Even though Cricket is known as a gentleman’s game it is considered as a religion in India. Indians are crazy about cricket. Hockey is the national game of the country but citizens are fond of cricket. Whenever any game of cricket is played people watch the game and follow ball by ball updates. Many of them stand outside the television shops and curiously watch the game. They cheer every four scored, every wicket taken and involve in huge debates about how much run Team India will score. Those people who are unable to watch television get live updates through internet or mobile phones. Whenever cricket is played people also indulge in betting to predict about which team will bat first, win toss, how much score will India make, how much runs a batsman will score and how much wicket a bowler will take.
People take leave from office informing their bosses that they are ill to watch cricket. They also involve in huge discussions about the match and pretend like they know too much about the game. Fans switch on TV two hours before the commencement of the game and watch discussions of experts about matches, toss, pitch reports and presentation ceremony. Since male members of the family are glued to the television sets for watching cricket even women too are following the game. Many of them go to stadiums by purchasing tickets to watch the game while some others may even climb the trees to have a glimpse of the players. People carry Indian flags, banners, posters of players and support them.
There was a time when people used to watch the game only for Sachin Tendulkar when he played for the country. Many of them used to follow his batting and cheer for him. If Sachin gets out fans used to switch off the TV with disappointment. Sachin was a role model for every youth of this country and many of them have taken up cricket as a career only due to him. Even though Tendulkar has retired but people still speak about his records and achievements.
Even small children too are fond of playing cricket. They play the game on roads if no vehicles are passing through it. Children may lack the necessary equipments to play cricket but they nonetheless play it by making make shift stumps, rubber balls and even balls made out of clothes. Sometimes children play inside society compound as they even break the window panes of their neighbours inviting their ire. Thus cricket has become an obsession in the country. Whenever Indian team plays cricket with Pakistan people take keen interest in that game. The entire situation becomes as if both the countries are waging a war with each other. Cricket became popular in India after Kapil Dev’s team won the 1983 world cup. During those days there was less awareness about the game due to lack of television sets. People used to follow the game through commentary on transistors and read reports about the game in newspapers.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)