Cricket has become one of the most exciting games in the world today. The following of cricket, especially in the Indian sub continent is immense, where the players hold the stature of demigods. It is the fastest growing religion in India, beyond caste or creed. Though millions pursue the sport, only a handful manage to emerge as path breakers, even fewer become idols and enjoy the status of cricketing gods in this country.
How often do we hear children or our parents being excited or enthusiastic to watch a hockey tournament or any other sports tournament besides cricket? The answer is very few. Cricket has become every youngsters dream. Cricket has become our religion.
No other sport gets as much coverage as cricket does. Our cricket control board, ‘BCCI’, is the richest cricket control board in the world. So with money pouring from all ends, the cricketers enjoy a better standard of living and get more publicity than a hockey or a tennis player.
When India loses a cricket match then the whole nation laments. News channels have a 24 hour debate on the players’ performances and work put possible scenarios for the next match.
Even the brands shell out a whopping sum for contracts with cricketers for promotion and marketing. Sachin Tendulkar, alone endorses more that ten brands. Every player, whose career graph goes up, becomes the target of every brand for endorsement.
Every child desires to become a Tendulkar or a Ganguly. Parents also back them up to take up cricket instead of any other sport for even they know that cricket gives more financial security than the rest. Cricket is the hot topic everywhere from home to classes to canteens and streets. Though tennis stars like Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupati have slogged for many years to be recognized as an Indian sports star, they don’t even stand a chance against the fame of the new comer Ishant Sharma. Cricket is infact considered to be the face of Indian sports.
Even though Cricket is the age old game of India, I fear that, it is foraying into areas which are adulterating the game by making money and glamour a significant part of it. It seems that money has controlled cricket. With the introduction of IPL, that has thrown open the arena for businessmen, Bollywood stars and glamour, the sport is losing its sophistication. The ‘consumer’ has started paying for everything – tickets, cable, dish TV, the cheerleaders, the shirts, the sleeves, the trousers, the bat and the ball, the ground and the boundary line – practically everything, the beneficiaries are the sportsmen, the sponsors, BCCI etc.
Even big players, who know T20 is not cricket, are refraining themselves from opposing it because of money. ICC and BCCI who are supposed to promote cricket are killing the same.
I just hope that this money dominated era is put an end to and the essence of this sport is still reserved. The players focus more on the game, work hard and strive to keep the spirit of the game alive.