By Arya Sharan
- India’s national identity revolves around our enthusiasm for three things, Indian Politics, the raw and aboriginal film industry Bollywood, and the sport of Cricket
- The modern day Indian society and the colossal change which we have witnessed in the last couple of decades have largely been influenced with Cricket
- Cricket’s spectatorship has played a big role in the proliferation of Television sets in India
After retaining 15 players among the 17 who formed the Test squad for the Caribbean tour, India looks quite prepared for the upcoming three-Test series at home against the Black Caps. And the choice of the squad has not come into as much of a surprise as the two dropped players were: all-rounder Stuart Binny and seamer Shardul Thakur.
Ever wondered why more than half of the Indian population is analyzing that who would be the better opening pair: Dhawan and Vijay or Vijay and KL Rahul? And why some of us are still drooling over Misbah’s beautifully crafted ton at Lord’s?
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Probably, because Cricket is much more to India than just a sport.
To the much of the outside world, India’s national identity revolves around our enthusiasm for three things, Indian Politics, the raw and aboriginal film industry Bollywood, and the sport of Cricket.
Where the former two passions of Indians have created differences and consequently disturbances among the country due to the various ideologies that surround them, Cricket has always been our common idiosyncrasy. For instance, after independence, Indian Politics has broken Nation’s integrity in divisions of class, religions, castes and languages. And our film industry, although appeals to a large section of India but still fails to unify us as a whole.
The modern day Indian society and the colossal change which we have witnessed in the last couple of decades have largely been influenced with Cricket. The biggest reason for that change which has driven social and economic change to an extent and that which cannot be understood is television. In 1990 India had some 30 million television households. Now there are around 200 million television households,”. And Cricket’s spectatorship has played a big role in the proliferation of Television sets in India.
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“Indian Cricket actually reflects our country’s own growth story during this time. Cricket is so much a part of our National fabric that as India- its economy, society, and popular culture transformed itself, so did our most-loved sport” said Rahul Dravid during his speech at Bradman Oration in Canberra.
Indians fight for almost everything but unite to support their teams against the Kangaroos or the Proteas. The enormity of Cricket goes to such extent that the news of Sachin’s retirement made not only India but the whole world stop and sigh. Not all were Sachinist but billions of eyes were moist when Sachin walked back getting caught at slip on 15th November 2014, in his last outing as a Cricketer at Wankhede, Mumbai. Even after being a South African great, De Villiers’ 100th test became a moment of celebration for Indians at Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore. That shows the sport of Cricket connects our nation for a common cause!
On April 2, 2011, the Indian streets were filled with the triumphant crowds as complete strangers embraced each other and exchanged words of praise, love, and happiness. Religion, caste, and language were no bar: as the ‘Indian unanimity’ eradicated our linguistic, regional or religious differences. India won the Cricket World Cup after a long and undying wait of 28 years, and once again, being Indian was a matter of collective pride.
There is nothing indispensable about cricket’s place in the Indian imagination, receptivity, and ancient culture; its position is not protected by any magical guarantees of permanence. It is just a cultural activity, one with a history of eventualities propping it up; some beautiful and brutal events of the present that deny eradicating its presence from the history of the revenant India.
– Arya Sharan is studying Journalism. Twitter: @NoOffense9Click here for reuse options!
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