There may be many religions in this secular country called India, but it is said that cricket unites Indians better than any religion can ever do. Although Hockey is the national game of India, it is cricket that enjoys supremacy in terms of fan following. With millions of ardent followers, cricket is the ‘religion’ of India. ‘Men in Blue’ are absolutely adored by the crazy cricket fans and their fame outshines the popularity of any other celebrity. From a school going kid to retired old man, the charisma of cricket has enchanted almost every Indian. People plan their activities, leaves and travel plans after checking out the schedule of Indian Cricket team. Cricket is also the fastest way of befriending an Indian. No matter which part of India it is, one can find a bunch of kids playing cricket with lot of enthusiasm.
It is very often said that cricket is dying in England, the country where it originated. Even in West Indies, cricket seems to have lost its sheen. But Indians, who picked up the game from the British, continue to be the fanatic followers. In fact, after the birth of the immensely popular Indian Premier League, the cricket fever has entered into entirely new horizons of fame and glory.
Because of its enormous popularity in India, cricket attracts a lot of sponsors too. In addition, the frequency of matches played by India is higher than most of the other cricket playing countries with each game being followed like a ritual. Hardly would anyone witness any vacant seats in a stadium where a match is being played. Apart from India’s International fixtures, the domestic tournaments like Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and Duleep Trophy also gather a huge support. All these factors contribute in making BCCI the richest cricket board of the world. Most of the ICC revenues are generated from this cricket crazy nation.
The religion of cricket has no holy books but there are several Gods. From legendary players like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all have been extremely popular in India. “If cricket is the religion, Sachin is God” has become a popular saying. Sachin Tendulkar>, regarded as a living legend, is worshiped by almost every cricket fan. Even International players never go unrecognized in the malls and streets of India.
Apart from these Gods, the religion of cricket also has its festivals in the form of victories. Every Indian win is cheered and celebrated like a festival. But there is a flip side too. Whenever India loses a match, the defeat is seen as a national tragedy generating a lot of criticism for players as well as selectors. Sometimes the criticism becomes very harsh prompting to several changes and resignations.