Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cricket enthusiasm dying down ?

Is the cricket boom over ? There is still wide-spread coverage of cricket in the media, with full length articles in the newspaper sports sections and somewhat there in the television channels, but I can see a massive lowering of interest in the field of cricket. There are colleagues of mine who used to swear by cricket, used to know everything, and when you ask them about the Indian tour of Bangladesh, they dismiss it and want to talk about something else.
Can it really be possible that the world cup debacle has left such a lasting impact ? One can certainly hope so. The Indian obsession with cricket has left a number of other games behind in its lurch. Games in which singular Indians do well to some extent such as chess, badminton, tennis, shooting, etc do well because of the effort put in by these individual sportsmen towards their training, and equally strongly, for arranging for funding by some corporate. Contrast that with cricket where corporates fight over each other for providing funding to a higher level each time a contract gets clear for negotiation.
And we are all responsible for all of this. If you read reports of how the other sports (and their people) are being treated by this country's sports administrators (poor food, bad staying places, horrible transport), and just for a second think that if such things were to happen to our cricketers, you cannot over-estimate the loud outcry's that would be heard. The media would be covering such news for days on end, picking up random people on the street to get their opinion on how such bad administration of cricketing affairs can affect the team.
To get a perspective of how badly this lack of focus on other sports can rankle, do just one thing. Listen to the commentary when the Indian contingent walks in for the inaugration of either the Asiad Games or the Olympics. The Olympics makes it even more clear - when the commentators try to speak about the Indian team, you just wish for the moment to pass. Typically the only thing that they can mention is that the Indian team used to win Gold medals in Hockey in the recent pass. As to this hockey team, it has been under the capture of the super-cop K P S Gill for so long that it is a wonder that the team even qualifies for some of the major tournaments. When a match happens, I really try to stay away from hearing the news because it will about some hockey defeat or the other.
One can only hope for a time when this nation of 1 billion people can come in the top 5 of Olympics medal-winners, or figure in the World finals of soccer; but as long as this country remains a one-sport country, fat chance of that happening.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:34 AM