The Hype That is the Cricket World Cup

I remember my times in 9th block, MIT Hostels. Thinking about it, has me welling with memories. Good and bad. Undoubtedly the good overwhelmingly outnumber the bad. But one lasting bad memory that I had there was in the TV room. A couple of friends accompanied me there as we wanted to watch some important UEFA champions league match. But as we reached there, to our despair, there was a group of 30 odd people watching some inconsequential IPL match. When we asked them to change the channel they refused to do so, EVEN going to the extent of calling us “traitors” for not following the nation’s sport.

Let me get the facts straight here. Hockey is India’s national sport, NOT cricket. Then why is it followed so avidly (if not fanatically) here? Is it because it is one of the FEW sports India is good at? Is it because of the general trend that people follow blindly? Why is the cricket world cup so important to us?

The world cup was initiated in 1975, it then hosted 8 teams. The present version hosts 14 teams. A significant increase you might say? But if you look closely you will see that there are ONLY 8 teams that actually play the game properly. The rest are there to fill in the numbers. Even if I take the current number of teams playing this WC, (considering West Indies to be 13 independent states) it still constitutes for only 13.33% of the world. So calling it a WORLD cup is nothing but a misnomer.

Even if India wins this world cup, it is nothing to brag about. If you go to any country (apart from the countries that play) and tell them that India won the cricket world cup, you would be greeted to a quizzical look and asked what cricket is.

We all remember India’s infamous exit in the 2007 world cup. It was also one of the lowest paying WC for the ICC. To compensate for this fact they came up with a sham of a format this time. JUST to keep India alive in the competition for as long as it possibly could. In the name of globalization of the sport they have reduced the league games of the WC to a series of mismatches. Hypocrisy thy name is ICC.

There are so many sports that are still played here in India that are not given any attention to. Case in point being the shambles that Indian football is in today. I feel proud of the fact that India qualified for the 1950 world cup. However they couldn’t play because they weren’t allowed to play bare feet. If you look at the present scenario you will see that there is not much of a difference now. The infrastructure that goes into training a football team is lacking here. The football team actually has to travel abroad to train. If only a fraction of the capital, raked in by the IPL, would go into the promotion of other sports then nothing can stop India from being a superpower in ALL sports, something that it is very well capable of doing.

This is certainly not an article to bash cricket. I personally love the game(as a matter of fact I have my cricinfo tab open on the other side as I type this). I also think that the world cup is one of the few times the entire country is united as one in support of our men in blue. I just feel that the WC has been hyped up to an extent that it does not deserve to.

On the other hand, India plays Australia now! A possible semi final clash with Pakistan, makes me want more. 😛

Go India!!!

12 Comments

  1. er.. u feel proud of the fact indai qualified for 1950 wc..?? they wre the only asian team so they qualified by default nd had not played ny qualifiers.. nothin much 2 be proud of…
    nd as for the article, not saying it is badly written but it is cricket bashing even though u r sayin otherwise…
    nd as for u saying if india wins the wc and it wont be a big deal , wat abt baseball?? the world series,, u'll know ney york yankees are the team 2 beat nd supposedly most people would know nd make a big deal even though the only country playin in the world series is the US. or the basketball wc ,, abt 20 teams play nd US r the champions, y call it the wc wen there at max 5-6 gud teams in the world or rather just 1…..
    football is the only sport universally played. u cannot say that of any other game. nd as for hockey our nationa sport, only 10-12 countries play the wc,, so thats useless 2 dont u think..??

  2. @Ga(Or whatever your name is):

    1. I dont understand your stance here. Are you against my piece or for it? Coz if you are against it then being so proud of your country and its sport shoudnt you be proud of this also? Or are you just anti-football?(if there is such a word)

    2. My piece was about cricket. Not baseball. And by saying this you have justified my point about us being a non-baseball playing nation, being completely ignorant about it. So maybe it is hyped in the US, does not concern me. So goes for your point about basketball. We as indians dont give a f*** about baseball or basketball. Americans do the same for cricket. My point exactly.

    3. You have agreed that football is the only sport universally played. Then maybe the olympics are just trash and played by a few nations. So goes for tennis, golf, F1 so on and so forth?

    4. Hockey, as far as i know, is played by many nations. They even have qualifiers before the final WC. I remember India missing the cut once. So do you think it can be compared to cricket?

    Anyway, thanks for your comment. Keep posting. 🙂

  3. BATMAN

    Soccer is boring game for me.Even after 90 minutes of game,the score could be 0-0..That sucks…

    But I love to watch MANU and Brazil play…

  4. You seem kinda confused. Also what is the point of this post? To point out that cricket is fanatically followed and hyped up in India? Bit obvious, isn't it?

    By your logic every sport's World Cup doesn't adequately represent the world. And you're failing to notice that when the cricket World Cup started India was a minnow. Filled up the numbers. And there are minnow teams in this world cup in the hope that they too will one day be cricketing powerhouses.

    In 2007 there were the super eights. Which was less entertaining but certainly would've kept India in the competition longer. And made the entire tournament longer too. How is the format a sham? I really do think it's changed for the better.

    And why would you go to random countries and tell em India won the world cup? Isn't watching it and knowing so enough?

  5. ^^
    rightly said so, the author seems to have little knowledge of cricket and seems more of a football follower. Probably taking out the frustration of not being able to see CONSEQUENTIAL football matches of CLUBS of different COUNTRIES rather than Indians proving a point.

  6. dude, wat i was sayin that even though not many people in india play baseball, nd basketball(incidently we have national teams in both the sports)half the youngsters in india still know wat is goin on in the sport.. u r not totally ignorant…. india is divided in2 cricket lovers nd people who just dont like it cause its given 2 much importance… nd as for tennis nd golf or even f1 for the matter of fact they r indiviual games not team games…nd u r tlkin as if we have atleast 2-3 top 10 players in each o these sports.. nd for ur knowledge even cricket has qualifiers for the minnows 2 come thru….[italy a footballin nation also plays cricket for ur inf nd hope 1 day they get 2 paly in the wc] nd as for u pointing out that hockey has qualifiers nd india once dint even make it thru… u just made my point… y follow a sport where ur team not even making to the wc??? [nd the game being our national sport]

  7. @Anonymmous1(You seem to be the guy Anonymous2 follows):

    Your first statement is a contradiction itself. You say I am confused. Then you say i am stating the obvious. So which one is it? Are you a lil confused? 🙂

    I said the cricket world cup is too hyped. Which part of this ENGLISH sentence do you not understand? I am not concerned about the other world cups and how they may or may not be adequately represented. I am talking about the CRICKET WORLD CUP. And how it is hyped. Get my point?

    Do you even know the reason why India got chucked out of the league stage only? Because they lost to Bangladesh. To cushion the effect of such an upset to a bigger team(considering that India is one of the largest money churners for the ICC and guess where the WC is happening? In India. If India doesnt play did you see the stands and how sparsely crowded they were? Did you also see the crowds in the west indies after india exited the WC? Do you think anybody cared about the WC after India crashed out?And considering the largest audience(on TV or online) is from India.)they made this format. You do know that India had a major chance of getting thru the quarters despite a loss to any one of the minnows? Please check your facts and let me know accordingly.

    (PS: Anonynmous2 this is proof that i know more about cricket than you can ever know. I even set the revels sports and entertainment quiz last time(when i was in 3rd year), so please I dont want any sorta BULLSHIT from someone who doesnt have a name, lest a face)

    Your last point proves how self-content we are. Just to know that we have won a World cup which is inconsequential to 86.67% of the world. Kudos man. Whatever makes you sleep at night.:)

  8. @Ga:

    "dude, wat i was sayin that even though not many people in india play baseball, nd basketball(incidently we have national teams in both the sports)half the youngsters in india still know wat is goin on in the sport.. "….

    Do you know that the main concern of my piece is how cricket is hyped in India, and hence we give least possible attention to other sports(even basketball and baseball as you correctly pointed out)?If they would have been given a lil more attention maybe they would be able to compete on an international level.

    "india is divided in2 cricket lovers nd people who just dont like it cause its given 2 much importance…"….

    I guess you can count me in the latter category. I like the sport no doubt, but its not the only sport around. Thats what my main theme was, to encourage people to pay more attention to other sports as well.

    "nd as for tennis nd golf or even f1 for the matter of fact they r indiviual games not team games…"…

    If team games are the only games that should be hyped then I apologise. I did not know this fact.

    "nd u r tlkin as if we have atleast 2-3 top 10 players in each o these sports.."

    We dont. Hence my concern.

    "nd for ur knowledge even cricket has qualifiers for the minnows 2 come thru…."

    Who ultimately fail to provide any sorta fight to the "super-8".

    "nd as for u pointing out that hockey has qualifiers nd india once dint even make it thru… u just made my point… y follow a sport where ur team not even making to the wc??? [nd the game being our national sport]"

    So you point being that we should chuck all sports that we cant qualify for and concentrate ONLY on those which we can. Right?

    @Ga, Anonynmous 1&2:

    I apologise if my replies seem a little harsh. Just trying to get a point across to you people. 🙂

    Thanks for your comments, and keep posting. 🙂

  9. i've not said a single thing abt not giving adequate attention to the other sports i mentioned but my point is yes we should give cricket the hype it deserves as it is the one sport we r gud at. if we started givin cricket the attention basketball gets or ny other sport we prob wont be the no 1 test team in the world.
    You have agreed that football is the only sport universally played. Then maybe the olympics are just trash and played by a few nations. So goes for tennis, golf, F1 so on and so forth?

    this was the point u made wasn't it nd then u said "If team games are the only games that should be hyped then I apologise. I did not know this fact."

    on one hand ur goin on abt the wc nd all , well atleast in olympics the indiviuals are representin their countries nd ya for ur inf olympics is not a sport its a collection of games nd ya in that 2 only few countries are good china wins more than medals available the other half is usually piked by the us nd then some remainin medals goes 2 uk ,aussies,russia. nd along the way few are piked up by countries like india.[by few i mean 5 at the max].

    nd as for tennis golf nd f1 ,, is there a wc??? in tennis there is the davis cup which the players play only if its not conflicting with their main atp tours nd slams….

    Who ultimately fail to provide any sorta fight to the "super-8". well as u commented on the post above that u know QUITE A BIT abt cricket,, erm did a country like ireland beat england?? nd so did bangladesh??/ nd did kenya reach the semis of the 2003 wc??? did an irish batsman hit the fastest wc century/??? setting up quizes does not in anyway make u the expert u claim 2 be…

    P.S. just venturing a guess,, ur a football 'FAN'. u support MAN UNTD dont u..?lol

  10. I fully agree with Lionel here. I am a avid cricket fan until recently and completely got repulsed by the obscene craze and corruption cricket generates in India. So much so that, during this WC I genuinely wished for India to lose, unable to digest the hype anymore.

    I also completely agree with Lionel that the format of the present WC IS A JOKE, fully intended, like Lionel said, to ensure presence of top 8 teams in the quarterfinals, motivated by the upsets caused to India & Pakistan at the league stages in West Indies. Period. The format they played with in 1999 in the World Cup in England was the best as it carries a team's performance in the league stages into super 6. From a fundamental point of view, the cricket world cup itself is a joke because they change the format everytime they play. I am not sure same is the case with any other sport( Actually, I think, even Football WC is hyped-up. I firmly believe a world champion can never be adjudged based on a team's performance in just a single tournament).

  11. @ga:

    Read this from http://www.cricinfo.com:

    Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland chief executive, has slammed the ICC's decision to trim the next World Cup to just the ten Full Members nations, describing it as "nothing short of outrageous".

    The 2015 event in Australia and New Zealand will only include the ten Test-playing nations after the ICC decided against a qualification system for the tournament, which means no chance for the likes of Ireland or Netherlands to earn a place. For 2019 there is the prospect of Associates and Affiliates finding a way back in through qualification, but today's decision has effectively frozen them out of the game's showpiece event for eight years.

    The decision, while tough on all the Associate nations, is particularly hard on Ireland, who proved themselves to have been a cut above the rest of the second-tier teams during the 2011 event, with a memorable victory over England in Bangalore to add to their scalping of Pakistan on their World Cup debut in 2007. Though they still finished sixth in Group B, they were more consistently competitive than either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, the two main beneficiaries of today's ICC's decision.

    "The conclusion can only be reached that the decisions made today were based purely on the protection of the existing membership entitlements for Full Members and the commercial imperative that a ten-team event delivers nine guaranteed matches for India and England," Deutrom told ESPNcricinfo. "It's nothing short of outrageous. All of the principles by which a decision should have been made in the first instance – which is what's best for the sport and what's acting in the best interests of all 105 members – have clearly been abandoned today.

    "And after such a terrific event, and the wonderful occasion of the final, where the sport was incredible and regarded in such glowing terms around the world, I'm afraid this is an absolute black day for the sport. It's a genuinely awful decision that has been reached."

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