Is Cricket’s massive appeal in India at the cost of other sports?

‘Cricket is a religion in India’- a powerful statement that would bring a smile on all cricket lovers in India.

However, rarely expressed is the other side of the coin – an issue of one man’s extreme popularity killing the very identity and existence of all other players in the mix.

No Doubt that the game’s popularity has brought glory to millions of fans residing in India and worldwide, has instilled a sense of pride even in non-cricket-following Indian audiences…whenever the country has won, it has brought laurels to the nation, elation to Indian people from all age groups- be it a tiny toddler who craves for sixes from Sachin and Sehwag’s bat and or the keen cricket follower who deeply understands the nuisances of the game and gets elated whenever the little master,  Sachin crosses yet another milestone.

But these cricket-savvy arguments rarely bring to light the other dark picture…

While cricket’s popularity has increased in India at a exponential rate, the fortunes of the other games has fallen to new lows.

Hockey –our national game , in which India was considered a super-power has degraded so quickly that team India had failed  to even qualify for the Olympics-the international sporting event in which India won medals in its golden era of hockey.

It’s a pity that many international games like Motor-racing, Formula 1 races, golf, tennis, Athletics, gymnastics, swimming etc. don’t even find an Indian representation….

But the key question is? Is cricket responsible for this…The arguments are endless both in favor and against this argument.

The supporters will say that all games have their separate, non-intersection identities, interests, fan-following and popularity scales…how come we attribute other sport’s losses on cricket’s gains…

The crictics will respond by equally strong arguments-if all the financial aids, funds, sponsors will be consumed by the ‘cricket’ giant ,wont
the other games be starved of existence…

The conclusion is not easy to draw and one possible solution is to focus on aggressive advertisement of other sports, by roping in  government aids,  big corporate sponsors, the media and broadcasting people, the games’s iconic players as ambassadors etc…

Maybe someday we can produce our own version of  a Micheal Schumacher or a Roger Fedderr…but for now cricket remains the undisputed king of Indian sports!!

Rohit Singh