Cricket, a sport introduced by the imperial power, Britain, has had an incredible journey in India. An argument may arise, given that it is just a sport. However, to the millions of people in India, it is an emotion that binds people. India is unique for its diversity, with demographics changing at every 100km, the demographics being varied religions, cultures, traditions, etc.
One thread that connects all the people irrespective of all the differences is cricket. Fans fill up the stadiums, display their passion for the game, and even worship cricketers. The most potent example being that of Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, who earned the title, ‘GOD OF CRICKET’. Cricket is practically that religion in India; in which the fans follow their heroes with all their hearts. Every win receives tremendous reception, and every failure copes severe criticism.
Tracking the beginning of the craze around the sport
The unmatchable craze perhaps began from the unimaginable will displayed by the Indian team in the 1983 World Cup. Led by the great Kapil Dev, the team thwarted everyone’s expectations. It won the tournament, defeating the mighty West Indies in the finals. With this victory, the expectations increased. As a result, the fan following increased, and thus the popularity of the sport evolved.
The superstar factor
Several players, with their performances and their personality, earn a place for themselves in everyone’s hearts. Star players like Sachin, Virat, Dhoni, Rohit, and many others attract attention through their abilities to win matches single-handedly. None of the players of other sports can boast of having such a fan following.
The other side of the craziness
However, this craziness has its share of the dark side to it. Several incidents put a black spot on Indian history of cricket.
The 1996 semi-final saw some unacceptable, unruly scenes. A section of angry fans set a fire inside the premises of the Eden Gardens. Security personnel had to empty the stadium, and the match ended without any spectator in the stands. Effigy burning, slogan-raising, etc. are some other examples of fans crossing every threshold.
Cricket is part and parcel of every Indian’s life. Every ground is full of children and young adults enjoying the sport. It makes family get-together possible. The thrill and enthusiasm associated with cricket have no match, as far as India is concerned.