In India, ‘Cricket’ is not mere a sport or a game. It is a new religion. Few die-hard crazy persons may rate it as bigger than religion too. It is immensely popular amongst all strata of society. Everyone simply loves cricket, starting from a kid to senior citizen, a house-wife to a working woman, a student to a professor and a peon to a CEO. Indian male cricket team is in very good form for last few years. All the players of the squad occupy prominent space in the hearts of Indian citizens. That is to be noted here with inverted comma. But, this popularity is not as pure as gold. It has few degrees of immaturity.
Let’s analyse this matter in few related context.
First: We love cricket. For us, sport = cricket, game = cricket and vice versa. Our love and affection for sport or game is limited to cricket. Or let say, it starts with cricket and ends with cricket. We pay ‘rest of the importance’ to Football, Hockey, Archery, Table Tennis, Chess, Lawn Tennis, Carrom, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, the list is long. The other sport or game does not enjoy even one-tenth of the popularity of the cricket. In a nutshell, we are not “true sport/game lover country”. It is a hard reality.
Second: Our craze is restricted to International matches only. I wonder if it is the effect of globalization? We do not care so much for domestic matches; Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy or Duleep Trophy. We pay less attention to them even though they are same ball and bat. That’s why in GK quiz, the question is asked for this trophy to link to the relevant sport.
Third: We are fans (sorry, big fans) of male cricketers only. Female cricketers! Few innocent Indians would easily dare to ask does the team exist? The answer is yes. Their fabulous performance too cannot change our mindset. Are we so rigid?
Fourth: We always love the players who are in good form now. Recency is very important factor for us. The player must play today. If the player does not play superb today, then his earlier performance is easily neglected. We do not let go this opportunity, we heavily criticize. Media help us in doing so greatly. This reflects immaturity in our thinking and mindset.
If India wins then all players are almost God. Their cities are lovely. Their houses are heaven. We would follow and admire their security guards, pets, newspaper vendors, milkmen and if possible the coaches. But if. Yes, If India loses, then we take turn by minus 180 degrees in our perspective. We blame all of them for humiliating loss, such as brands they endorse, selection committee, BCCI, their media appointed girl-friends, etc.
I met a relative-uncle aged around 45-50 years few months back. While watching one of the matches on TV, he said with full confidence “100% of matches of India are fixed. ” I repeat for you. He said “100%”. He continued spreading his knowledge by saying that “India loses 95% of the matches”. Undoubtedly, both sentences are false. Cricket would have not been popular for us (and him) if we have been winning just 5% of the matches.
Fifth: How much time do we spend on watching cricket on TV or on Internet; talking cricket with friends, relatives, colleagues; reading cricket news update in newspaper or on internet. Now, please do the total of that hours for one year. Let say it is ‘x’ hours. If that person would have spent one third of those hours (i.e. x/3 hours) in playing cricket or other sport or game. I am sure that the person would have developed good fitness and health. Moreover, I am also almost sure that the person would have became atleast disctrict-level player, may be of state-level player, who knows.
Let’s move ahead with more maturity and true sport spirit to make our nation competitive. After all, we can prove and become ‘true sport/game lover country’.
Suresh Purohit (Su_hit)
[Originally wrote by the author at Delhi International Airport on 25-Feb-2010. Edited and published today.]