When you’re not able to play cricket and there are no matches on TV, why not look up some of my favourite movies or serials that cover the best sport in the world?
Best Cricket Movies and TV Series
1. Playing Away (1987)
Playing Away is a comedy based on the premise of two different worlds coming together. A sedate English village club invites a side of West Indian origin to play in their charity week.
The villagers are a genteel bunch while their opponents, travelling from Brixton, are far more competitive. It’s a tale where two cultures mix and Playing Away is a strong reflection of the times, but the humour is the dominant element in this film.
2. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Music meets cricket in another tale of cultures colliding. 2001 saw the release of Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India which is set in colonial times at the end of the 19th century. It focuses on a small village in the country which is struggling to meet high taxes amidst a punishing drought.
The British Army are very much the villains of the tale as one of their officers challenges the village to a game of cricket. Tax payments are on the line as the locals begin to learn a sport which was alien to them at the time.
It’s a story of triumph in adversity and this big budget production should be high up your viewing list.
3. Bodyline (1984)
I can vividly remember watching this series in 1985, just ahead of that year’s Ashes series in England. Growing up at that time, the battle with Australia was a massive highlight of the cricketing calendar and that fact that Bodyline was still being talked about was an indicator of the serious rivalry between the two countries.
The series features some well known Aussie actors including Gary Sweet and Hugo Weaving. While the cricket scenes don’t quite replicate the fierce professional nature of the battle, it’s an entertaining look at one of the most pivotal series in the history of the game.
4. Hansie (2008)
The story of South Africa’s Hansie Cronje is a controversial and, ultimately, tragic one. We all know about Hansie Cronje’s issues with match fixing but this 2008 movie reminds us that there is more to his life and his relationship with cricket.
The film is directed by Frans Cronje who, as Hansie’s brother, is ideally placed to tell the story. It deals honestly with the aftermath of the player’s actions and what was seen as an ultimate betrayal. In a sad tale, Hansie also looks at the human consequences.
5. The Final Test (1953)
A light hearted drama sees Jack Warner take the role of Sam Palmer, a cricketer about to take part in his last test match for England. He is desperate for his son to be in attendance but there are other plans.
Reggie Palmer, Sam’s son is a budding playwright who is intent on meeting his hero rather than travel to The Oval to watch his father. There’s an all star cast from the era plus appearances from cricketers including Cyril Washbrook, Len Hutton and Denis Compton.
It’s a charming film which is very much of its time and The Final Test is definitely worth watching from a nostalgic viewpoint.
6. Wondrous Oblivion (2003)
Different worlds collide in this 2003 release which stars Sam Smith and Delroy Lindo. Set in early 1960s South London, Jamaican immigrants and European Jewish immigrants live alongside each other.
They’re from different backgrounds but the one thing that binds two young boys together is a deep love of cricket. It’s a fascinating tale and, among a serious look at issues of the time and some great cricketing references.
7. Victory (2009)
Bollywood makes an appearance here with a 2009 film which features cricketers including Brett Lee, Simon Jones, Allan Border and Dean Jones. Naturally, there are some top Indian actors too and the central role is played by Harman Baweja.
Baweja’s character is Vijay Shekhawat whose dream is to play for the Indian national side. Victory follows his progress but, when he reaches the top, Vijay finds out that there is a price to pay for fame and it’s not all that he expected.
In all honesty, Victory isn’t really the best film on this list and it didn’t do well at the Indian Box Office when it was first released. However, I’d say it’s worth a watch just to see how professional cricketers perform when they’re placed in front of a very different audience.
8. Inside Edge (2017-)
There is an English TV series of the same name but this 2017 release is based in India. It takes a look at a fictional cricket team known as the Mumbai Mavericks who are a franchise side playing in the Powerplay League.
Inside Edge is a serious drama that covers all the ups and downs of being involved in top class cricket. Much of the plot revolves around the owners and their plans for spot fixing so it’s clear that all sides of the game are discussed.
It’s an award winning series and Inside Edge fully deserves the accolades that have come its way.
9. Iqbal (2005)
Iqbal is the story of a young boy fighting against all odds to make his mark on the world. The central character is a deaf and mute child who grows up looking to fulfill a dream of playing cricket for his country.
There is an anxious father involved who would rather see his child dedicate his life to the family farm and this is just another obstacle for Iqbal to address. Think of the Karate Kid with a cricketing theme and you have the premise of this intriguing movie.
10. I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer (2008)
This is a really strange mix of genres but it somehow makes for compelling viewing. It harnesses the slasher theme of I Know what you did Last Summer and adds in cricketing elements which provide more than a touch of weirdness to the plot.
We’re then left with a central character who is a serial killer armed with sharpened stumps and a razor sharp glove. It’s a bizarre tale which has to be seen to be believed.
Once you’ve exhausted that long list, I can recommend some excellent cricket documentaries to add to your viewing pleasure. Fire in Babylon, the Man who Bought Cricket and Death of a Gentleman are just three of the best non-fictional programmes that you can add on to your watch list.