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Cricket is a sport that almost reached a religious status in India. The gentleman’s game grew in popularity following the Indian national cricket team’s success in the 1983 World Cup. In recent years, several other international laurels have been brought home by the Indian National Cricket Team. Still, it’s not all about trophies and medals.
Throughout this post, we’ll go through several reasons why most popular sport in India.
Cricket is deeply embedded into Indian culture
Indians practice cricket on a large scale. There are cricket stadiums in every town and city. Still, the sport’s reach into Indian culture is even deeper than that. Cricket has been a motif in numerous Bollywood movies ever since 1979. Then, we can safely assume that it’s become part of the culture.
However, darker themes like the negative consequences of match-fixing and illegal gambling were explored for the first time in 2008 in Jannat. The movie reflects the perils of obsessing over making quick, easy money and how gambling urges can transform a person in unpredicted ways.
This cricket-centred depiction of gambling addiction is as powerful and expressive as the top Western movies about gambling. We notice parallels with James Cain’s The Gambler or Two for the Money, starring Al Pacino.
Everyone may participate in cricket
The Indian national men’s team has garnered significant international attention, but cricket is popular across society’s levels. Individuals of all ages and abilities play it.
Everybody can learn to play cricket. All you need is a cricket bat, a cricket ball, and at least two players. A pair of youngsters can be seen playing a lively game of cricket on practically every street and alley in India.
Moreover, cricket has more training centres and venues than any other sport in India. There is at least one main cricket stadium in almost every area or state in India. Many more have several primary cricket stadiums.
Numerous world-class Indian cricketers as role models
India is host to numerous world-class and internationally recognized cricketers. These players serve as a source of inspiration for new cricketers who aim to be as successful as their idols and reach the top of the national and international cricketing hierarchies.
Money and cricket go hand in hand
In recent years, cricket and money have almost become synonymous. Cricketers in India have historically been the wealthiest among the country’s athletes. Cricketers have always had the upper hand when it comes to monetary compensation.
Cricketers live a more expensive and sophisticated lifestyle than the general population. But for athletes competing in other sports in India, that’s not the case at all.
Consequently, when aspiring athletes are faced with the dilemma of which sporting career to pursue, the decision naturally goes in favour of cricket.
Advertisements featuring cricketers
Cricket is the most widely watched sport in India. With a considerable viewership, it’s only natural that the sport has attracted such a diverse range of sponsors throughout its history.
Indian cricket players have endorsed sponsors’ products and appeared in numerous advertisements. Of course, they’ve gained significant financial benefits as a result, but that happens with world-class level athletes all over the world.
In India, however, the peculiarity is that no other sport attracts so many sponsors as cricket does. Players who appear in commercials help drive the sport’s popularity even further, even though most Indians watch cricket as a favourite pastime already.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) element
Lalit Modi designed the Twenty20 cricket format in 2008, and it became an instant attraction. Since then, the Indian Premier League has proved to be a game-changer and a big moneymaker in the country’s sports history, generating more than $1 billion in revenue.
Athletes from across the globe met in India for this top competition. Furthermore, it gave a platform to previously unknown players to ascend to stardom.
The tournament’s reputation and generated revenues are enough to persuade anyone to take part in it. So, we can assert that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has elevated the popularity of cricket among Indians to an unparalleled level. Every prospective player hopes to be a part of what has been dubbed “the greatest show on earth.”
Even though our country has created professional competitions for numerous other sports like football, hockey, or badminton, none can compete with the cricket Indian Premier League.
Can genetics play a part in this? Or is it simply a cultural preference?
One could argue that Indians aren’t so genetically fit for demanding sports like football, hockey, athletics, and tennis. But do we indeed lack the physical strength to compete at a world-class level in these?
It could be genetics, or it could be that Indians are simply so attached to cricket that it’s become a cultural preference. So much so that it doesn’t leave room for developing other sports at the highest level. Since we do excel at cricket, why insist on other disciplines?
Cricketers in India have risen to legendary fame, and we hope these 7 facts have proven this for you. We’ve got some of the best players globally, and the Indian people’s respect for them is comparable to the West’s passion and admiration for Hollywood celebrities. Still, when was the last time you saw a temple for a Hollywood actor or actress?
Die-hard Indian fans have actually built temples for their idols, who’ve come to attain a godlike status. Not only that, but they’ve also become the subject of feature-length films, as it’s the case with M.S. Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, among other prominent players.
Given the presence of so many mega-star cricketers in the country, it’s evident that the way cricket is experienced in India is something else.