Some months ago, Dreamcricket registered a cricket ground on the Moon on a whim. Times of India featured this offbeat cricket news in their Sunday Specials in India. Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror also carried the news. Hey, we were bootstrapping, so any press was good to have!
Now, cricket on the moon
Frustrated by ICC’s obsession with neutral venues, a firm has bought a cricket field on the moon in protest.
July 1, 2007
In April 2006, Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV secured the rights for international cricket matches on neutral venues for $219.15 million. Leaving aside the monetary angle, the objective of the International Cricket Council (ICC) was to stage matches outside the ICC member nations and to take cricket to unexplored territories. The most desirable venue, the US, remains elusive owing to issues surrounding governance, infrastructure and scheduling. In fact, it is now accepted that it could be a few years before the US can host such a fixture. Among the other popular venues, Sharjah remains out of bounds due to the past match fixing episodes. Ireland has not been very conducive to the Indian cricketers’ overall health. The moon, on the other hand is ready and available. So, there is now a cricket field proposal on the moon.
The moon’s first cricket ground — the Dreamcricket Lunar Cricket Field — was registered with the Lunar Registry this past week. The sale of extraterrestrial property, though without legal standing, is a brisk business online. The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) is debating whether to establish legal language that would make such sales null and void. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, adopted by the UN, stipulated that no “government” can own extraterrestrial property, but neglected to mention individuals. So, several space real estate agencies have surfaced over the years and have actually made money by selling land deeds.
The Lunar Cricket Field is located on the Near Side of the Moon in the Equatorial Region, and is owned by Dreamcricket.com, a US based company that began by devising online cricket games and went to buy media rights for cricket telecasts in North America. “Admittedly, it is a whacky idea to buy property on the moon. We just did it to express our frustration about neutral venue cricket, more specifically the lack of it, especially in the US,” Venu Palaparthi co-founder of Dreamcricket.com says. “So we paid $25 for the cricket ground on the moon.”
Why the moon? “Well, it is the perfect neutral venue for cricketers from the sub-continent. Look at all the advantages — it allows cricketers like Sehwag to regain form because gravity makes it very easy to hit a boundary. Also, there are no distractions due to advertising and fielding is convenient because one can dive around without fear of injury.” When asked if the land deed was legal, he smiled. “Let the legal experts worry about that.”
Come to think of it, sporting activity on the moon is not such a fantastic thought. On February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard of the Apollo 14 mission became the first man to hit a golf ball on the moon, using a ball and golf club head he had smuggled on board inside his space suit. He hit two balls just before lift-off, and sliced them out of the sand trap. They travelled, as he put it, “miles and miles and miles”.
Why not just build a cricket ground in the US? “We hope to build a natural turf facility in the US some day,” Kranthi Bayya, Director of Dreamcricket, says with hope. Dreamcricket recently obtained angel funding and is opening its first physical cricket store in New Jersey in August, 2007. The 3,200-square foot store will feature indoor nets that will offer a 35-foot run-up for the bowler. Bowling machines and video analysis software are being planned.
Image shows the location of the lunar cricket field