With the ICC 2015 Cricket world cup going on in Australia / New Zealand, the online, visual and print media in India is bombarded with exclusive news on cricket and everything surrounding cricket. Cricket is to India what football is to Brazil. A religion. And the religion has a God too – Sachin Tendulkar – and thankfully he was in our team.
But, I am not going to talk about the existing world cup. Rather, what with excessive cricket on 5 or 6 channels throughout the year, India being more unstable than a candle in the wind, match fixing rumours and the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, the sheen of cricket is off for me. It is no longer a sport I follow like I used to. To be honest, I don’t see the same kind of passion in the younger generation too. Does this mean Indian cricket fanaticism is on the way out?
On Sunday, 15th Feb, there was the match between India and arch-rivals in cricket, politics, war, love, hate – Pakistan. Even a decade back, that would have meant a national holiday kind of situation. Private companies declared holiday or there would be many calling in sick. Attendance at public offices, schools and colleges would be minimum. But, this time, it was a rather normal day. Of course, the match was exciting. But the future generation was busy in other activities like playing outdoors, or on their smartphones or computers or tabs or whatever is the latest fancy gadget. Many people were going about their normal activities with a peak into the scorecard now and then. It was great that India won, but even if we would have lost, we would have probably just got onto the next match.
This shows a clear lack of interest in the sport. But, I used to love the craziness and passion we used to have for cricket earlier. The days when we used to wake up at 4 am to watch a match being played in New Zealand / Australia. Admiring the beauty of the cricket grounds in England. Being amazed at the grounds of Australia or New Zealand where they don’t have chairs for seating, but just open grounds around the stadium. The people, the various accents of the commentators, the endless discussions on the sport with friends and even strangers. And if a match is being played in India, then the complete madness of the people, even if they were nowhere going near the stadiums. It was like a festival.
Cricket is also big money in India for the organizers, the sponsors, the media. But too much of cricket has made it routine. There is no longer an anticipation for the next cricket series. The cricketers are not allowed or are restricted to talk to the media. We would surely like to know what went on in the minds of the cricketers during the world cup. Why did they decide on sending a different batsman than the normal line-up? There are no longer personalities like a Ravi Shastri or Imran Khan or Viv Richards. The day may not be far when nobody will be interested in watching the sport. Without the crowds at the stadium, a lack of role models, personalities, viewership on TV, the game will be the loser.
Hopefully, that will not happen. After all, everyone loves to watch an interesting cricket match.
Do you also feel we are losing interest in Cricket?
Disclaimer : Please note that my observation is not made up from statistics, but life in general.