Sportsperson around the world have a great fan-following. According to their fans they live in their heart, whom they want to ape. But come to the place called India and you will understand the true meaning of fan-following.
In India the magic of cricket is woven all around. But why does everyone follow this game like a maniac?
Cricket’s debut in India
The British Raj lasted here for more than a century. Of the many misfortunes they brought upon the nation, cricket must be rated as a big exception. Yes, had Britishers never come to India, cricket’s foundation wouldn’t have had laid so early. Englishmen wouldn’t have thought that in future, Indians would beat them in their own game. Maybe they got a taste of their own medicine in those days itself.
India’s rise at World Level
Since the induction in Tests, we played hundreds of matches but winning only a handful. But things started to change during the start of 1970s. In this period, India produced some stalwarts like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Bishen Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and many others. Things took a major leap when India won the World Cup in 1983 at Lords, beating the mighty Caribbeans. India entered into the tournament as minnows but ended it as champions. Since then, India never looked back and today enjoys a great position in World Cricket with 3 World Cup titles in all and also a joint-Champions Trophy winner to name a few accolades.
Such has been India’s success in cricket that the viewers had always loved watching them play. Hockey (which is now forgotten by most Indians) was the prime focus of most until cricket overshadowed it. In the forthcoming sections, the reasons behind this never ending love are discussed.
Well, discussions on cricket can never be completed without this maestro’s name. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar entered Indian cricketing stage in 1989. Playing relentlessly for 23 years (and still counting), he had shown signs of true champion, giving his best against each team in the world. He has every major batting record under his name. Every time he’s on the field he adds a new feather to his cap. In India, cricket’s a religion and Sachin is its God. You can’t define his personality, his gameplay, his batting prowess in one word. He’s truly a brand ambassador of this game.
Sachin do have powers, as Peter Roebuck once wrote, “He can stop time in India“. He shares one incident when he was at Shimla train station. It was time for the train to depart but there were no signs of train moving even an inch. Later he came to know about Sachin playing at 98 in a certain match at that same time and the train’s driver vowed to move only after seeing the Little Master score his century. Crazy Sachin Fan!
The governments of India and Pakistan have always been at loggerheads over many issues. This dispute had always eased its passage into the game of Cricket. Indo-Pak matches always deliver high octane performances from both sides. The political tension between these two warring countries led to a ban for several years on the brand called India vs Pakistan. But the most highly-rated match between them was always imminent and the cold war was broken when they met in 2003 World Cup. This rivalry was always used by the organizers to cash-on and hence bring more audience whereas at the same time keeping the love for cricket well ignited.
New Breed and Format
With new format of T20 enjoying a great success among the spectators, this love is going to be forever. Newer breed of cricketers making their way into limelight, is always good to see. Also, young players had always taken keen interest in this game. Winning 3 Under-19 World Cup titles in the past decade is something enough said, regarding it.
After seeing so many aspects going in the favor of cricket like success, no wearing-out among viewers, dashing players, veteran players at their best to name a few, it is totally possible for the game to remain in everyone’s heart.
Published with permission from Sports Mania.