Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world second only to football. However, it’s the other way round in India. It is more popular than the national sport hockey or football. Cricket was originated in England as a bat and ball sport played by shepherds in 16th Century. It became the national game of England in 18th Century and very soon made its way into many countries including India with the British Empire in 19th Century.
The game is managed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Indian national cricket won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka. The Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy are the popular national tournaments. The Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 competition is a popular league conducted by the BCCI. The Indian cricket has provided some of the greatest players to the world, with Sachin Tendulkar being the biggest example. The Indian national team is currently ranked third in test cricket and first in one day international cricket.
Unlike other sports, cricket is played in every part of the country in almost any open space. The popularity of cricket is well matched by world-class infrastructure across India. There are great academies, stadiums, facilities for players and coaches, exposure to media, and sponsorships in the game. With right coaching and opportunities, aspiring cricketers can go a long way in India. Besides improved endurance and stamina, cricket specifically improves hand-eye coordination and team skills. Mental health is crucial for this sport, people with any form of mental health condition should avoid cricket.
Trivia: The first ever international cricket game was played between the USA and Canada in 1844. The match was played at the grounds of the St George’s Cricket Club in New York. And ironically both the countries are nowhere close to international cricket today.
Quote: “Before you lay a foundation on the cricket field, there should be a solid foundation in your heart and you start building on that. After that as you start playing more and more matches, you learn how to score runs and how to take wickets.”
-Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer and one of the greatest batsman in One Day International