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. 😛