Cricket: Killing Other Sports in India?

Cricket! Cricket! Cricket! Cricket has become the religion of India and the national anthem of the country, so much so that the word “sports” has become synonymous with cricket. Cricket runs as the life flowing blood through the veins of the multitude. The madness with which it has gripped the ignoramus masses of our country is evident from their complete capitulation to its god-like worship.


Yes, cricket is the “god of sports” in India. I am not being even the least sardonic when I say this, but unfortunately this is the sorry state of affairs in our country. Cricket has sounded a death knell to the growth of other sports. Traditional Indian games like hockey, kabaddi, kushti have been relegated to a bygone era. Even international sports like tennis, badminton and football have not been shown any mercy despite us being so “West-crazy”. We hail cricket as the be all and end all of all sports.


Hockey, time and again has shown features of atavism. This so called National Sport of India has shown the most inconsistent progress, if it can actually be called progress. There was a time when India did win the Hockey World Cup in 1975 and people showed a keen interest in the sport, but not so anymore. The sport has died a natural death from lack of leadership and sponsorship. (Rather, it would be more apt to say due to a diversion of sponsors to cricket)


We do have a Sania Mirza, a Leander Paes and a Mahesh Bhupati bringing laurels to the country in the field of tennis; a Vishwanathan Anand in the field of chess. Then why have chess and tennis not been accorded their true status as cricket has been? Why aren’t they put on the same pedestal and worshipped as cricket?


Millions throng the cricket stadium when there is an India-Pakistan match to boost the morale of their country but where does this “morale boosting brigade” disappear when sportsmen other than cricketers need them. Don’t Mirza, Paes, Bhupati and Anand also play for their country just as cricketers do?


Prime time on television is given to cricket. Even a toddler is able to enunciate at length, the rules of this sport but how come do all suffer from “alogia” or “selective amnesia” when it comes to other sports.


Abhinav Bindra too, who won the first ever individual gold medal for India at the recently held Olympic games at Beijing, didn’t shy away from this life plaguing question. That India’s medal tally at all international game festivals is so low and shameful is evidence enough for our turning a blind eye to other sports.


All ace cricketers are forever in the news, be it for their promotion of various brands which has regretfully become a second money minting business for them, or for their liaison with some damsel from Bollywood. How disgusting!


I would want to ask a question, how many of us actually know the captain of the Indian hockey team? Alas! Not many.


What have we done with the state of sports in our country! There is not one single person reprehensible for this, but the nation as a whole is responsible for only nurturing one seed and murdering its fellow counterparts.


I am in no way a “cricket-hater”. Neither am I against any sort of privileges being given to cricket. In no way am I trying to malign the game, but I am wary against any form of ‘step-motherly’ treatment being given to other games at the cost of cricket. Instead, lets take inspiration from cricket and allow sportspersons from other fields to have the same opportunities, earnings and affections as well.


Tanya Saran

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