Since the last few years, there is a lot of fuss in India saying that Cricket is a very much hyped game and the only game in limelight in India. Many big names in the journalism industry keep on writing articles as to why not any other game and why only cricket?
According to me, what is wrong in Cricket being the only game in limelight in India? Cricket is a game which is easily accessible to each and every kid during childhood. It is a game attached with both the mass and the class. Ever seen a middle class or a lower middle class kid playing Tennis, Snooker or Golf on his society streets?
Cricket is the only game that a kid plays and as he grows up, his love for the game continues, hence he hypes or pushes this game into the limelight. Yes, there are other games also which are commonly played which include Badminton or Carrom etc. But ever seen TV coverage of these games as frequent as Cricket? No. Cricket has a connect with the lives of Indian audience.
Now if something is not covered on TV or in the print media, how would one be aware about the tournaments and schedules of that particular game or how will one have knowledge about that game itself?
Yes, I do agree that like Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni in Cricket, we have other high performers and famous players also. For eg. Take Vishwanathan Anand, who recently won the Chess World tournament, but do you expect an average minded person to learn or develop interest in Chess. Its not at all possible.
Take Saina Nehwal, she recently won the Indonesian Open for the third time, but many of us who love watching or playing Badminton never knew the schedule of the tournament.
There have also been sporting legends in these games who have gained a lot of popularity and has given a brand image to their respective sport. Take Major Dhyan Chand or P.T. Usha for an example. There was a time during Major Dhyan Chand era that hockey was the most famous sport in India. But did hockey, hockey federation or players save this image of hockey? Of course not. There may be many reasons for the same but degradation of the sport has been there, which is a practical fact.
Cricket as compared to that has been always routed in the hearts of Indian fans since ages. Now if a sport is able to dominate the Indian sports viewer crowd, what is wrong in that??? Why do people have problems with that?
Another factor which keeps someone linked to the sport is the performance by the sportsmen. During the last hockey world cup which was hosted in Delhi, we had lots of awareness and promotions being done by private players also. This had in fact created hype about hockey as well as the tournament gained good viewership. But the Indian hockey team disappointed with just 1 win in the entire tournament and it was difficult to again gain the same viewership in the next hockey tournament.
Cricket as compared to this has good sportsmen, who perform better in their tournaments as compared to other sportsmen. Yes, we do have losses series after series in Cricket as well, but that is not the regular status which is the case in other sports.
We can not to blame the satellite television providers for this as; they are here to do business. They will telecast what has TRP or what can give them maximum revenues. If IPL gives them more TRP then Indonesian Open or the Chess World Tournament, no doubt they will telecast IPL.
If there is someone who can do something on this, it is the media. They can spread a word of awareness for other games which in turn would generate the interest of the Indian audience. But this group of people are busy in writing or showcasing what has maximum readership or viewership. Now a days, writing an article which has a headline “NO CRICKET” gains readership, hence authors and reporters who were once the most trusted and the most acknowledged, have turned into writing articles which excite people against cricket.
Even if there are people who are promoting other games there is no media coverage on the same. Just to describe a recent event, Shah Rukh Khan has shown interest in purchasing one of the Indian Football club, but there has been very less coverage of this event as compared to what Shahrukh does during IPL matches, what kind of alcohol does he consume to celebrate the victory and things like that.
My message to such media content writers is that, by writing such articles you can fool us and make us non-cricket viewers but you might also turn down sports viewers. As after Cricket we would not have any other option in sports left.
Hence instead of turning down Cricket, why don’t you educate us about other sports and develop our interest in other sports also. If in case an interest is developed, we would surely start having satellite coverage for these sports. If in case there are satellite coverage, there would be investments pouring down in the sport which would further develop the sport and the sportsmen.
Hence, instead of turning down a sport, why is not another sport being promoted to build an option for the sports loving crowd of India.
Contributed by Chirag Vaishnav(Batch 2006, IBS Bangalore)