From the title and the pic on the left, you must have imagined what is this blog all about. I remember having discussions with many on the topic of Cricket vs Other Sports. Being a cricket lover doesn’t mean that I don’t respect other games, still i always support cricket on the very topic of cricket vs other sports. I am of the view that cricket is so popular in India due to the consistent performance of the cricketers and the success level of other sports is not of the level of Cricket. I believe that the sports lovers of India are ready to give equal respect and love to other sports and players if they win major tournaments consistently like the Indian cricket team.
But after the sporting events of the last and this week, i am rethinking my position. It seems to me that our love for cricket has turned into our bias for cricket. Probably this cover page of the The SportsStar (Jun 12-18 2004) clearly narrates the story.
In last 10 days, we saw Indian men cricket team crashing out of the T20 World Cup while our women team secured a place in the semifinals. The men team couldn’t even win a single game in the Super8 stage, rather surrendered in those matches. Strangely, India is considered as one of the strongest team in the world and it has failed to enter the semifinal stage of the last 3 ICC events (2009 T20 WC, 2009 Champions Trophy and 2010 T20 WC). To state the truth more bluntly, India has failed to win a single Super 8 matches in these 3 tournaments. On the other hand, the Indian eves entered the semifinal this year though not many were interested(or aware?) about the women T20 WC. Even it was shocking that many people came to know about the news today itself when the focus on the men team shifted though they had reached the semis 2 days before.
In other sports, India is doing pretty well though many are not aware of it. We can not blame the people for it. If the media doesn’t want to show us the news, how can we expect everyone to keep track of other sports? Indian Hockey Team defeated the Pakistan and the Australia convincingly in the Azlan Shah Cup Hocky. Can you please find the story for me in the paper? I am sure you will find the news of Indian defeats in cricket before these news. Even the stories of Vishwanathan Anand becoming the World Champion did not find the media space it deserved. News channels were showing this news as “Vishy brings smile on the face of Indians after India’s loss in T20 WC” and showing after the news of India’s defeat being shown.
Even after defeat, we are still talking about cricket. The stupidity of our Indian players were well exposed when the so-called great captain of the team blames the IPL parties for the loss. I wonder how the parties did not wear out the CSK (ironically captain’s team) players who won the IPL or the Australian, English or the Lankan players who are in the semifinal now. The excuse was poorer than the on-field performance. Still we are talking about cricket. News just I am watching while writing this blog that an agonized fan tears the jersey of Ashish Nehera when the players were ‘enjoying‘ after the loss to Sri Lanka. On the other hand, there is no telecast of the Azlan Shah Cup Hockey in India. Our NATIONAL channel DoorDarshan fights to show India’s cricket match, but no channel showing India winning in our NATIONAL game. The hockey lovers of India who are fortunate to have internet access are tracking the matches through live commentary on the Azlan Shah Cup website. The hockey lovers who wait for the news in the media get disappointed after they end up seeing stories on India’s losses in Cricket.
Remember the kind of awards and honour we had bestowed on the cricket players after they won the 2007 T20 WC? Now, we hear the news that the head of the chess federation N Sreenivasan (yes, you guessed right, the secretary of the BCCI) has not yet sent a congratulatory message to the Chess World Champion Vishy Anand. (Read the blog by Sanjeeb Mukherjea on this: Being Real Cool) If this is the state of other sports, then who is to blame? Before blaming the players ( who are the ‘unlucky’ brothers of the rich cricketers) for not performing consistently, shouldn’t we blame the boards, the media and ourselves, who in the name of love for cricket actually possess bias for cricket.
[IMAGE COURTESY: THE SPORTS STAR (From the publishers of THE HINDU) ]