Corporate Social Negligence!

Sports in India.. the debate is on…….

Posted in Bollywood, cricket, Cuba, Football, India, politics, soccer, sports, stagnancy by clash on October 6, 2007

I thoroughly enjoy cricket and has played a bit of it and still like to play.I watched the India Vs Pakistan final of the inaugural 20-20 world cup in South Africa. I am not going to buy that outright argument – We won because we were too good for the Pakistanis. India escaped defeat by a whisker; in the last over had Misbah–ul- Haq been a little more composed than he was earlier, this match would have easily slipped away from India. That is the idiosyncrasy of cricket – it is team sport but at the end of it – the game really relies on individual display. May be that is the beauty of it too. I have not grown enough to discover that though.

When we won the world cup; I was thinking of the prospects of a possible defeat at that point and the subsequent vilification process by the media,  the despise and the instant dismissal, that would have accompanied it. Luck; I would not be ashamed to use this word as that was what helped India  through the final. They are back and have already started playing Australia who is on a tour to India. But the debate is on.


After their return to India, there were rewards and accolades showered upon them. There was a victory procession in an open bus, thousands gathered, girls got molested (!!) players got money in 6 and 7 figures, and they got Porsche’s and Mercedes. It was very natural that people who belonged (rather trying to be part of) to other sports got irked a bit.

Our hockey coach Carvalho was the first one to come out of the closet . He lamented the plight of Hockey players who have came back after a stunning victory in the Asian Cup held in Chennai. He urged the players to go on hunger strikes for rewards and accolades. (Yes the Gandhian way)

So the debate is back; do we recognize other sports in India other than cricket? I would say we don’t and would not mind saying that we don’t bother about any other sport.

So is there a need to improve in other areas other than cricket? I am trying to figure out some answers to these questions.

Football, Hockey and Cricket – India won a cup each in three of these sport in the past 3 months. Nehru Cup, Asian Cup and the 20-20 world cup.

With the sheer interest of people in cricket – they grabbed the highlight. The monetary power of BCCI allowed them to give huge rewards to the cricket players and there it started. From all the corners came money for them – state governments, sponsors and the list go on.

A player like Joginder Sharma is going to receive 21 lakhs from his state government. He should probably give up cricket and put that money in some FD, so that his life is secure. Prabjot Singh who was instrumental in India’s win in the Asian Hockey championship went unnoticed, N.P. Pradeep the midfielder of Indian football team who scored the single goal of the final against Syria in Nehru Cup also went unnoticed. Prabjot and Pradeepan failed to have a lasting imprint on the short memory of media. Many like Prabjot and Pradeep exist in India – badminton, Table Tennis, Chess, Fencing, there a lot of athletes and sports persons who wants to cut a career through different sports. We are not doing justice to them by ignoring them and showering prizes on the 20-20 team.

Cricket through it mass appeal has created lot of revenues for BCCI through TV rights, endorsements and so on. Not every sport can achieve all those but the undue importance given to cricket by our government, the ruling class and politicians is disgusting.

People get attracted to different sports depending upon their physique and interest, it is very important for a country like India to promote its players and aspiring youngsters, than inculcating a drab feeling that you can only prosper or cut a career if you play cricket in India.

The inefficiency of other sporting bodies were at an advantage for BCCI as cricket had mass appeal, the rest of the sporting bodies simply enjoyed the drift as they never gathered any attention. According to me, this media frenzy which was created around cricket helped many an associations to get away with their spurious method of working.

In the license Raj times, we pushed in as many bureaucrats as possible, who never had any prior experience in sports to govern these organisations which was headed by a politician. Irony is that, BCCI the supreme body of cricket in India still has a minister at its helm, but the constant media scrutiny rarely gives a hope for malfunctioning. These organisations which failed to work for 60 years still exist. It is hard to break those structures and reform the way of functioning but they have to be immediately demolished as the people at helm rarely hold any commitment towards the sport.

For around 60 years went on making sports hostels and colleges all across the nations but ended up nurturing losers. Athletes, archers, badminton players, footballers all of them never reached anywhere they wanted to. It is not because of their fault, it was the sheer incapability of the bureaucracy that worked behind them. Sports hostels right from Ladkah to Kanyakumari were failures and the players were treated with contempt and as a nation we could never repay for the immense talent they show cased. (Many of them have ended their lives too) The argument turns filthy; if you mean to say a nation with a population of a billion can’t win a single gold medal in the Olympics. Cricket, thank god is not there in Olympics, otherwise we would have been very happy and content in winning the gold medal for cricket.

Then came Chak De India, the Shahrukh starer was an offbeat movie to say. Pundits told, this movie is going to change sports in India especially Hockey. Was the movie the sole reason for the Hockey team drubbing strong teams like Korea in the Asian Hockey Championship? What did they earn out of it? Did any politician or government come ahead to shower money upon them? Did any celebrity attend their Victory lap? Where was Sharukh – the silver screen messiah; who was supposed to over turn sports in India?

Nobody cared a damn for the Hockey players and Football Players who won cups. It was a sad argument that all of those movie frenzy crowd in India made – Chak De is going to save Indian Hockey. After a stunning win; the Indian hockey is the same as what it was. Sure, the movie provided a chanting phrase for the ebullient crowd that gathered for the Nehru Cup, Asian Cup and 20 20 world cup, other than that i have serious apprehension about the  contribution Chak De has made to Indian sports. It is not the movie but simply the attitude of the officials and the kind of corruption and regional favoritism that works in Indian sports which took it down the spiral.

China; our neighbor who got freedom in 1949, is way ahead of us in all respects. Though arguments like sports is more of an obligation than personal choice in China, they have managed their sports much better than us and is reaping results. They have Yao Ming in NBA, Liu Xiang who managed to break the world record in 110 meter hurdles, host of high profile swimmers, gymnasts, long distance runners, have a football team that qualified for world Cup, and a badminton champion. And what do we have?

Sourav, Sachin, Kapil, Zaheer, Shewag ,an average Sania Mirza and a Narain Karthikeyan; who crashed out of F1 after a dismal run. Who else do we have? The poverty stricken African Nations always manage to bag some medals in Athletics in every Olympics and what do our athletes do? They get caught for doping – What a shame!! Many of us vie for more professionalism in sports; rather they mean more of openness in affairs, less bureaucracy and so on. China is a counter argument for this lot; they still embark on that same bureaucratic method but effective implementation and assessment will earn you rewards, It is not all about professionalism. You can draw some parallels to Cuba too, the country under a so called “dictator” always manages to grab some medals in Olympics and international events. Remembering Javier Sotomayor (the high jump maestro) and Felix Savon (the boxer) will be good!!

So it is not all about professionalism or sponsorship. It is a feeling that needs to be inculcated in people of this nation that sports persons are not going to be beleaguered by the ruling class. They will not end up in one room dungeons waiting for a measly pension amounts and die in some government hospital without anyone attending them. Who will turn to sports when they read gruesome stories of yesteryear football and hockey heroes who die without any help? Thanks to the media; they are there always to cover these deaths, which puts our nation to shame. It is unfair and cruel to treat a yesteryear star who bought laurels to the nation.

Sports is not yet a viable option in India as a career; either you are a prey to the regional favoritism which our power brokers are too adept at playing or you simply lack the support from the system which should be helping you. Facilities though not world class are in place, but it is time that we do something to break the power structures which is crippling our sports.

India is not lacking of funds; markets are on a high; growth is astounding so money should not be a problem. So what do we lack? We as a nation is not able to inculcate a feeling in young minds that they will not be left alone or will go astray if he/she chooses sports (Other than Cricket) as an option.

14 Responses

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  1. Arti Honrao said, on October 3, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I saw the 20-20 final too and I agree with what you say. I also heard the news of hunger strike, pretty sad huh?
    Yes the players deserved all the love that was showered on them as they made their way to Wankhede stadium but at the same time I also feel that we gave a little too much importance to the game of cricket, which is not our game in first place.

    I do love cricket but I do not like the way cricketers are treated as if they are some kind of heroes. We should not be neglecting the other sports.
    Though hunger strike is not going to help much, I think it will at least open a few eyes.


  2. bvn said, on October 3, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Its nice to be world champions!

    about other sports, I would pretty much agree with yr take…then cricket can be played in every street, terrace or “gully” with minimum wonder it is popular (because its accessible). Even in a sporting superpower like the US, there are games which still suffer due to the indifferent attitude of the public.

    lets forget the “CNN IBN” crowd, they said Chak de will due to hockey what Lagaan did to cricket. i wondered for four seconds what Lagaan did to cricket 🙂

    then these people say we are an imminent “super power” (bollocks!!) 🙂

  3. […] Jim Miles wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFootball, Hockey and Cricket – India won a cup each in three of these games in the past 3 months. Nehru Cup, Asian Cup and the 20-20 world cup. With the sheer interest of people in cricket – they grabbed the highlight. … […]

  4. Jubin George said, on October 6, 2007 at 8:11 am

    A match won is won. I don’t see the point in diluting that victory. Even if that catch was missed, we still had good a chance. If the ball was carried off that hit for a few more yards, it would have been a different story. Like you said, cricket is one such game. And I got a mail, saying Kalam was right about his vision that India will become a super power in 20-20! 🙂

    The state and central governments were trying to be unnecessarily populist. Kerala govt. awarded Uthappa, because his mother has roots in Kerala! I can understand Malayala Manorama running a full page article on Uthappa in its Sunday mag for that reason, but the government? It’s ironic to remember the affidavit filed by BCCI during a dispute between the Government and the Board over telecast rights couple of years back. It said, if an international match is played, it’s not against the official team of GoI but of BCCI. We do not even fly the national flag, or use the national emblem in any of our activities, the affidavit filed in the SC said. BCCI can reward the players the way they want to, it’s the money they made with the same players. The Govts attempting to earn credit to BCCI’s succesful efforts are what the rewards actually mean. That’s just mean.

    P.T. Usha made a very relevant remark. She asked other federations to become as successful as BCCI, before crying fowl. All the other federations, which are responsible for the training and support of the sports people are pathetic. Hockey has everything to become as popular, or more, as cricket. Only if the federation has the skills and vision BCCI has. Football can do a million times better if the games were managed better. What we did with our tennis players? Not too long ago, we had a decent volleyball team. Our reasonably good fencing and archery teams are already killed. So are Weight Lifting and Boxing. Shooting will be shot down soon. Athletics, what’s it? What’s the sports hostels and academies doing, other than filling a few pockets? IOA is Kalmadi’s personal business. Every other federation is in the clutches of such a vicious system. And that’s what is killing the talents, instead of nurturing. If the Govt had rewarded BCCI and state boards instead of the cricketers, there would have been some rationale.

  5. […] Sports in India.. the debate is on……. I thoroughly enjoy cricket and has played a bit of that and still like to play.I watched the India Vs Pakistan final of the inaugural 20-20 world cup in South Africa. I am not going to buy that outright argument – We won because we were too good for the Pakistanis. India escaped defeat by a whisker; in the last over had Misbah–ul- Haq been a little more composed than he was earlier, this match would have easily slipped away from India. That is the idiosyncrasy of cricket – it is team sport […]

  6. Rohan Jacob said, on October 25, 2007 at 2:43 am

    nicely drawn out argument…. loved this piece…

  7. gaurav said, on November 10, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    It’s always a great topic to discuss why Indian’s prefer to play cricket although it sometimes takes up as a full time occupation. Before going into this discussion let’s first define cricket. People define cricket in many ways. Cricket is a bat and ball team game with elaborate laws and traditions, certainly played in England before the end of the sixteenth century and now popular throughout the world. It is called Mickey Mouse in Britain.
    According to me INDIA’S flirtation with cricket began a long time ago, because cricket had a striking resemblance to our own Gilli Danda. Thus, the common man could relate to cricket a lot more than other sports. THE popularity cricket enjoys in India is due to the arithmetic. In the eighties, hockey and football along with athletics were popular. Cricket remained an elite sport till Kapil Dev brought the World Cup in 1983. The numbers — fours, sixes, centuries and double centuries fascinate people more than the goals scored in hockey or football, which is less than a bowler’s tally in an innings. I feel it is statistics that attract people. In the old days, people used racial and cultural characteristics to explain why some countries were good in sports. I would say economic systems matter much more. Consider athletics. This is dominated by blacks. Yet Africans do not even figure in the 100-metre sprint at the Olympics. All the finalists in this event are likely to be blacks, but they will typically be from countries like the USA (Carl Lewis), Canada (Ben John-son) or Britain. But SPORT is about performance. The better one performs, the more popular one will become and earn a lot more too. As far as India is concerned, cricket has been its mainstay since 1983.
    People cannot remember India’s first International Master in chess (Manuel Aaron) but readily recollect even Abhijit Kale’s name, who has done nothing worthy of earning fame. But nothing can be achieved by merely cribbing about the Government’s bias towards cricket. The whole issue of other sports bodies citing complaints about cricket’s dominance is just a story of sour grapes. Instead of blaming cricket they should admire the foresightedness and thinking of the cricket administrators and try to take a leaf out of their book. The most important thing is BCCI’s total independence from the bureaucracy. The professionalism exhibited by the BCCI administrators is rarely found in other sports bodies. How else can you explain, P. R. Das Munshi’s and Suresh Kalmadi’s active role in politics while doubling up as sports administrators. Success of any sport is dependant on how well the team fares in international competitions. The cricket administrators fully utilised the opportunity which came with the World Cup win. Indian hockey too could have cashed in on the success and dominance which Indian hockey had in the yesteryear. The same is the case with athletics and football. The only other sport in which India is becoming dominant is chess, which is due to Anand, who has lived most of his life abroad, away from the Indian bureaucrat. Again There was a debate when the V. Bhaskaran led hockey team won the Olympic gold at Moscow that the absence of some heavyweight nations facilitated India’s win. Even the IHF did not back up the players. When the governing body does not back, groom, help or provide facility.
    There is no doubt to say cricket is more popular and admired than other sports. There is a large following for it, because people enjoy it. Even those who hardly know anything about the game indulge in discussing about the game. A batsman butchering a bowler or a fast bowler uprooting the stumps are all wonderful sights to be watched. Despite this, fielding gives essence to the game and entertains the fans. So it would only be right to give due credit to a sport which really has made the country proud. Moreover introduction of new rules and 20-20 over’s game to cricket make it more interesting than any other games and helped a lot cricket to touch the heights of the success. Moreover India has once again repeated a great history of 1983 which was milestone for cricket in Indian history. 20-20 over’s game is full source for anyone to in cash your money and enjoy each and every moment of bowling and bating in only single 3 hour time.
    INDIA is a country where you get more variety of sports than anywhere else in the world. We know numerous village sports that are hosted during Fairs/Melas, Festivals and other such special occasions that do not find reference in most Indian magazines. It is this lack of exposure by the media which is indirectly promoting cricket and relegating other sports. Even your magazine highlights only cricket in most of its issues. We have seen a rise of some Indian magazines which are dedicated to cricket while we can hardly see any Indian sports magazines exclusively for hockey or tennis. Electronic Media too telecasts cricket matches being played at different locations. So much interest has been generated by cricket that it has now started to play a role in determining the bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan. I feel the lopsidedness is UN due and needs to be corrected. People are mad about cricket because of the business Managers driving it everywhere – you see cricketers endorsing all sorts of products. Hence, cricketers are on the same level as film-stars. So, its a cycle. Cricketers enjoy marketing success in India while our own athletes and hockey players are left out in the cold. Anju George won India’s first-ever medal at the World championships but no sponsors knocked on her door. Pankaj Advani has won the world snooker title but is still running from pillar to post for some financial help. Finally, P. T. Usha’s reward for winning more than a dozen medals at the Asian Games was that that she was shunned at the Olympic torch relay. Even if we see present scenario we will find after winning 20-20 world cup in 2007 our Indian cricketer where paid money in lakhs and story didn’t ended here only they where honored my advertising countries with crores of contracts.
    I do think cricket is more popular in India, is only because it is the cheapest game that you can play, all was required was a ball, and and a wooden bat, (most of the times we used the thing which mom used to use to wash clothes). And frankly growing up that’s what we could afford. Think any other game, hockey, practically impossible, football, not possible without little bigger grounds, Badminton, is a nuisance without the indoor courts, because winds and the overhead telephone wires and electric poles make it difficult.

  8. Nikhil Khera said, on March 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Hi, I just have few words to say about this debate…actually I was looking for some proofs regarding this point as to whether Indian government is being biased towards cricket….So if anyone of you can provide me with some proofs or if someone can tell me the site to look for will be of great help….

  9. clash said, on April 27, 2008 at 8:13 am

    This definitely is a good read….

  10. Anish said, on August 13, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    gaurav, your an absolute idiot. Its narrow-minded people like you who prevent real sports achieving recognition in India. You claim that all you need in cricket is a bat and ball and that football requires alot space. This just highlights your stupidity, for football, only a small amount of space is required when compared to cricket and 1 football. Pele, Maradonna and Ronaldo all played football in the backallys of Brazil and Argantina and still managed great success. Indian bueracrats fund billions of rupees into this “sport” (I don’t consider cricket a sport as it requires minimum physical talent) to make the Indian cricket board the richest in the world yet the team hasn’t won the world cup for 25 years even though less than a dozen countries play this “sport” seriously. Even much poorer countries with far smaller populations such Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka regularly beat us. Worse still, other countries with much smaller populations and cricket budgets such as England, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand and South Africa all consider cricket their 2nd or 3rd sport (after football and rugby) yet still humilate us in cricket. Globally, only 2 sports events are followed worldwide; the Football FIFA World Cup and The Olympics. Our record in both of these events is absolutely awful. Ultimetely, the Indian governement has to take responsibility. Until India produces decent Olympians and Footballers, we will never be taken seriously on an international stage. China realised this and acted on it. I only hope and pray that India learns from China on this matter.

  11. A dejected Sanath Jayasuriya heads back to the pavilion, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st match, Compaq Cup, Colombo, September 8, 2009
    Sanath Jayasuriya’s recent batting form has the Sri Lankan selectors concerned © AFP
    Related Links
    News : Sri Lanka Cricket turn to baseball for fielding training
    Players/Officials: Ashantha de Mel | Sanath Jayasuriya | Kumar Sangakkara
    Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of India
    Teams: Sri Lanka

    Sanath Jayasuriya’s cricketing future has been put in the balance with Sri Lanka’s selectors saying today that his days as an opener are effectively over and that following the upcoming tour of India he will be picked on performance alone. Jayasuriya, 40, has been picked in the one-day squad as an allrounder who can bat down the order and bowl left-arm spin.

    “What we expect from Sanath is that he should win one in three games for Sri Lanka, which he was doing in the past,” Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors, said in Colombo. “But now that has reduced and we are a little concerned about it. In the Champions Trophy in South Africa his performance was below par .That’s the reason why we have gone in with the option of playing him as an allrounder.”

  12. JORDAN said, on October 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    @saulegoode Join the conversation at #blether

  13. Utkarsh Shukla said, on September 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I do love cricket but I do not like the way cricketers are treated as if they are some kind of heroes. We should not be neglecting the other sports.

  14. Tatiana said, on January 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Fastidious response іn return of tһis issue witҺ real arguments and explaining
    еverything concеrning thɑt.

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