5 Reasons why cricket is so popular in India

India v Pakistan - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Cricket is the most popular sport in India. It is played in every nook and corner of the country. In recent years other sports such as football, basketball, wrestling, shooting, etc. have gained popularity but still, cricket remains the most watched sport in India.

Let's look at five reasons why cricket is so popular in India.

#1 The fact that it is so easy to play

It's doesn't cost much to play cricket. Even someone from a humble background can easily pursue cricket. Players just need to arrange a bat and ball to play the game. Most players in India start their cricketing careers by playing gully cricket in their localities. Though the ball used in international cricket is a leather ball, gully cricket is played with a tennis ball or a taped ball.

South Africa v India 1st Test - Day 4
Sachin Tendulkar

#2 Emergence of world-class batsmen over the years

There have been numerous cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble who have caught the imagination of the wider audience in India. Cricketers are treated as demi-gods. Sachin Tendulkar is called the God of Cricket in India.

Most young players when starting out their careers cite these players as inspiration for taking up the sport as a career. Even the non-playing members of the audience are enchanted by these players.

They almost want to see their heroes on television giving their best performances. Most people remember the stats of their favourite cricketers. Comparison of cricketers is a major debate topic among cricket lovers in India.

India v Sri Lanka - 2011 ICC World Cup Final
India v Sri Lanka - 2011 ICC World Cup Final

#3 Victories at Major ICC tournaments

The performances of Indian cricketers at ICC tournaments have played a major role in cricket's popularity. Indian has won the Cricket World Cup twice. They have been victorious in 1983 and 2011.

They also were the champions of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. These major tournaments have played a huge part in cricketers being alleviated to a celebrity status. These victories encourage many young people to pursue a career in cricket and play for their nation.

Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings - IPL T20
Shah Rukh Khan at an IPL match

#4 Emergence of IPL

After becoming world T20 champions, the Indian Premier League was started in India by the BCCI. It is the most popular T20 league in the world. The combination of entertainment and sport has been a huge hit in the country. When IPL is being played, even popular Bollywood stars don't release films for the fear of not getting enough traction for their movies. IPL has helped to take cricket to smaller centres such as Bhubaneshwar and Ranchi. The IPL is getting bigger and more popular every passing year.

ICC Board meeting
Shashank Manohar

#5 The BCCI

BCCI is the most powerful cricket board in the world. It is also the richest board. They don't have to depend on the Government for any finances. BCCI has the power to influence the decisions of ICC as seen in the case of deployment of the DRS.

They tie up with major brands as sponsors for various cricket tournaments in India. Due to the economic power of the BCCI and the fact that India is the major cricketing base, The headquarters of the ICC was moved from London to Dubai. Shashank Manohar who has earlier served as President of BCCI is the ICC chairperson.

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Edited by Raunak J
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