In addition to the action that unfolds in the middle, there is hype and noise around cricket. As part of this change, players use mind-games to attack the opposition with verbal volleys and off-field sledging. Australia invented this weapon and have refined this into a science.
The noise surrounding cricket might have no impact on actual play but it keeps the fans interested. In today's media-driven world, controversy is news and electronic channels feed on an unending cycle of to-and-fro debate, disagreement and denial.
There is a reason why cricket demands attention and provokes shrill comment. As society becomes more open, an increasing number have access to platforms to express themselves. Also, with relentless media coverage, cricket literacy is at an all-time high.
Hardcore followers are bemused by high decibel levels and free comment that accompany cricket. They point out that fans may go hysterical dishing out advice but players take little notice of this.
But problems arise when players contribute to the cacophony with their utterances. Take for instance David Warner (all of five Test matches old) who spoke freely on the India team, offering advice and passing judgement.
The team, he declared, would struggle in foreign conditions and added that only Sachin Tendulkar was worthy of respect as he looked good on bouncy tracks. Compared to Warner, India players are far more restrained in their comments. Rahul Dravid weighs his words carefully and is not one to play a loose shot. VVS Laxman is equally careful.
Tendulkar is a class apart because he maintains a mysterious silence so that nobody knows what is ticking inside his brilliant mind. So precious is his spoken word that on occasions when he does express himself (as on the DRS) others listen with rapt attention.
(The writer is an administrator with an IPL team and the views expressed are personal.)