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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why cricket should be the National Sport of India

Rightly anticipating the reaction if India becomes the new cricket champions
of the world, I was determined not to write a piece on anything even
remotely associated with the game - that is even if my nation were to lose
the finals. No, it's not disrespect or attitude (Gosh! I treasure my ribs in
place). Coming from a land where cricket is religion, don't I know better.
The truth be told - I can't think of unused superlatives and frezied one-
liners that began inundating the media from the run-up to the finals. How
much do I tweak the already consumed words to sound different? Friends
sugested a comment on the final day performance or the individual scores or
even the future of the champions... Well, leave me alone, I'm no game.

However, if I still choose to waste time and space on the hit-and-run
issues, it's because the chases and misses have crossed the borders. Was
heart-warming to see Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the
Indian Premier Manmohan Singh sit close together without much ado and
presumaly enjoying a game very unfamilar to the one they are masters at.
After the hype of political presence at the stadium even days before the
actual semi-final match, it wasn't surprising to hear the Foreign Secretary
issue a statement. Yet I think any other lower-ranking official could have
read the statement.

If the might and power of this game is such that it is expected to boost
cross-border camaraderie, then shouldn't it be upgraded as the National
Sport of India? Hockey players haven't ever received the same attention,
forget adulation, in free India. They've tried playing, then comparing,
pleading and complaining...miserably falling short of even the deafest
of ears.

Well, the debate has been doing the rounds since a while. Popularity,
remuneration, win-loss statistics, trophies, ground realties of the two
games have been compared and rumenated over the years to no definite
conclusion.

Now, here's one reason why cricket should replace hockey as the National
Sport - the government has endorsed the game. Period.

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