Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cricketers, Adopt a Sport...

I admire the Indian cricket team for winning the 2011 World Cup. They managed to make even stubborn cricket recluses like me sit for over 8 hours after many many years, during the final. Justifiably, the entire nation is eager to shower its praise and appreciation on them. We already have had announcements of several crores of rupees by various corporations, governments, sports bodies and so on being awarded to them.

Of course, many people will feel that it's too much and is unjustified. I don't believe its unjustified as such, but I do think cricket's share of the pie is disproportionately large. And that has been the case for a long time. Even as a child I remember reading essays, articles and debates on this topic.

It's a typical problem that happens in many areas. The popular thing keeps on increasing in popularity while the others languish. I have observed this, for example, in search engines. The more popular a page is, the more chances it gets shown in search results. This further increases its popularity and its chances, and so on.

If India has to truly develop sports and become a great sporting nation, other sports need to enter this virtuous cycle of popularity. There are many issues with that, but I think cricketers themselves can take a solid step in this regard. They are very well known, and have tremendous visibility as well as resources. Think about it - Sachin Tendulkar promoting badminton, Dhoni endorsing archery, Yuvraj pitching for football. If they can sell shampoos and hair oils, they can definitely sell sports. In any family, the weaker ones need support till they can stand on their own. Cricket can support the rest of the sports.

This is not going to work as a one off thing (I vaguely remember that some cricketers had appeared in ads for the PHL but can't recollect anything after that) It needs concerted efforts over a period of time. Perhaps every Indian cricket team player can be asked to contribute a certain number of hours towards the development of a sport of his choice. The respective sports associations for each sport can have one cricketer as a brand ambassador for that sport. Given the amount of money that cricketers make, I don't think its too much to ask for. And it might actually work!


  1. Nice thought but I would like to remind you that performance also matters in other sports. We cheer when India wins in Tennis, badminton, wrestling, boxing, golf or shooting.

    Cricketers and film starts did endrose the hockey world cup which was held in India last year. And people did watch it with great enthusiasm initially. But the kind of show, our team put up, no one was interested.

    And please, enough money is spent on other sports. At the same time, I am in no way supporting cricketers getting this much money but if others achieve such heights, they are also equally awarded.

  2. Amit, I don't think the amount of money is anywhere close to what is spent in cricket. At least it doesn't reach the sportspersons. The point is that cricket has enjoyed tremendous popularity in India, because we used to do relatively well. This was because the number of countries playing cricket is very very low. Hence, we have seen the best talent and the maximum money coming into cricket, which has improved our performance over a period of time. In all other sports, we don't do as well and hence are not able to attract talent and money. Its a vicious cycle which needs to be broken.