Indian obsession with the game of cricket
Mubasir Raji *
2nd T-20 Veteran Cricket tournament 2014 at Langthabal in Feb 2014 :: Pix - Ashok Ningthoujam
In the recently concluded cricket world cup, Australia thrashed New-Zealand and claimed the title for fifth time. In the final played in Melbourne, the Australian team once again displayed their superior skills. Earlier, in one of the most hyped games of this World Cup edition played in Sydney, India cut a sorry figure against Australian and made the game a one sided affair.
The star studded Indian team was unable to display a watchable show when it mattered, the most. In that game, the Australia beat India in every department of the game. To display their frustration over the performance of the Indian cricket team, fanatic Indian fans even destroyed many television sets. One boy even chopped off his tongue and such are the heights of stupidity.
In India, cricketers have always been given the royal treatment. Money, fame, adulation and more, cricketers get everything conceivable accolades. While the other sports personalities hardly got the recognition they deserved. Media as well as the public hardly gave enough attention to other sports other than cricket.
India made a mess of herself when organizing the last Commonwealth Games. There are cases still pending to be investigated on scams that have been taken place during the run-up to that event. Yet, every year, there is a cricketing extravaganza called Indian Primer League (IPL) being organized successfully every year. It is impossible to phantom any sporting league of the size the IPL in India associated with any other sports other than cricket.
So, why India has such a big obsession with the game called cricket? Even though India has a population of about 100 cores, one needs to watch the Summer Olympic Games to realize the sporting power of the Republic of India. Smaller countries, both in terms of number and size perform far better than India. Something must be wrong in the kind of sporting culture India is nurturing.
India already has a separate Sports Ministry headed by a minister of the rank of Cabinet Minister. So it can be certain that the Government of India already recognizes the importance to be given to sports in building the nation. At least theoretically, it can be assumed that the Government of India recognizes the gravity of the overall sporting arena in India. As there is already an important ministry headed by a cabinet minister, it can be assumed that the lack of funds and infrastructure related issues can dealt with systematically.
Two things that have been plaguing the Indian political scene since independence in 1947 are nepotism and corruption. Just like the political scene, sporting arena is no exception. Instead of giving credence to talent and fairness, nepotism is always the name of the game. Weather it is in the case of awarding Bharat Ratna or Arjuna Awards there are controversies abound for overlooking well deserved candidates and giving the same to some other candidate based on political and other affiliations.
The writer understands the fact that some kind of competition and controversy is bound to hit every awards and honours, but one cannot simply laugh away the gross nature of matter by stating “controversy is there that is why there is award to settle the ultimate winner”.
The national awards and honours given by the Government of India should bear a clear hallmark of the policy of the Government and the spirit of nation building.
As far as obsession with the game of cricket is concerned, Indian public prefer to watch a test match cricket which is being played for five consecutive days over a ninety minute game of soccer! There are only eight test cricket playing nations in the world, so cricket is by no means a very popular game in world over. So it is really intriguing to see such fanaticism over this game while it is not at all bad to love a particular game.
As a matter of fact, Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) is the world richest cricket board. There are many big cricket stadiums in India. One lakh capacity Eden Garden Cricket stadium is packed when hosting an international match featuring India. Many people watch the match by climbing trees and roof-tops when people fail to get ticket. So, one still needs to find what makes this game so special to Indian public mind.
* Mubasir Raji wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on April 27, 2015.
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