Cricket merits & Demerits
Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. The ICC, the game’s governing body, has 10 full members. The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa. Yes, cricket is the most popular sport in the region of South Asia these days. Although, at world level cricket is second most popular, before football, but in South Asia it’s the first most. Below are some points why cricket has become more popular than any other games in India.
•Cricket is a game played between 10 to 12 nations across the world and is thereby relatively insignificant in terms of the country’s image in sports. And yet it gathers all the media attention in India. This results in other sports not being in lime light which is the root cause for lack of interest in other sports amongst youngsters. There are 4 dedicated channels for cricket but not a single one for Hockey which is the national sport of India.
•Due to media hype for cricket, all the sponsors are more inclined for sponsoring a cricket player or a cricket tournament rather than Tennis, Badminton or even Athletics. In light of lack of sponsors players find it difficult to get high quality training because the government infrastructure is practically non-existent. Lack of sponsorship for tournaments for sports other than cricket means that the prize money is also low which makes the other sports less lucrative for youth across the country.
•Cricketers earn a way lot through endorsements and this promotes the youngsters to go for cricket even when they are good in other sports. The glamour and limelight that cricket attracts, adds to it further.
•The partial meted out to other sports by government is another reason why all the other sporting disciplines have remained in the doldrums in the past few decades. It is only recently that the state and central governments have started paying attention to rewarding sportspersons, felicitating them and developing infrastructure for them. While cricketers are showered with rewards every time they achieve something significant, other sports do not get similar treatment. Some of the points that can be said against the motion are:
•Cricket has earned its spot in media through consistent performance over the years. When India started defeating Europeans and others in their own game, the game won the hearts of millions and started developing a strong fan following. The love for cricket did not happen in a day but has been nurtured by the consistent efforts of the players who play this game.
•It is the competitive nature of the Indian team every time they are on the field which makes people follow cricket even when it is one of the sport which lasts the longest in terms of a single game. Saina Nehwal shows similar spirit every time she is on the court and she has also helped in developing a strong support for Badminton. It is sort of a “chicken and egg” problem. Good performance will give rise to public interest in a particular sport.
•BCCI the governing body for cricket manages and also earns the credit for the mass popularity of the sport. If all other sports organisation shows similar management skills and dedication for their sport, other sports will be at par with cricket as well. A good strategy and consistency in maintaining it has made Cricket what it is today in India.
•BCCI not only helps in promoting cricket but makes special effort to encourage other sports by providing funds for infrastructure as well sponsoring sportsman from other sports. So it is better to look at what cricket is doing to help other sports rather criticise its effort to won so many hearts.
•Cricket is a nation uniting game and has achieved what other sports haven’t achieved. The legends like Kapil Dev, Tendulkar have brought laurels for the country and this is the reason why Cricket is so famous today and deserves its share of popularity.
•A good conclusion will be in which you can say that though cricket has taken the share of media and finances from other sports but it has earned its spot. It is now the time to look at places where other sports are lacking and it should be the duty of the government to concentrate its effort on developing a sporting culture which is not biased to cricket or to one individual sport.
Here are the rankings of the Indian teams in terms of the popularity of the sport in the country:
1) Cricket (ranked 3)
2) Football (ranked 139)
3) Hockey (ranked 11)
4) Badminton (11th best couples team)
5) Tennis (114)
The first reason, in my opinion, is tremendous performances in cricket and poor performances in other sports. This leads to reduction in the interest of people in other sports and this makes cricket worth watching. In South Asia four cricket teams are playing at international level, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Three out of four are World Cup holders. As hockey is considered to be the national game in Pakistan and India but its performance graph went down. We don’t see any other prominent name in squash after Jansher Khan and Jahangir Khan in Pakistan. Similarly, in India all popular players with distinguish performances are only from cricket, not from other sports. Even the Indian hockey team couldn’t qualify for Olympics. Although, Rugby is becoming popular in Sri Lanka but it could not reduce the popularity of cricket there. Recently, we saw Asam-ul-Haq (from Pakistan), Bhupana and Sania Mirza (from India) doing well in tennis but their charisma and performance is also not up to that mark that they could snatch the popularity from cricket in South Asia.
The second reason is that cricket has a dramatic and unpredictable ending that most of the time the winning team loses the match and the losing team wins, which makes it so interesting and grabs the attention of spectators. The most memorable example of this is the sixer of Javed Miandad at the last ball in Sharjah Cup in 1985 against India, which turned the tables in favour for Pakistan and India lost the winning match. Similarly, in the 1999 World Cup Bangladesh did upset by defeating Pakistan who was the favourite at that time. Such a match ending situations made cricket popular at large.
Thirdly, cricket is being shorter and faster day by day. This, I think, is also playing a vital role in its increased popularity? In the beginning, this was a five day game, people had to wait for five days to get result and sometimes the match used to end without any result (draw). This was quiet boring and unattractive.
Then One Day International games was introduced which made cricket fast and interesting. Now twenty20 game has been introduced at international level. This is faster, interesting and entertaining which grabbed the popularity at world level but hugely in South Asia. As there have three twenty20 World Cups been and two of them were won by South Asian teams (India and Pakistan).
The most recent event which made an immense impact on popularity of cricket is not only in South Asia but also all over the world is IPL (Indian Premier League). This amazing idea, conceived by Lalit Modi (Vice President of Board of Control for Cricket), also dragged Bollywood towards cricket that they invested their huge money in buying the most talented and popular players from all over the world. People became so crazy about this sport that they started paying more attention on IPL rather than taking interest in their national team matches.
IPL cricket became not only more popular and entertaining but also a highly money involved sport in South Asia as compared to any other sport. Now a days, cricket players have become the role models in this South Asian region. People idealize them and follow them religiously as compared to other sports persons. This is why every product company wants them to endorse their product, in order to which they offer them a huge amount of money and they are the highly earned sport persons. They are on every channel at every bill board, this is another reason of increased popularity of cricket.