Why cricket is such a popular game in India?

The IPL fever is in its full intensity in India these days. IPL and its probable winner is one of the hottest topics of discussion here. Many people are of the view that it is one of the best things that ever happens to the game of cricket. In fact IPL has become so popular worldwide that Australian Captain Ricky Ponting had to issue an appeal to his countrymen to focus more on their national teams recent series with West Indies than to watch their retired cricketers perform in IPL. The entire IPL tournament is being broadcast in Australia as free-to-air and it has become a huge craze.

 

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As I watch so much craze of Cricket among people some thoughts come to my mind. What exactly is there in this game that make it so interesting and worth watching ? Why people are so crazy about Cricket especially in India ? Here is my attempt to demystify the secret of this games huge popularity in India (and the world at large).

First of all, in India we dont have many ideals. At least not in sporting arena. Our performance in Olympic, Asian Games and in other world sporting events has been pathetic since a very long time. In our national sports Hockey (now it is a matter of debate whether we should call it our national game at all) we even failed to qualify for the Olympic. The only game where we are considered somewhat at par with other sporting nations is Cricket. Our Cricket team is always considered as a tough opponent and no team in the world take Indian Cricket team lightly. In such a situation, it is but natural for us to find our ideals in our cricket team. When the team wins, it brings laurel to the country and makes the players more popular than ever. And when the team loss, the whole nation become angry with them. For Indians, the cricket players are our ideals, they motivate us to perform better and better. They are role models for millions of Indian youth. And theyll continue to be so unless they find more role models in other sports. Going by the sorry state of other Indians sports such as Hockey & Football, it seems to me that Cricket will be the only source of role models for Indian in many years to come.

Secondly, if you see the entire format of Cricket, you will find that this is the only game, which, despite being a collective team sport, give the opportunity to individual players to become national hero in minutes. A batsman who hit six on the last ball of the innings and win the match for its team become a national hero overnight. Indians have not forget the last ball Six of Javed Miyandad (of Pakistan) which shattered our dreams of winning the Sharjah Cup in 1985. Similarly, who can forget the last over of Sachin Tendulkar in the final of Hero Cup against South Africa that turn the table totally in Indias favour.

In a team sports like Cricket, performance of just one player can change the fortune of his team. This factor makes Cricket an extremely popular game as the win or loss is decided in the last over of the match. This ensures the element of unpredictability remains there and pushes the adrenaline of the masses. This is one of the most important reasons as to why Cricket has such a mad following in India. Though, other team sports like Football and Hockey also have the opportunity for Individual players to perform and win the match on their own (like last minute goal by a player or the last minute save by a goalkeeper), these chances are often rare and dont happen regularly. In contrast, if you analyze a Cricket match score, you will always find some better, some best and some worst performance by individual players that decided the outcome of the game. It is appropriate to say that Cricket is an individual sport played in a team format.

Finally Ill touch upon a reason for crickets huge popularity in India, which is quite obvious, yet probably never mentioned. However, this has made it immensely popular with big companies and satellite channels. Do you know what it is?

It is the unique opportunity of small breaks that Cricket provides to big companies. After every Over, there is a short period of 20-40 seconds where the bowling end of the pitch is changed. I dont know what is the reason or need for it and what was the background of this rule, however, this tiny and often overlooked part of the game of cricket is one of the most important reasons for Crickets popularity in India. In this tiny break of 20-40 seconds the broadcaster gets the chance of showing commercial advertisement to viewers. After every Over in each innings, commercial companies can show their ads to people. This makes Cricket the most unique game in the history of sports. Unlike other sports (life Hockey & Football), which are of short duration and provides the opportunity of Commercial break only during the half time, a single One-Day match of cricket gives the opportunity of showing commercial advertisement more than 100 times (50 times in first innings and 50 times in second innings and in between during the lunch time). Further, every time a wicket falls, till a new batsman arrives at the pitch, commercial advertisements are shown. No wonder a cricket match between two countries is one of the best opportunity to promote products, generates revenue and increase TRPs of the broadcasting channel.

If ICC decides to change this rule of changing bowlers ends after every Over of the innings and insist on continuing the match from one bowling end only, it will create a huge deficit for companies as theyll lose the opportunities for showing their ads during those breaks.

Since commercial companies have so much interest in investing in Cricket matches, they do all kinds of promotion, sign ups etc with cricket stars to create a buzz around cricket. All the media companies and big corporations keep trying to get some hold of this big profitable pie of cricket. After all everybody loves to be a part of big popular events in order to promote their own brands. This mad rush among big corporations for attracting Cricket players as their brand ambassador and to snatch the sponsoring/satellite rights of the cricketing events ensures that Cricket remains a hot topic through out the year.

So here concludes my thoughts on why Cricket is such a popular game in India. I know this is not a complete explanation of cricket’s popularity in India and there are many other reasons which contribute to the popularity of India in Cricket. I will be glad if you can share your own opinions on this.

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24 Responses to Why cricket is such a popular game in India?

  1. Rukhsana Apr 8, 2009 at 4:25 am #

    I think Pakistan aur india ko “Cricket” national game declare kar dena chayie.

  2. Rangini Jun 25, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    well explaind…
    especially the over change
    reason..i never thought of
    it before..dat was an excellent point

  3. jamesforest21 Jul 16, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    Cricket is a religion in india. And the God of this religion-sachin tendulkar,sunil gawaskar,kapil dev and many more.
    *****************************
    Jamesforest21
    sapience

  4. Kaqranbir Singh Oct 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    Its an excellently demystified why cric is so popular..
    Very good ,Keep it up

  5. rayankhan Dec 13, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    i totaly agree wth ur second point of cmmercial after evry single……….bt i als feel dat der a dliberate bckin of cricket by th sports authorities…….

  6. ram Aug 29, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    VERY WELL EXPLAINED……… that commercial thing s the main reason why cric s more popular in india…….

  7. Cricket Blogger Oct 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Great post – would you mind if I referenced some of these points for a new article on cricket I’m doing? Cheers.

  8. Eklavya Oct 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Yes you can do this. I’ll not mind.

  9. sugandha Jan 16, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    its very well explained………….. but other games should also be played in India

    But am proud on Sachin and Dhoni

  10. Pradeep V Jan 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    The World Cup is finally coming back to India.. our boys should keep it here!

  11. sureshkumar Mar 28, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    They say cricket is not a game, its a religion but why is it that the whole of India has to follow only one religion?

  12. nirupam Apr 1, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    thanks u ve cleared all my doubts

  13. Steve Truman Apr 5, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I was talking on skype to my friend in Chandigarh who had sent me a link to a video he had made of the post match WC final celebrations there . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1Uj4ZPdw0c and i asked him “Why is Cricket so popular in India? He could not really answer it, so I googled it and found your excellent explanation.

    Great post – thanks.

  14. brijesh Apr 7, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    nice explained above disparity between cricket and other games in india

  15. manjunathan Jul 20, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    i think cricket has become more and more popular in india because of IPL and t-twenty games .it takes time shorter and entertainment as higher.also sports association in india is not taking well steps in improvemnt of other games.

  16. chintan Aug 31, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    nicely and descriptly explained about the Indian situation – that why this game is popular. Commercial section is the one I liked but India should not give priviledge to this game players alone.

  17. Shanto Oct 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Being quite disturbed by recent media coverage (artificial craze generation for their own benefit) of this game, I have re-discovered cricket as a game played by species like cats and goats (who need day long exercises to digest their non-veg food), and watched by cattle and goats lying around (who got too little to work throughout the day). :p

  18. bimbo Dec 10, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Cricket is popular in India, because it does not take much to play cricket. Even a guy with a big belly and completely overweight can play the game. He can be a batsman and can be a slip fielder. It can be played by lazy people. To play soccer or hockey you need to be in shape. By living on a vegeterian diet it is difficult to compete in games that are demanding. Hence cricket has turned out to be the best for India. Other countries pay more attention to soccer and such and don’t bother much about cricket. This has given India an advantage. When West Indies were good India could hardly beat them. Now that the West Indies are concentrating more on Soccer, Basketball and such we are able to defeat the. It hte west Indies start churning out their world class pace bowlers again India will have to run to Kabaddi.

  19. ZOZ Mar 10, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    The reason why I don’t watch cricket is I don’t want to see a sportsman with big belly, lazy on the pitch and advertisementssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  20. shruti Aug 27, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    well explained…
    simple language……
    in overall-good job :-)

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