Article: Are we really a cricket loving nation?

Sports, Books & Movies

Are we really a cricket loving nation?

Does the average Indian actually love cricket more than any other event?

Cricket fans also argue that the game is adapted to the entertainment needs of current Gen Y by creating a twenty-twenty format


Cricket world cup euphoria started almost a year back, peaked during the past two months, and will hopefully end with India's victory. The nation has come to a standstill during the matches. Cricket has no doubt united all segments across the nation of different age groups, communities, races, economic strata, regions, forgetting diversity. No doubt the event contributed to more employment generation and stimulated the economy by contributing to the exchequer in its own small way. The game brought a joy on faces in India as victory celebrations on streets continued whole night long in some places.

One can understand and appreciate the process of brand building and hype for cricket world cup with its own commercial implications. News on all scams and earth quakes were sidelined during the cricket season. Any trivial dimension of cricket became "Breaking News" in some channels.
The media would not have been able to do so if the viewers and readers were not responding.

Therefore the question arises as to why the average Indian is more excited about cricket than any other game?

India and its sportsmen have been receiving international recognition in some fields. To cite a few examples, we have Viswanathan Anand in Chess , Amritaraj brothers and Krishnans in Tennis, Wilson Jones, Michael Ferreira and Geet Sethi for Billiards, and Mihiir Sen, for swimming.

But, one may dub that all such games are for elite which the common man can neither afford nor enjoy. The so called action, excitement and even opportunities for betting, may be missing in case of these games whereas cricket provides such opportunities and fun.

If we look at the common man’s games, while Hockey passed its hey days (Six continuous gold medalists between 1928 and 1956), Foot ball is not a national game as it seems to be limited in popularity to certain pockets of the nation like West Bengal and Goa.

Cricket seem to be emerging as the most popular game along the length and breadth of the country. Cricket fans may also argue that the game is adapted to the entertainment needs of current genY by shortening the period from a five day test match to a one day event to a twenty-twenty format.

Are we fond of creating Heroes and ending up worshipping them?

Asians as a race are hero Worshippers. Like in Political sphere, we worship families like Nehru dynasty in India, Bhuttos in Pakistan, Mujibur Rehman in Bangladesh etc. We also idolize heroes and heroines from film industry.

Similarly we create Heroes in sports and worship them. At some places we even worship Sports versions of Gods exclusively during cricket season. Classic example is the way a specialized version of Ganesha is formed by name, ”Cricket Ganesha” and is worshipped during cricketing season in Chennai. It is a sight to watch how the photographs of some of these players are worshipped and individual players are adored...

Do we suffer from Low Self-Esteem and cricket is boosting our self worth?

Self esteem of Indians took a beating for a century during the British Rule. Last decade might have got us the IT Power and Super Power status. But post independence, we have not experienced significant victories in the field of sports and games. Our nation’s performance at Olympics continues to be dismal even after six decades of Independence. Even a bronze medal winner in Olympics is a hero in India, where as a gold Medal winner in the U.S.A or in Russia may not receive such attention. Thus in the absence of recognition from games and sports, there seems to be a strong need for events of success to boost our self worth. Cricket seems to be catering to this need by a series of victories in all forms of the game both on home grounds and in every other ground abroad.

Optimising pleasure or deriving vicarious excitement?

As Psychologist Freud says human beings would like to maximize pleasure and minimize sadness. We Indians are no exception. Indians either living in India or NRIs , derive vicarious excitement in the victories of our Cricket team.
Also a majority of us would like to escape from day-to-day problems by escaping in to fantasy of entertainment –be it cricket or movies.

Nothing succeeds like Success:

Match with certain teams /countries is like a war without weapons and the entire nation gets involved and celebrates it if they win as the ultimate victory.

To honestly introspect are we all basking in the glory of victorious cricket team as they have won the coveted world cup or do we really love the game so much ?

For arguments sake, if Indian team has lost in the finals to Sri Lanka, have the team still got all accolades including an immediate tea party from the National President and all the TV coverage?

Thus are we true lovers of the game or true lovers of name and fame for our vicarious excitement?

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