The curious case of cricket in India
Cricket isn't the national sport of India but it holds significance in a much more widespread manner. Cricket is a sport that pervades in every nook and corner of the country and attracts levels of passion and enthusiasm remotely unmatched by any other game or sport.
Sachin Tendulkar is a Bharat Ratna awardee. No doubt, the cricketing excellence across his career has played a major part in him achieving this pinnacle-of-a-status, however, at the same time, credit also needs to be given to the rage-like sentiments that cricket commands across the virtually-uncountable fan-base in the country.
The point is, cricket in India presents a curious case for deep observation, study, discussion and action. Right from the grass-root level, where little kids can be seen playing with just a bat and a ball to the outright world-class, professional-level cricket that the Indian team plays under the leadership of its current captain, Virat Kohli, the common sentiment remains a sheer passion for the game.
Families today have begun encouraging kids to take up cricket as a full-time career, a trend that wasn't prevalent till a few years ago. Times are changing for sure, and the respectable position that India holds in cricket on the international arena only adds further glitters to the gold.
There's plenty of cricketing talent in India, and plenty of it lies untapped too. With a high percentage of not-so-rich families in its population base, India beckons its cricketing leaders and stars to own up the responsibility to propagate the true spirit of the sport - a gentleman's game - by making it inclusive in terms of opportunity, training, practice and engagement.
Cricket is a huge force that binds the nation together. It brings sheer power, and with power comes commensurate responsibility. It's high time that this rage-of-a-sport be leveraged to boost the nation as a greater force to reckon with.
This endeavour needs to be realized both at a macro and a micro-level, i.e., ensuring greater and growing laurels in international cricket while working hard to ensure cricket becomes a means to inspire and attract the grass-root level of society into inclusive growth and prosperity.
Cricket stars, professionals, administrators, players, coaches, learners, businesses, fans, enthusiasts, facilitators and other stakeholders would thus need to come together, collaborate, plan and implement systems and methods to make the sport more inclusive, beneficial and growth-triggering at multiple levels of the social, economic, political and cultural fabrics of the nation.