Over several past decades, India has witnessed numerous modes of mass entertainment arriving and passing like waves, but one particular element among these has refused to die away, however be the financial, political or social circumstances of the nation. Cricket has evolved in India from a sport or a mere popular hobby to the heart-beat of millions, proudly designated as the common interest of all kinds of people, breaking the barriers of class, financial status, age or sex. A national or international cricket match remains a prioritized concern for all citizens, giving birth to large-scale media coverage and somewhat industrialization of the game.
The hype of cricket in India has subsequently caused a rising concern among various Indians about the current and future situation of other sports in the country. While cricket is vigorously celebrated across the country, it has unwittingly overshadowed almost all other sports, including the national sport. Gone are the days when the whole nation used to hold its breath together with the hockey commentary broadcasted over the radio. New talent in the Indian cricket team gains fame spreading like fire all over the nation and beyond in no time, while newcomers of other sports are not even recognized publicly.
The prime reason behind the uncontrolled overpowering of cricket in India can be attributed to the introduction of television sets in local households with the Indian cricket team’s dramatic victory in the Cricket World Cup of 1983. This inculcated a deep bubbling interest among people towards this game, leading to the present state with the aid of other factors. The next very important causative force can be recognized as the clashing of eras of rapid economic and financial development of the country with the advent of a prodigal Indian cricket team.
Cricket has very easily been gifted a fostering environment in India mainly because of the lack of strong competition since very few countries take cricket seriously as a sport, and even those which do, consider it a secondary sport. Moreover, since the closest available youth icons in India for media advertisement are cricketers, the BCCI taking advantage of the situation, brought cricket to great heights, making it the best paying sport in the nation. As a result, if Indian parents ever want their kid to become a professional sportsperson, cricket is mostly their only choice, attributing to the fame, luxury and wealth associated with it.
Evidently, not only does the government provide insufficient economic support and encouragement to teams or individual players of most other sports, but even the society fails to pay enough attention to other games because of the conventional practice of Indian people to refrain from experimentation and follow the crowds by doing what is popularly accepted. Notably, while Indian cricketers are paid in crores of rupees, many other sports persons face difficulty in eking out even a modest living. If the current trend continues, a haunting phase of lethargy will take over Indian sports, confining it to cricket alone.
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by Tarun Sharma