Dinesh Reddy Sarasani:
It is a fact that Cricket dominated every other sport in India as the debacle of other Indian sports was always imputed to the popular game of cricket.
For example Indian hockey, that has the mark of winning the country’s first Olympic gold, besides winning umpteen prestigious international tournaments. However, due to the incessant and persisting controversies, the game gradually lost its lustre. The game is no more popular than it should have been. And it’s not because of cricket. It is people who decide whether they support a particular game or not. One can’t forcibly persuade them to go and enjoy the game. Same is the case with other sports.
No one looked optimistic to watch Cricket till 1983. Hockey received an overwhleming popular support as well. It is only after winning the cricket world cup, the Indians had their novice iconic status in the Cricket arena. It’s a popular saying; “Jo jeeta wohi Sikander”. Cricket turned into the Sikander (Alexander) of sports. Crowds enjoyed the game, the charming players and the excitement. Cashing in on the sentiment, big firms began to endorse the game. Drastically, the cash started to trickle down to everyone involved with cricket. Performances on the cricket ground hardly made any difference to the iconic status of a cricket player. Player turned into an endorser for almost every brand in the spectrum of commercials. Sachin Tendulkar, India’s most successful batsman, was one of the highest paid sports persons in the world.
BCCI, who manages players, plays a vital part in taking cricket and the cricketers on top of the podium. The board runs professionally and it ensures the safety and security of every player. Cricketers play to reap maximum benefits out of it. The people involved in the board are often accused of malpractices and corruption but still it’s the most successful board for the betterment of any game in cricket.
During the recent times, it has been proved by Beijing Olympics that Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian ever to win gold. The impetus behind his success was his commitment and the support from his affluent industrialist father. Bindra’s father built him an air conditioned shooting range in his home and provided all the facilities that an international player would require. With due respect to Bindra’s ability, the financial support provided that extra push that many promising athletes don’t have and which ultimately reflects in their performance.
With one gold and two bronze, Beijing Olympics has been the most successful Olympics for India till date. With a growing economy and well defined financial systems, its not difficult for India to produce top ranking athletes in various categories and bring home gold after gold. What is required a clear initiative from the government wherein the players get the world class facilities here in India. And to achieve all this people of India have to make it clear with their respective political parties to make sports a priority in their scheme of things.
Eventually it’s the democracy that stands on top. India needs a strong sports infrastructure so as to match others and perform well internationally. India has the talent which was amply shown by the Bhiwani boys. What is required is a strong political wing which can translate talent into credible performances.