Cricket, whenever this word is uttered, many bats are wielded in a hurry to play, as the striker goes ahead to smash the balls. This is the game of “cricket” which is another name of religion in a country like India. However, the question “Is cricket a game or a business” is something to be pondered over in detail. In India, every child is given a bat and a ball on his/her birthday, and this is something which has been followed traditionally all over the country. However, slowly and slowly cricket is becoming more like a business than a game. The sportsmanship is no longer visible and there is an attitude of a businessman on the field. The words seem very harsh but this is the reality, cricket in India is losing its charm and is racing towards business. When the game was discovered in early eighteenth century, the prime objective of it was to entertain its audience and to deliver what it was made for.
Moreover the players showed sportsmanship whenever they were on the field. But today cricket has been obliterated with racism with players violating the very rules of the game. It is no longer a gentleman’s game. Few decades ago, when cricket did not have many sponsors, the only thing players did on the field was representing their country as the pride and honor of their country rested on their shoulders. Moreover, they played like true gentlemen and enjoyed every bit of it. The scenario has changed completely as cricket today has become a million dollar business. Is money, now, the sole reason why everyone wants to become cricketer is a question worth asking. Under the new IPL deal, there is a contract system for every player and each one gets a fixed amount whether he represents his country or not. The amount is really huge upto Rs. 50 lakhs for experienced players. The money is rated with the performance they show on the pitch. Moreover,every other player is approached by a company for endorsing their brands. The game has become so lucrative that more and more people want to become part of the Team. It’s the money which is attracting the nation and not the game. Cricket is more like a business now where salaries are being given to the ‘employees’. But in the midst of all this what is the role that the fans are playing? Are they coming to see the spirits of the players rising in unison and getting motivated or are they just the consumers of some product whose price they paid for the entry? Fans want to enjoy the game and also wanted that their favorite player performs on the field but to their surprise something else happens. The enthusiasm no doubt is there with the players but that drive is missing as everyone knows that whether they perform or not they will get their money. This needs to be changed for the improvement of the game and for maintaining the interests of the audience who is paying so much to watch the game. Cricket has become more commercialized and adding icing on the cake is the introduction of IPL by the BCCI. IPL (Indian Premier League) is the flagship of the BCCI and is basically for domestic cricket. Here, the players from different countries have been invited and a contract has been signed. A Sport is associated with the talent of the players, and not with the money associated with it. The high spirits that are an integral part of any sport, even cricket, seem to be fading with each passing day. Every other player is endorsing a new brand and their bank balances occurred to be prodigious. The time is to do something and bring back the lost glory of cricket and the very carriers of it. IPL and its franchisees have to understand that it is not possible to retain the fans unless something worth is shown on the fields and their main strategy should be on growing and nurturing real fans. The element of competition, a certain do-or-die situation seems somewhat suspect when neither national pride nor national honor is really at stake. And the huge money tags on players, both local and foreign, make them out more as mercenaries than real warriors in a game of cricket. The focus should be more on the sport that is being played on the field and not with the commercial aspect of it. The laurels will certainly come once every player’s endeavor to succeed no longer remains imaginary. Ravi Agarwal
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pj_in_oz/2301571013/]