Monday, August 09, 2004

Cricket: The death knell for other games

Cricket: The death knell for other games

Claiming English to be the death knell for other languages is almost as atrocious. While agreeing that other games are tending to be sidelined, cricket definitely isn’t the cause. Cricket has many merits, and the chief ones being its ability to be played anywhere and its relatively low cost. Because of this and a plethora of other virtues, cricket is the most popular game in the country. And therefore, it is not cricket, the game itself, but the public at large that is to be blamed for the ruination of other games. As a personal experience, in my school, whenever I have played any game in PT class, it has been either cricket or football. Never have I been exposed to atiya patiya, gilli danda or kabaddi. And frankly speaking, even if they did, I wouldn’t have been interested. Yet, I do not hold cricket to blame, for the simple reason that if cricket would not have existed, then everybody would have liked some other game, say kabaddi in its place and people would be writing on kabaddi being the death knell for other sports. Some or the other game would hold the position that cricket is now holding. Moreover, we have to face the truth, bitter or otherwise that cricket is the only sport where India currently has the capability to turn out international standard players in large numbers.
Agreed that cricketers in India are a bit glamorised, but Bhupati, Kartikeyan, Pillai and Anand have a celebrity quotient too, and it isn’t that the cricketers have any less talent, and hence are as deserving of the status as their fellow sportsmen. An odd cricketer may belittle the game occasionally, but the damage has been sufficiently remedied by showing the door to every one of them.
Cricket is the game most commonly shown on TV, because it is an interesting game to watch. The television itself prevents people from going out and playing, and not cricket. There are many who like to watch cricket, and keep tabs on the records of the cricketers, and follow the various tournaments keenly, but would hate to go out in the sun and actually play it. Again, cricket takes the blame, this time for the television.
If anyone desires to keep any game alive, then the only possible solution is for the people at large to take interest and work towards it. The government is playing a key role in keeping these games alive, no matter what anyone might say. It treats all games equally, and the incentives and facilities provided to the cricketers are no more than any other player of any other game receives. For those who care, the national events of the games that are supposedly dying out are broadcast regularly on doordarshan, and the public isn’t interested. We cannot hold cricket to blame for having way more viewer potential. The sponsors of the cricket team are partly to blame for going with the flow and encouraging cricket teams only. The advertisements intending to promote the products are promoting the game. Lately, the trend has been changing and companies are looking at various different sportsmen for wearing them on their shirts.
This, and the very fact that such a topic is being called into discussion signifies the change in trend of the people’s thinking. It begins to show that the people actually care about the various sports that are a part of our culture, and those that some of us have mastered better than people from the regions where they developed in the first place. Who knows what this fresh train of thought will lead us, if it loses steam before other sports get a prominent place, then the blame should not come on cricket; if, however, almost extinct sports are rejuvenated, then they will owe one to cricket for bringing their plight into the light.
A lot yet needs to be done, and other sports will most definitely die out if we do not take more sensible steps towards resurrecting them than pointlessly blaming cricket. The devil down below may be ringing the triangular piece of metal for most other games, but the sound coming out most definitely isn’t cricket.
-Aditya MJ
D, FYJC Science

written for a competition last year, did not submit

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