Monday, March 26, 2007

Why I am happy that India lost

I have no interest in cricket, but is subsumes you because you are surrounded by everyone who does. It’s on the news, on TV and on newspapers. So you can’t fail to notice that there is a cricket match going on. And sometimes you get t watch it because those around you want to watch it. India lost out to Bangladesh and then to Sri Lanka and are out of the World Cup. Thank goodness. I am relieved. Here’s why.

So that they stop the annoying ads on TV

Pepsi has released a new ad in which thousands chant something like ‘Hu Ha India’. And then they end up with ‘World Cup Ko La’. Where Ko La stands for ‘get it’, and also for Cola. The guys who made the ad thought they were brilliant. In fact, it is the most annoying ad I have seen, especially when they kept relaying it even after the debacle against Bangladesh. There’s another ad where the team members turn into tigers. May be these are just donkeys which donned Tiger uniforms (as an old story goes). Even when Sachin performed really bad and was out, he reappeared in the ads right after. It’s like saying, ‘So what if I failed in the game, I am always a winner on the TV ads’. And to top it all, these team members are paid millions- and I cannot reason why.

So as to stop the over-obsession with one game and one team

There is nothing wrong with Cricket as a sport. It is just another sport. But a really boring one though- it’s too long and ends up wasting lot of time! There are two things Indians are completely obsessed about- one is Cricket and the other is Indian Movie industry. Nothing else comes close in enrapturing their complete attention, their body and whole soul. This over-obsession with just one or two things is a big disease- according to me (and it needs to be cured). We almost never bother about any other sports. Any village you go to in India, even a remote one, kids are playing this silly game. Nothing good came out of it.

Since we are obsessed with this game, I should naturally presume that we sponsor and encourage this game wherever it is played. That does not happen at all. All the minor league, college league, or state league games are completely unwatched. Compare this to few other countries and their sports. Brazilians or Germans watch soccer wherever it is played, even when one club or a city plays another. Americans watch their sports wherever it is played, even when a college team plays another. That’s not exactly what happens in India. Almost nobody watches when Mysore plays Bangalore (I don’t even think such a game actually takes place). So, are we genuinely interested in this sport or just in one team (which happens to be Indian National team)?

Come to think of it, we don’t know how this Indian team is made up. Who selects them? On what criteria? What are the other lower level games who put up these contenders? Ranji is such a low-key affair, its not even telecasted on TV. If Indians are genuinely passionate about this game, you would see companies sponsoring sports at all levels- at district, city, state, college. If they are genuinely interested, you would see people watching their college team play. But that does not happen. We are completely and entirely over-obsessed with the Indian national team and nothing beyond. The team which gets constituted (miraculously) are pampered like anything. Without having done anything spectacular, these sportsmen become millionaires, are considered heroes, appear in almost every ad, and woo Indian movie stars. What they do on the cricket ground is much less spectacular than what they do outside. Indians getting less obsessive about cricket, and concentrating on other things, including other sports, is a healthy sign.

So as to help India have a healthy youth

Losing the only sport on which the entire nation is over-obsessed is not good for the morale of its youth. Except cricket, there’s no other game and no other sport to rely on. Add to that, the Indian cricket team has this amazing proclivity to disappoint most of the times. The supposed heroes fail to perform almost consistently whenever India is in dire need of heroism. Watching your country go down in the only sports it plays is such a morale buster. Other countries with good populations have many sports to be proud of. Chinese or Russians do well in Olympics in many games. They don’t have one single sport and one single team to put all their bets on. Germans can look forward to soccer, hockey, athletics, F1, etc. US has many sports of its own to concentrate on. Every culture and region has some good number of sports to rely on, and each sport has many games at different levels to satisfy everyone. Some teams lose, some teams win, one can always root for some team and be happy. Indians have only one sport and only one game (at national level). And what great achievements we have in this only sport India is obsessed about? It won only one world cup in more than 25 years; that too in a tournament which is played at the most by 10 other countries of which 8 or so are regular playing teams. Losing in such tiny competition must be doing some good damage to the morale of this nation’s youth. It tells us that we are good at nothing. I would rather escape the game saying it is against our religion. It’s a better excuse than getting beaten up by every little nation.


  1. This is the TRUTH. Nice article and one should read this.

  2. >> Brazilians or Germans watch soccer wherever it is played, even when one club or a city plays another. Americans watch their sports wherever it is played, even when a college team plays another. That’s not exactly what happens in India. Almost nobody watches when Mysore plays Bangalore (I don’t even think such a game actually takes place). So are we genuinely interested in this sport or just in one team (which happens to be Indian National team)?

    There is a simple reason for that - most of the sports in the world are not globalized into a league system, unlike cricket. Example, in Football (soccer for any idiotic american reading this), except for the world cup and european championship matches, international matches are classified as friendlies, which are not taken seriously. Similarly, American football is not played much anywhere escept within the US and is therefore very popular at the league and college level.

    Also, another reason why people don't watch domestic cricket is because of the overall marketing associated with it - the best are playing international matches, the rest are not shown anywhere. I think its an opportunity unexploited. The PHL is a great initiative in this regards and has been doing pretty well, inspite of the fact that it is a tournament separate from the domestic hockey structure.

  3. yes... but when will we (not me though) really realize that its a sport and it needs the right attention not the pathetically "religion" status it has in India. And playing the same matches over and over again on tv on top bores me to no ends. Maybe we like to watch them lose every time and every series... love the words "morale booster" in the post... hahahaha ... if I was one of the present cricket team members ... i'll never come back to India.

  4. Well written.....though I really wanted to write on the same vein, I didn't want to as it is a waste of energy....this "cricket-loving-mob" will never learn!! and neither will the cricketers!!

  5. what I find to be most interesting about your post is this last section about youth. I think you bring up an interesting point about self-esteem. I find so many kids here (I'm living in India at the moment) who are constantly beat down (verbally) by other people telling them how dumb they are and yet it still results in some of the cockiest folks I've ever met. I don't meet that many people (at least stateside) that are so willing to tout their own horn, but here it seems every other person is ready to tell me what a great person they is loosing all the time really having that great an effect on their morale? I don't know. Second, China? really, is that how we should go about winning Olympic medals? I see value in finding the talent and nurturing it, which is something we don't do all that well at the moment, but the Chinese way doesn't seem to be the way to go to me.

  6. I agree. In the US, college football and basketball games are telecast on major sports channels. In addition they have baseball and ice hockey. Every metropolitan area has its own teams that the locals root for. Most of the leagues are not even international (except for a few Canadian teams). But Americans do not think a game is any less worthy if it is not played on the international stage. We Indians unfortunately suffer from this complex. Witness the craze for "international schools", "MNC" companies and the like.

    In India, except for Bengalis who are passionate about football, no one cares about state level games, even in cricket. I do not know why. No one seems to give a damn about Ranji trophy matches.

    Also the reaction of the fans questions the maturity of Indians in general. We build temples for actresses, worship our cricket stars when the going is well. But if they fall out of grace, we hound them, ransack their belongings, burn effigies and so on. We act plain stupid! This was a point made by many people especially after Woolmer's murder.

  7. As Indians, all we care about is heroes, be it sports or movies. We need our heroes in some way!

  8. Touche!

    P.S: Congrats on being nominated for thinking blogger.

  9. Julia Scissor:
    Thank you. But I don't understand what that means - 'to be nominated for a thinking blogger'. ?

  10. I tagged S. Ramanujam (Novice Academician)( with the Thinking Blogger award- cum-meme and , in turn,part of the rules he tagged you along with 4 others. That's how I discovered your blog in the first place.

  11. Sujai, awesome man.


  12. There is a sizable crowd in India who have the attitude like - "You can not imagine the immensity of the f**k I do not give about cricket." I am a proud member of that crowd. :D

    I have employed a strategy to avoid anything cricket. Whenever confronted with people trying to promote or discuss cricket, I make a completely wrong senseless deliberate comment to discourage having discussion with me. The looks on their faces are priceless. hehe. They assume I know nothing about cricket. I in fact do not. :P

    I grossly ignore TV ads and other cricket stuffs.


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