Cricket vs. Other Sports

It perhaps is a fact that people in India eat, live, sleep, talk and walk cricket. This is much to the extent that even our national sport Hockey gets overshadowed. The hue and cry over India’s early exit from the Twenty- Twenty World Cup and the negligence of our Hockey Team’s victory in the Azlanshah Cup for the second time in the row left a huge impact upon sports lovers. In the outrage of our emotions against the Indian cricket players and their ardent criticism, we forgot to give Vishvanathan Anand (who became the world champ in chess for the fourth time) and our own hockey team for winning laurels for the country the importance they deserved. I am sure that these laurels are in no way less than any cricket laurel, then the question arises why the step-motherly treatment meted out to other sports?

This is not the first time that such a scenario took place during May 2010, In 2008 when India won the T-20 World Cup and the Asia Cup in Hockey. The cricket players became heroes, welcomed by the state government on arrival in Mumbai, with the BCCI doling out large sums of money to the players. BCCI is a body for cricket, and it can give awards. But the Government has to appear broad-based and fair to all sports, and yet we know that is fiction. So, the hockey players, protested against the doling out of money to the players by State Governments.

Irked by the step-motherly treatment meted out to the Indian hockey players by the central and four state governments, when compared to the SOPs given to cricketers after their win in the Twenty20 World Cup, the team members decided to go on a ‘hunger strike’.

National Chief Coach, Joaquim Carvalho strongly objected to the announcement of cash awards by the Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and the state governments of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Karnataka to the cricketers while ignoring the victory of his wards in the Asian Continental Championship.

Some feel that Cricket in India is becoming an obstacle in the progress of other sports. M.S Gill, the sports minister of the country painstakingly said, “Television, commercialization and the advertising world have promoted cricket to an extent that it has become a Mount Everest, which is badly affecting other sports in the country.” Now whether Cricket has sounded a death knell to other sports is perhaps a debatable issue, but there is full truth that an equal exposure is not given to all sports in the country. Many budding players in sports like shooting, lifting, etc. cannot continue their passion due to lack of governmental aid provided to them at International level which is not the case with cricket.

Hence there is a need to reform the administration, infrastructure, training and facilities given to players of other sports than cricket in order for them to perform well. Other sports have the full right to move up the pecking order.

Juhi Gupta

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