come to a cricket match before, they massively over indexed in saying, "Yes, we would come to that." [Mandvi] They called the new format "twenty20," "T20" for short, and pitched it to the heads of English cricket at Lord's. We were arranged around this enormous table in alphabetical order. So it started with Derbyshire, then Durham, Essex, and it went all the way around to Yorkshire. You know, the 60-year-old white males who had loved their traditional cricket, don't particularly like change. Then the vote went up, started counting the hands as quickly as I could, and we realized that it was 11-seven in favor. [Mandvi] The next summer, T20 made its debut in England. The guy on the P.A. system, at start of the game, he said, "Welcome to the future of cricket." And it was amazing. It was a great statement. [Mandvi] Not everyone agreed. I still remain... to be sold on the idea. I don't like the razzmatazz that's going to go with it. [Mandvi] The rest of the world got their opportunity to judge the new format in 2005. [announcer] We welcome the world into Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, the first ever Twenty20 international in the history of the game. New Zealand against Australia. It felt a little bit like they weren't taking it very seriously. [announcer] And here they come. Look at Hamish Marshall in the background. -[laughter] -Goodness me. What is he on? Or a lot like they weren't taking it very seriously. They were all but drinking during the game. And that tells you how serious the game was. Oh, my heavens! They look like a psychedelic funk band from Chicago in 1975. [Mandvi] That reputation stuck, and when the format got its own World Cup, the advertising made it clear that T20 cricket was for... [man] Party people! The ICC World T20. From 11 to 24th of September it's off the hook! India were like, "This is stupid. We've already got one-day cricket. We're more than happy. We don't need this other stupid thing." T20 cricket was an English invention. India was almost dragged into the World Cup of 2007 in Johannesburg. They were were virtually dragged there. They sent over a young team. That happened to be the best thing they could've done, because a lot of the old players didn't really understand T20 cricket, whereas the young players kind of understood that you had to go as hard as you could.