Friday, October 31, 2014

Move beyond Indian cricket… here comes tennis, football and kabaddi

In a country where the national game is not cricket but hockey, it is ironical to see that the millions of Indian citizens live, breathe, eat and drink cricket and cricket only. Be it any format, test, one day 40 over or the recent hyped t20 , Indians just love to watch cricket and worship Sachin, Dhoni, Sehwag alongwith their religious gods. In such a situation, it is sad to see other sports losing out on the limelight and attention which they truly deserve. For, no sport is easy to play and for players to groom and be able to win medals and trophies for India, the players/athletes desperately need the support and assistance of the sports authorities, the government and the various political and bureaucratic people involved.

However, the recent performance of the Indian teams/athletes and sportspersons in the Asian Games 2014 held in Korea with a total medal tally of 57 is a boost for the other aspiring sports lovers in the country. Besides, recently there have been three important events which are going to change the way Indians look at other sports in this country. The recently concluded Indian Pro Kabaddi league, with Charu Sharma the main behind it, drew immense crowd and popularity in the stadiums. Spread over various cities and with celebrities like Abhishek Bachchan,  Ronnie Screwwala, etc being the team owners, a small town and village game was brought to a great national and international platform. Infact, on the opening night, it drew almost 22 million viewers as per statistics. Besides the Indian League, the World Kabaddi League was also formed recently  for the expat Indians in US, UAE, Canada and England and the matches are lined up for the month of November as well.

Perhaps drawing inspiration from this step, The Indian Super League was formed with stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt etc as team owners trying to revive the Indian football. Though football as a profession is mostly present in North East India, but the football freaks and fans are spread throughout be it the World cup, the English Premier League, the Champions League, etc. Football , I feel is a much more exciting, physically and mentally tough game than any other sport specially cricket and it definitely needs a facelift in India if India needs to be able to qualify for atleast the next world cup.

Few days back, I also heard about the International Premier Tennis League and the fact that legends like Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, etc are going to be in Delhi to play excited me to the hilt. Being an Agassi and Pete Sampras fan all my life, I feel this is the best that could happen to encourage Indian tennis  giving a chance to upcoming talent as well as promote it at a global level.

Ofcourse the place cricket has in our minds and hearts can not be replaced or substituted or altered also, but I hope the Indian fans make these leagues a success as well so that these sports also get placed on an equal if not more footing than cricket.....