Picture yourself as a member of the Indian Cricket Team. Big day today! India v/s New Zealand! Cricket gloves? Check. Leg guards? Check. Helmet? Check. All set to make a dashing entry into the cricket ground! But oh, wait! Something is missing… Good Lord! AUDIENCE! The stadium lacks spectators. Feeling low? Dejected? It’s okay. Anyone would feel this way. But thank god, we were just imagining . Because, in India , empty cricket stadiums are far from the reality .
Umm… empty hockey stadiums? Empty football stadiums? Well, unfortunate but true, that’s the reality of India.
Heard of the name ‘Sunil Chhetri’? He is the captain of Indian football team. ‘‘ SCREAM AT US, SHOUT AT US. ABUSE US. WHO KNOWS? ONE DAY, WE MIGHT CHANGE YOU GUYS. ’’ These are the words of Sunil Chhetri, pleading the general public in order to seek support for the team. Ever wondered what compelled him to do so? It’s us. We are to be blamed for this. Always electrified at just the mere mention of a cricket match. Other sports ? What are those? Even hockey, our national game is given a step-motherly treatment.
In my opinion, India is not short of sporting culture in any way. What lacks, are opportunities. In every nook and corner of our country resides a potential Saina Nehwal, Mary Com, or maybe Abhinav Bindra. The list is endless. What they require are adequate facilities and support. I often ponder upon the fact that why local games are not on air? Why all the media attention and coverage is showered upon cricket only? History is enough proof of the fact that cricket continues to maintain an iron grip on be it spectators, investors, and media. No one other than cricketers are made accessible to all the major sponsorship deals and substantial cash rewards. More sadly than surprisingly, IPL players get more fame and money than compared to Olympic medallists. What a shame! Lack of funds, lack of initiative by the government, not much support from sports federations- all serve as a drawback to other sports. When they look up to the government for help, they are let down. The need of the hour is to provide all the sports in India with equal opportunities, funds, and audience, and see them strive to put in the extra effort and rise to great heights subsequently.
About the author:
Aabha Kapoor- Gargi College, DU