From Being Glued To Our TVs In 1990s To The Dwindling Interest - The Tale Of Our Love For Cricket

Indiatimes

Indiatimes

Author 2019-10-01 16:21:22

Of all the things in the world that can't be separated - cricket and India, is one genuinely fascinating tale - that is strong and vehement.

The love for cricket transcends all boundaries and finds its indomitable craze in every small or big place - every gully to big city - bat and ball will be one common sight.

India's special bond with the game is very old - since the Britishers introduced it in the country, the fever has only grown. As someone put it spot on, ''cricket is a religion in India."

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India has been one of the top teams in the world over the last two decades, but it wasn't always beautiful and blessed. It has been a tough road to the top - it has been a quite a journey.

In 1990s, India wasn't a dominant force, but they weren't pushovers either - winning against the top sides was a step too far. We did quite well at home, but the trips abroad were always our achilles heel.

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The syndrome still continues to have its effect in current times, with Australia and England tours still a daunting task. The 1990s saw two Asian countries lift the World Cup - Pakistan in 1992, and Sri Lanka, but India failed to muster anything of note.

India's showing in the 1990s was indifferent and lackluster, but one thing that never showed signs of wear and tear was the support - that team India got - be it in the stadiums or from people sitting at home watching on television.

We had more sorrow to be content with than the moments of sheer joy, but optimism and love for the game never faded. It was also the time Sachin Tendulkar was taking small steps to greatness.

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With no internet, and not many sports broadcasters, Doordarshan was our one stop for sports - it was our Netflix and chill, no millennial age.

We were maybe at best a tad over average. Tigers at home, pussy cats abroad was the motto, and yet when Indian team was playing, we would make extra effort to be there in front of the television.

After the dawn of the 21st century, it all was to change - and Indian team has not only made rapid strides, but is a massive force to be reckoned with.

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The moment of early glory in new era came at Lord's in 2002, when India beat England in a thriller to lift the Netwest Series - it also made Saurav Ganguly bring in his now famous shirt celebration from the dressing room balcony.

It was a moment that announced India's coming of age, and a new chapter was set in motion. It was a spark that galvanised team India and set them on path to achieving big things.

Many historic chapters have been written since - a T20 World Cup triumph in 2007, 50-over World Cup win in 2011, Champions Trophy crown in 2013, and runners-up at the 2003 World Cup.

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Team India has become a dominant force to be reckoned with and have been one of the top sides in recent times. As India has become a top contender in cricket, the interest in the sport has also dwindled.

Is too much accessibility the cause? Or has the interest waned because they are doing a little too well? Or are other sports taking centre stage in our interest, or are we plain bored?

Factor them together, it might give us all the answers. The growing culture of commercial T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League has also swayed the interest from 50-over and Test

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The fast-paced format coupled with the advancement in internet and technology - has made watching the whole game of cricket necessary as people keep up-to date with live scores on their phones.

This is not to say people don't watch games on their smartphones, but they keep busy with their usual jobs and check scores whenever the feel like.

Also, too much of cricket is definitely a reason for people having too much of it. Every other month India is in action, and series' against not so competitive sides also keeps people away from watching the games.

The development of others sports like football, badminton, wrestling and athletics, has also impacted the dominance of cricket. The performance in these sports overs the years have been historic and path-breaking.

These sports are making their mark and claiming their space - pushing cricket like never before. It is only good for Indian sports and will help us move on from 'one sport nation.'

While dominance and influence of cricket won't really go away, the dwindling interest will only help Indian sports.

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