Life after cricket

Players with million dollar

Which is the most popular sport in India? OK, that's a no-brainer. Now will you tell me which one will be the most popular sport in this country after another 5 years? Is it a bit difficult? That's a no-brainer too for Zee-Essel group's chairman Subhash Chandra as he is busy signing international players with million dollar contracts believing the passion for this game in the country will help his new cricket league to be a great success. Let's leave cricket for a while. Now if you plan for Rs. 100 crore project for a sport like the Zee chairman did, which one will you bet? Shakrukh Khan as a hockey coach in his latest hit film, Chak De India and Indian hockey team's recent Asia cup victory, would have inspired many to name our national sport, hockey as the first choice. But is the interest in the sport growing in the country? ESPN-Star in association with Indian Hockey Federation created a professional league, Premier Hockey League (PHL) in 2005 with lot of innovations to draw the younger generation into the game. However this had not increased the fan following for the game significantly Fun88.


Football - Growing interest:
There is one sport that is steadily growing in India; despite the national team's absence in major global tournaments is Football. Many urban kids are keenly following the action in English Premier League and other major league soccer tournaments in Europe. Also there is very good corporate support for our National Football League. Mallya owns the most popular Kolkatta club, KingFisher East Bengal, Mahindra Group sponsors another top club Mahindra United and Zee Television sponsored the Goa based club, Churchil Brothers few years back. Moving on from football, to India's passion, my joy and the game of eleven fools (as George Bernard Shaw described it) cricket. I think a very few people in India do not know what cricket is, and the rest constitute the millions of fools who are ardent followers of the Men in Blue (the BCCI Indian Cricket team marketed to the core). Cricket for many Indians (including me) is larger than life and the basis of life itself. Cricket is to India what football is to Brazil Fun88.


Ask a true Indian cricket fan what he/she longs, lives for and cherishes the most and he/she will say "To watch India win the match!" (accompanied with a big smile). One of thehappiest moments of my life was to watch India make it to the World Cup finals in 2003. Unfortunately the 23rd March 2003 also turned out to be one of the saddest, apparently Ricky Ponting (Punter) had other plans, and as his nickname suggests better placed bets. A few mistakes by the Indian cricket team captained very ably by Sourav Ganguly (Dada,Prince of Calcutta, God of the off-side) saw me, and many Indians, on that fateful day reduced to tears, in our "Men In Blue" Tri-Colour painted T-Shirts and faces. Heartbroken we wiped the tears off and hoped we would get to see that moment of glory which the generation before us had witnessed at Lords in 1983. That moment where the underdogs, Kapil Dev's Indian cricket team won us the world cup against the then invincible West Indian Cricket team.

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