Sunday, April 10, 2011

Indian Cricket Mania -- A Phenomenal Self-Delusion

After the cricket WC, Indians now regard ourselves as world champions. The front page of The TOI Bangalore screamed " The World at our Feet" . Indians celebrated as if they had won WC Soccer or Volleyball or a dozen Olympic golds. Indians are in a grand feel-good conspiracy. We have created a fictional world where we are the World's Sporting Champs. The facts are otherwise. 1. Cricket is unknown in roughly 190 countries. On the other hand, soccer is the most popular game in these 190 countries. In 190 countries, when people say "The World Cup", they mean the Soccer Worls Cup"
2. More than 100 countries, including India, play in the qualifying rounds of the Soccer World Cup. 32 countries play in the finals. The competition is extremely tough.
3. Cricket is the most popular game only in South Asia. In England, Australia , S.A. and NZ, Soccer is the most popular game, followed by rugby ( and Aussie football in Australia) and cricket in that order. Soccer is the No 1 game in the Carribean countries.
4. Cricket is well known ONLY in S.Asia, Britain, Australia, NZ, S.Africa, and the Carribean. 6 of the 14 teams in the Cricket WC are included just to give an illusion of a
world-wide event.
5. In India, great non-cricketing sportspersons, except for a few like Milha and Usha, are unknown to most Indians, and given very very poor coverage by Indian sports journalists in  Indian newspapers. Most of my colleauges have not heard of the following greats :
Aashwini Akkunji, PT Joseph,Prakash, Malleshwari, Sushil Kumar, hockey greats from Dhyan Chand to the present stars, Krishnan family, Amrithraj family, Monohar Aich,Jimmy George, Sriram Singh,Shivnath Singh, G.S.Randhawa, Bahadur Prasad,Anju Bobby George, Yohannan......

Let us admit to the above facts. Its OK for people , or an entire region , to fall in love with a game, and win a Cup in that game. But its not OK to lie, especially to our kids, about the magnitude

and scope of our acheivement.