Is Cricket Killing Other Sports in India?

It is a fact that people in India eat, live, sleep, talk and walk cricket. Some feel that Cricket in India is becoming an obstacle in the progress of other sports. M. S Gill, the sports minister of the country painstakingly said, “Television, commercialization and the advertising world have promoted cricket to an extent that it has become a Mount Everest, which is badly affecting other sports in the country. ” Cricket has become the religion of India and the national anthem of the country, so much so that the word “sports” has become synonymous with cricket.

Cricket runs as the life flowing blood through the veins of the multitude. Yes, cricket is the “god of sports” in India. I am not being even the least sarcastic when I say this, but unfortunately this is the sorry state of affairs in our country. Cricket has sounded a death knell to the growth of other sports. Traditional Indian games like hockey, kabaddi, kushti have been demoted to a bygone era. Even international sports like tennis, badminton and football have not been shown any mercy despite us being so “West-crazy”. We hail cricket as the be all and end all of all sports.

Hockey, the so called National Sport of India has shown the most inconsistent progress, if it can actually be called progress. There was a time when India did win the Hockey World Cup in 1975 and people showed a keen interest in the sport, but not so anymore. The sport has died a natural death from lack of leadership and sponsorship. (Rather, it would be more apt to say due to a diversion of sponsors to cricket) We do have a Sania Mirza, a Leander Paes and a Mahesh Bhupati bringing laurels to the country in the field of tennis; a Vishwanathan Anand in the field of chess.

Then why have chess and tennis not been accorded their true status as cricket has been? Why aren’t they put on the same pedestal and worshipped as cricket? Millions throng the cricket stadium when there is an India-Pakistan match to boost the morale of their country but where does this “morale boosting brigade” disappear when sportsmen other than cricketers need them. Don’t Mirza, Paes, Bhupati and Anand also play for their country just as cricketers do? Prime time on television is given to cricket.

Even a toddler is able to detail at length, the rules of this sport. All ace cricketers are forever in the news, be it for their promotion of various brands which has regretfully become a second money minting business for them, or for their liaison with some damsel from Bollywood. There is full truth that an equal exposure is not given to all sports in the country. There is a need to reform the other sports too. Let’s take inspiration from cricket and allow sports persons from other fields to have the same opportunities, earnings and affections as well.

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