All Sports vs. Cricket in India
The World Cup win brought the inception of no.2 on the favourites list. Soon due to the maladies creeping into the functioning and governance of Hockey in India, Cricket became the ‘undisputed king of sports’. Other scenarios which should also be taken into considerations is the involvement of businessmen (Jagmohan Dalmiya) and politicians (Fatehsingrao Gaekwad) at the helm of BCCI Governing Body. It meant cricket was cradled to be India’s no.1 Sport. Other factors such as sponsors moving from the field of hockey to cricket also made their contribution to the rise of cricket. (Credit should also be given to Kerry Packer’s World Cricket Series)
The road was clear for Cricket to rule the heart and soul of every Indian sports fan, at least for the next quarter century. The five stalwarts Sachin, Sourav, Rahul, VVS and Kumble meant cricket was almost every other Indian’s dream career.
When the craze was skirmished by India’s early 2007 World Cup exit, Indian businessman and Rajasthan Cricket Association chief came up with the idea of bringing the T20-format to India. Then came the IPL, another lucrative for youth to take up cricket as a sport. It also did coincide with Subhash Chandra’s Indian Cricket League/ICL.
The rise of IPL, however, also showed the way for other solely ‘Olympic’ considered sports (lawn tennis, badminton etc.) in India to rise to the platform. Then came the likes of highly successful Kabaddi league, Badminton league and the rest.
The rise of another stalwart in these leagues was that of the football based Indian Super League (ISL). It binged on the popularity of the English Premier League (EPL) and the UEFA Champions League, which made its mark slowly but steadily from Indian metros to other Indian cities. FIFA World Cup also played its part, as the world governing body gave India the backing to hold the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
The businessmen/women in the conglomerates like Star India and Reliance also deserve their fair share of credit for investing their energy and most importantly – money on the concepts of these leagues (the BCCI also played a background role in coming up with the concept of ISL). Moreover, the concept of opening Youth facilities in co-ordination with the six Football franchises made the game of football sustainable.
However, the same cannot not be said for other sports like Lawn Tennis and Badminton. The investment in equipment’s required to take up these two sports make it non-viable for children from weak financial background. This is where the real investment for sustainability of these Leagues, and most importantly the sustainability of these two field of Sports is stringently required.
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