Find any open area or play ground in India? It is most likely that you will also find a bunch of youngsters playing cricket. Without any doubt, cricket is the heart beat of Indian entertainment with only movies being a close contender.
Cricket has managed to capture the attention of both young and old in India. When India plays any team or tournament, Indians everywhere are glued to the television or radio to get updates. Being an auspicious community, Indians are known to offer special prayers in houses of worship, especially before crucial matches. The whole country goes wild each time India wins a game of cricket with crackers being burst as part of the celebration. Similarly Indians do not hide their disappointment when the Indian team fails to secure victory.
The cricket saga in India began in 1721 when sailors from a British ship anchored on the Kutch coast began to play the game for recreation. Towards the end of the century Cricket Fever was catching up in the country with Cricket clubs being opened. Bombay (presently Mumbai) emerged as a hub for cricketing activities in the country and has produced several players of repute till date.
Since its formative years, cricket has made progress by leaps and bounds and is now governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). All States in India have cricket associations of their own which fall under the BCCI banner. Not to be left out, Indian women took to the game and women’s cricket started to look up in the later part of the 19th century. Women’s cricket is also governed by the BCCI.
Indian Cricketers have made the country proud in the arena of International Cricket by clinching the World Cup title twice, once in 1983 and more recently in 2011. The Indian Cricket team also has to its credit many victories in Test Cricket. Several legends of the game are responsible for the high ranking of the Indian Cricket team. Out of them Sachin Tendulkar, the Master Blaster of India continues to rule the turf with his brilliant cricketing skills.
The major domestic cricket tournaments played in India are Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Irani Trophy, BCCI Corporate Trophy, Challenger Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Inter State T20 Championship and Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
India is the first country to hold the distinction of winning the World Cup in home soil in the year 2011. Indian Premier League matches are of fairly recent origin. But have become rivals for Indian cinema by offering drama, climax and absolute thrill.
It is amazing to see cricket being played in very remote and backward parts of the country. The game has certainly reached every Indian, no matter where they live or what they do. Interestingly, it is not just matches involving India that attracts viewership. Indians love to watch other countries play too, making cricket the one stream of entertainment that brings in enormous advertising revenue.
Cricket is here to stay in India and is the pulse of majority Indians. No other sport invokes a sense of oneness and patriotism in the country as much as cricket does, making this game the unannounced National Game of India.
Here are two books for further reading
Buy Why India Can Never Do without Cricket from Flipkart.com
Buy "The Magic of Indian Cricket, Revised Edition (Sport in the Global Society)" from Amazon.com