In India, is Cricket the lone Survivor?

As an avid fan of cricket, sometimes I am happy with India’s situation financially and can build an ever-evolving cricket team that competes well abroad and at home.

Apart from occasional debacles (like losing a series to home or early exit at premier tournaments), our team has done well; this includes the Women’s cricket team.

It’s a welcome note to have included women’s cricket as a part of ICC, and in India, BCCI finally managed to take it under its reins. It’s something good for the game of cricket in the years to come. Now cricket has reached a stage; it plans to be an Olympic Sport in 2020 or 2024. It’s a significant step.

Trust me, an Olympic Sport always gets recognised worldwide, and it is one of the best ways to promote the game on a global scale. Knowing IOC, it’s a challenge to change their Euro-centric views about cricket and its reception by other member nations.

In India, we have IPL and ICL entangled in legal battles. It’s sad, but this also brings to an important point. Can’t we ensure other games like Hockey, football, basketball, etc., to be promoted in a franchise model? Boxing is being under consideration, and the two bronze medals at Beijing are a positive result and will see more people support Boxing in the coming years.

In India, the Economy and social life are often associated with Indiviual Sports’ shaping up. At present, we have to admit; we don’t have a culture for Hockey or football. People play cricket instead.

It’s not a lack of players who are willing to play Hockey; it’s the case of people who opt for cricket. The same is with football or other sports in India. The surroundings and social structure have played a significant role. And this has an impact on the economics of Sports. We are a billion people; few people can give us hope but cannot change the current situation.

A few years back, PHL (Premier Hockey League) kicked off grandly, and this was even before the idea of IPL (Indian Premier League) or ICL (Indian Cricket League) got materialised.

It ran for three years before it lost its charm. Why? A lot of reasons. I am not going into that aspect.

Instead of spending millions of dollars on ex-cricketers, current cricketers, future stars, the legal fees, why don’t Zee Sports (the idea behind ICL) look to terminate the idea about making money through cricket. It was a great idea, but sadly we have a powerhouse in BCCI. Why fight when you cannot win and can win through other sports?

If Zee Sport aims to create athletes in cricketers, why don’t they focus on non-cricketers, who need media attention, who needs funding where they feel good and perform. Why don’t they create an even playing ground for other sports?

If I were to be Subhash Chandra, I would utilise this opportunity to look at Hockey, football, and other Sports and create a social culture in which other athletes can become champions.

To be a catalyst and help the public accepting other sports by creating a scenario where games can stand on their merit, not just for sympathy reasons.

It’s a win-win situation in the long term. India as a Sports Nation can benefit; corporates can look for alternatives if they find cricket an expensive way of advertising. And finally, Zee can win the so-called ‘personal battle’ with BCCI. Leave cricket to BCCI; they are doing an excellent job of it. Concentrate on other sports.

The reality is, I am not Subhash Chandra, and I am just expressing my thoughts as an extension of various discussions on the state of Olympic Sports in India with other students from different parts of the world in the Olympic Capital.