TODAY -

More than bat and bowl and keep wickets : From 1975 to 2015
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: March 28 2015 -



Not exactly a game played by 11 fools and watched by 11 thousand greater fools.

Nowhere near the popularity of football but at least cricket today has a sizeable number of die hard fans and aficionados, especially in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and now Bangladesh.

This is apart from England, which gave the game to the world, the old power house West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand and the all mighty Australia.

Not played in many countries and its presence is negligible in Europe, barring England, and Africa.

Nothing to suggest that it can match football, hockey and basketball in popularity but it has certainly managed to catch the imagination of a large number of people, especially in the Indian sub-continent.

And so it is that the cricket world cup has thrown up immense interest in the sub-continent, even though India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have exited from the championship.

Tough to say whether the same level of interest will be sustained in the backdrop of the fact that the four countries have been sent packing but to be sure thousands of people will continue to remain glued to their TV sets till the final, slated for Sunday, March 29.

Difficult to say what makes the game tick with so many people, but there is a reason why the game has managed to kick up so many super stars like Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Clive Lloyd, Imran Khan, Vivian Richards, Ian Botham, the Chappel brothers etal.

Go to any part of the country and it would not be surprising to see people taking the name of Sachin Tendulkar with awe and admiration.

May not come in the same bracket of a Pele or a Maradona or sports stars in other disciplines, but nevertheless cricket stars too have managed to carve out a name for themselves, at least in the countries where the game is followed with religiosity.

At the moment it is going to be between Australia and New Zealand.

Hard to predict the outcome of the final, but it is nevertheless going to be a keenly watched final, for the two countries are neighbours, something like India and Pakistan, though their rivalry may not be on the same scale.

There will be heroes and zeroes after the world cup and there will definitely be debates over the merits and demerits of letting 14 countries take part in the championship.

Remember cricket is played only in some countries and most of the teams in the list of 14 have not played a test match. There will also be debates between one day cricket and test cricket as well as the newly born T-20 format.

All indications that truly the game is flourishing. As is the case with numerous other sports, cricket too comes with its fair share of commercial purposes.

Cricketers, especially in countries like India, today make a lot of money. Something that should be welcomed, for becoming a test cricketer is not a cake walk.

However care needs to be taken to ensure that commercial considerations do not over shadow the spirit of the game, something which has been testified by match fixing and spot fixing cases.

Let the players prosper but it should not be at the cost of the game. A point which should be remembered and perhaps this is the best time to drill home this point.

Cricket has certainly come some distance from 1975, the first world cup to the 2015 world cup.



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