While I was out shopping with mom yesterday, I saw cluster of people standing in front of shops or hotels any place which had a TV broadcasting the world cup 2011 match between England and India. For few minutes I was lost when I saw the crowd at almost every street corner and every TV shop, listening to radios or tracking the score via mobile, and then it slowly dawned on me the “cricket mania”. (I am writing the section of blog Virtual Voyage based on World Cup but forgot the trend of that in India, Stupid of me:P)
It had been exactly five years since I last sat back and watched a cricket match after my shift to US. Coming back I came across the same cricket craziness which I had seen few years back. India has always been cricket crazy as long as I know and may be before that too. It’s not the national sport but has formed a space in every Indians’ heart, young, old, man, woman, boy or girl.
History of Cricket in India
The cricket was introduced in India, when the English sailors came in and the British Rule was slowly established across the Indian subcontinent. Many small clubs were formed around 17th and 18th century but actual matches were not played early 1792. After that many clubs were formed by both the British and Indians. It is said that a match between Madras vs. Calcutta was arguably the first first-class match played in 1864.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) met in July 1934 and as a result Ranji Trophy was launched as India’s National Championship. This trophy was donated by the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, but was named after Ranjitsinghji Vibhaji Jadeja, Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. He was an Indian King and test cricketer, who played for English cricket team. He had also played for Cambridge University and County cricket for Sussex. He was also the Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princess and represented India at the League of Nations. The first winner was Bombay now proudly known as Mumbai. Bombay had dominated the Ranji Trophy for very long time and had added it their title for 15 consecutive victories from 1958-1972. In 1961-62, Duleep Trophy was inaugurated as a zonal Competition and named after Kumar Shri Duleepsingji, nephew of Ranji’s.
India made its spot in international cricket with its win in Test Series in England and in 1983, winners of Cricket World Cup which brought fame many well-known players of the time including Kapil Dev (Team Captain), Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, to name a few.
When we are talking about history of cricket, it is worth mentioning the India national Women’s cricket team too. The first ever match played was against West Indies in 1976. In 2005 the team won Women’s Asia Cup against Pakistan. The team has won the Asia Cup since 2004-2008 consecutively every year.
Now that we have learnt a little bit of its history, let’s come back to the reason I decided write this blog. Every Indian has a deep connection with the game and as the world cup or a test series approaches, everyone finds a way to watch the game. The game has evolved from its early inception and it has also seen through lot of changes and modifications depending upon the technology. The game has taken over people lives (not just Indians) and all the players have been given a god like status.(Imagine Sachin and Dhoni in a Toga, hilarious isn’t it..) Sometimes I wonder, why only cricket? We have so many national teams playing other sports, but the publicity and favor which is shown to cricket far surpasses others and the other players equally deserving have been overlooked. The endorsements and the cash flow which comes as a cricket player have far overshadowed the joy of playing this game. Once cricket was known as the “Gentleman’s Game” but now it has been turned into “Game of Crooks” by few greedy.
As the days went by many controversies got associated with the matches played and also the players. At the front everything looks wonderful, people support the teams but in the dark corner, bets are placed on the matches, players, which has given rise to match fixing controversies.
The biggest piece of the cake in the cricket is taken by the IPL matches where the players are auctioned off like cattle. Why has this game come down to this low-level?
The enthusiasm which was once “The Cricket” is now lost in the midst of contradictions and controversies.
By the way yesterday’s match between England and India went from sure win for England, to sure win for India, to sure win for England, finally to be drawn with equal points for both teams. Despite the controversies the game is still unpredictable to a certain extent.
P.S: I am still a cricket fan, but not as crazy fan as I once used to be. This blog is my opinion and I have no intention to hurt anyone’s feelings about cricket.