There’s no denying the fact that Cricket is more than a sport in India. It is no less than a religion given the frenzy associated with the game. Cricket is a way of life in India; it bonds people belonging to varied religions, regions, cultures, etc. In terms of popularity, it certainly is way ahead of other sports.
However, slowly and steadily, other sports are gaining the required attention from the masses. They still need to match with cricket, however, the process has begun.
What separates Cricket apart?
The popularity of the sport can be said to be directly proportional to the performances of the team on the international stage. Winning performances attract the crowd to the stadium and glue them to their TV sets too. The 1983 World Cup win altered the fortunes for cricket in India. No one gave India a chance against the mighty West Indies. However, the Kapil Dev led side had other plans; they won and heralded a new era for the sport in the country. Fans looked upon them as heroes, they unconsciously, made these players an integral part of their lives.
When players like Sachin, Yuvraj, Dhoni, and many others set the international stage on fire, the reverence for them amongst the fans increased manifold. The cricket board overlooking the matters of Indian cricket, the BCCI is also a private one. With a regular inflow of cash from various sources like TV rights, sponsorship deals, they can afford to pay handsome salaries.
These perks associated with the sport draw the youth towards the game, encouraging them to take it up as a career. These perks include not only a luxurious lifestyle but also recognition from the masses. However, this is one of the few reasons that attract the youth towards the game. Having natural talent, keen interest in the sport, getting inspired by legends of the game are some others.
Loopholes in other sports
Apart from cricket, sports like football, field hockey, badminton, kabaddi, wrestling, etc. are quite popular in India. However, all these sports took a backseat in the face of the growing popularity of cricket. One of the main reasons for the Indian team’s lack of success in other sports has to be a dearth of infrastructure.
There is a lack of funds which inhibits the development of modern, world-class infrastructure at the grass-root and higher levels. While one can easily locate cricket academies, it is entirely the opposite of other sports. With such poor infrastructure, one cannot hope that the other games will prosper. The results are not bound to come. With not much success to show for, the other games fail to attract the masses who primarily detest watching their nation lose.
However, the situation has begun to improve, especially in the last decade. Several domestic leagues like the ISL, pro Kabaddi league, etc. have begun to draw the masses. When players like Sunil Chhetri exhort the masses to support them, the response has been optimistic. Individual players like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh, and many others have contributed a lot to this new positive trend. This has become possible because of their awe-inspiring performances. Proper investments in other sports will enhance the performances, which in turn will attract the fans. Cricket will remain the popular sport of India, but there’s no harm if other posts grab the same attention.