Cricket(?)-Mania

Pre-Blog Statement – Ah! Feels good to be writing such nonsense [:-)] again after days and days of washing my brain with lines of code and other tensions one would normally associate with the final year project! Now I can think about other duties that form a part of my activities, including this blog!

With the arrival of the Pakistan Cricket team in India, yet another step has been taken in the road to peace between the two nations. More than that, Cricket Fever has once again gripped millions of cricket fans around the country. The sixth one-day international just concluded, with Pakistan clinching the series 4-2. The test series which was played last month was drawn 1-1. Don’t get bored, this is not another article giving commentary of the matches. I just want to give a realistic view on the much-celebrated cricket-mania in India.

True, the knowledge of the game is very high here, and nations like champions Australia and even the Home of Cricket, England, are amazed at the amount of expertise that can be found in every street corner of this country. I need not mention the amount of fame (and fortune) that our national team players get once they put in a couple of good performances. Does all this reflect on the passion for cricket in India? If you say “Yes”, read on –

* The Ranji Trophy, the Premier Cricket Championship of India, is usually witnessed by near-empty stands

* The players of this tournament, in the early 90s, used to earn as little as 25 Rs a day. Now the amount has been raised to 10,000 (pardon me if I’m wrong), but it’s still a small amount compared to what the national team gets

* The women’s cricket team reached the final of the World Cup for the first time, but lost to Australia. If this had been men’s cricket, pages and pages of articles would have been printed about this achievement

* A number of yesteryear cricketers, who were star-performers in their playing days, and played with all heart for their country, are today languishing in poverty. Those players with sufficient earnings when they started playing, are luckier.

I’m not too knowledgeable about cricket, or I could have collected more facts to add to the ones above. But I guess this is sufficient.

The points mentioned above will put in perspective as to what we are, as a nation, obsessed about. If we love to watch cricket, why do we see so many empty seats in the stadium for domestic matches? If we are crazy about cricket, why is it that even a fifty in a league match ODI is highly celebrated, while the entry of the women’s team into a world cup final is only worth enough to ‘mention’? If we are experts in cricket, why is it that the ‘experts’ who know the names of all members of Sachin’s or Sourav’s families, don’t know the name of the first player to lead the country in a Test match?

The truth is, we are not obsessed with cricket as such. We are obsessed with winning, obsessed about seeing star cricketers perform, and obsessed with highlighting the potential of the national team in the international arena. All this, together, has been labeled as Passion for Cricket. This is not a love for the game at all. It has been wrongly understood that we are a ‘cricket-crazy’ nation, while we are actually a ‘cricketer-crazy’ nation.

Yes, cricket has it’s reach to the extent that every street in a city will have it’s own ‘team’. But the fuel for this too, is the overdose of international matches on TV and the newspapers. Today it’s a game that is driven by money, for money. If we have to turn into a truly cricket-crazy nation, we have to change our perspectives of the game itself. We need to look beyond just the international matches, and be aware of all that is going-on in the domestic circuit, and other aspects involved with the game as a whole. Once that is achieved, India can spot and produce a large talent base for the game, and it will be no time before we are world champions again.

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4 Comments

  1. S

     /  April 16, 2005

    what an insight into the game of cricket – I don’t know much about it.Keep goin’ …

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

     /  April 18, 2005

    Good Work Jam,,, go on,, but..plz update.. cos’.. the series (ind/pak) is over and we’v lost it,, lol

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

     /  May 10, 2005

    truely it is true, jammy

    Reply
  4. Ram

     /  May 13, 2005

    jamuna- this post of yours is very disappointing to fans like me who follow even the ranji games. I dont see too much logic in your post. Why do movies that star Kamal Hassan run and the ones that star Dhanush flop? It’s pretty similar to that. You cannot see(and more importantly enjoy) a movie if the quality of the cast isnt good. Similarly, one cannot see a cricket match in which Mitali Raj and lakshmiratan shukla play…its about quality and there’s no denying that ranji games and women’s cricket lack that quality the audience expects. (And for your information, Mumbai vs TN semifinals of Ranji has had full houses the past few years(TN cudnt make it to the last 4 this year though)). if people had so much time in their hands, they’ll even watch gully cricket and play/watch cricket 24/7…dont u think?

    and dont u feel that if u r not well informed about cricket, u shudn’t be writing critical stuff like this? am just curious…

    Reply

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