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The football World Cup may be attracting viewers across the planet but cricket has a huge audience too, with a fanbase of more than a billion people, a major new survey says.

The report, conducted by Nielsen Sports for the International Cricket Council, put the number of fans at 1.039 billion — mostly male, living in South Asia, and with an average age of 34.

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However, 39 percent are female, the survey says, adding that the venerable, five-day Test format remains popular, attracting interest from 70 percent of fans.

The ICC said it was the biggest market research project in the sport, involving 19,000 interviews around the world with fans aged 16-69.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said it showed the sport needs to retain its focus on all three international formats: Tests, 50-over one-day games, and Twenty20s.

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