Monday, July 8, 2024

Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

Trust me, cricket is everything in India. You can ask anyone, anytime, and anywhere to play cricket in India. It's the only game that brings an adrenaline rush to every nerve in our beautiful country. A game for everyone to prove that they are the best player.

KALAROTA_Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

The taste of individuality in team effort is the core essence of this game. Every lad in this game knows that he can't play alone. He has to play with the team, but at the same time, he will also get a chance to prove himself.

In a country where diverse cultures, languages, and traditions coalesce, one unifying force stands tall above all – cricket. Cricket is more than just a sport; it's a national obsession, a cultural phenomenon that transcends boundaries and binds millions together in a shared passion.

Grassroots Passion

Cricket's popularity extends beyond professional leagues to grassroots levels, where makeshift pitches and rough-hewn bats are enough to fuel dreams of sporting greatness. Children across India grow up playing cricket in alleyways, open fields, and even on dusty streets, dreaming of one day representing their country on the international stage. This grassroots passion ensures a steady stream of talent that keeps the sport thriving.

Almost everyone in India has asked their parents for a cricket bat and ball in their childhood. It's the dream of every Indian to earn the blue jersey, and out of 1.4 billion, a few get the chance to shine.

I have seen so many kids crying in front of their parents to let them go out to play cricket. Summers used to be the best and worst time for cricket – best because of summer holidays and worst because of the excess heat. We used to spend whole afternoons playing in the parking or corridor with one treaty signed between parents and us: we would play without making noise.

KALAROTA_Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

There used to be one guy who rang a cycle bell in every lane by 4:00-4:30 pm. If anyone missed the bell, he made sure to do a second round, making noise or calling our names loudly so we could hear him.

And if the ground was visible from the window or terrace, we were just a blink away. Sometimes, to reach early, many of us climbed boundary walls.

Every colony had its senior and junior teams playing with other colonies around. If you were good, the seniors would give you a chance, but if you were bad, you were ready to be the 12th man of the team.

The boys who owned both bat and ball were considered the richy-rich of the colony. Every kind of power belonged to them. On the ground, they were never less than Greek gods with a trail or the prime minister. They could start the match and end it anytime.

KALAROTA_Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

They went to open the inning with the bat, and they went to bowl first. The whole match belonged to them, and trust me, it didn't matter if they had talent or not. If they got out, they had the power to decide the next batsman. They even had the power to declare themselves not out. If you tried to seek justice, the match was over for everyone. Quite a risky situation always.

Hope I cleared out my childhood frustration. :-P

From bustling cities to remote villages, cricket is played at every corner of India. This is the game you can't resist.

A Historical Journey

During the colonial era, the British introduced this sport as a means of recreation and entertainment.

Yes! Our ancestors paid "Lagaan" (tax) to the British, but it doesn't have any relation to Aamir Khan's movie "Lagaan," and they never paid "Teen Guna Lagaan" (three times tax).

Over time, it evolved from a colonial pastime to a deeply entrenched part of Indian culture. The watershed moment came with India's victory in the 1983 Cricket World Cup under the leadership of Kapil Dev, igniting a fervor that continues to burn brightly today.

Cultural Significance

What makes cricket so deeply embedded in the Indian psyche? Firstly, cricket matches are more than just sporting events; they are grand spectacles that command the attention of millions.

I remember people coming to my home to watch important matches. There weren't many matches played, no IPL or seasonal matches. In villages, the madness was at the next level. One boy used to climb the tree to fix the antenna, and gatherings of 40-50 people were always seen watching the match on the tiniest television that existed on the earth. I did salute to their focus on the TV screen many times.

KALAROTA_Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

In those days, people carried radios on their shoulders to enjoy the live commentary and dance at every 6 and 4 boundary. While cycling, they carried the radio with one hand on the shoulder, and many smart ones carried a hanging leather case for the radio.

And that's the reason I strongly believe we are the real pioneers of hip-hop culture. :-P

Even nowadays, you will see stadiums full, people gathering in sports bars, cafes, and even workplaces come to a standstill during critical matches. It's not uncommon to see streets deserted as everyone tunes in to catch the latest innings.

Even at traffic signals, you will see an exchange of the latest updates. I saw a traffic police officer asking a cab driver, "How many wickets? Is Virat still batting?" And trust me, you have to believe this because we have an extra chromosome for cricket in the nucleus of every cell of our body.

In the finals, people were more interested in knowing how many overs were left for Bumrah to bowl. Even the whole world media blamed India that they get only 16 overs to bat, and India gets 20 overs to bat because they can't score in Bumrah's over.

Heroes and Icons

From the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, also known as the god of cricket, to the charismatic Virat Kohli, who embodies the modern era of Indian cricket, these players transcend the sport itself. India has the best batting, bowling, and fielding lineup in the world. Their achievements on the field inspire generations and serve as a source of national pride.

Indians put their heart and soul into getting selected for the playing eleven. You can only get the chance to play for the blue jersey if you are not less than Superman. There are so many talents who never got a chance to play even in state matches or trophies.

Economic and Social Impact

Beyond its cultural influence, cricket also wields significant economic power in India. The Indian Premier League (IPL), a domestic T20 tournament, has revolutionized the sport by attracting top talent from around the world and generating immense revenue through sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and merchandise sales. The IPL has not only bolstered India's economy but also provided a platform for young cricketers to showcase their talent and aspire for international glory.

These tournaments have played a vital role in providing the best talent to the Indian team and international teams. Many players who were unknown in their own countries have got a chance to get visible in the eyes of their selectors.

Uniting a Nation

Perhaps the most profound aspect of cricket in India is its ability to unite a diverse nation. Regardless of language, religion, or social background, cricket brings people together in shared moments of joy and despair. Whether celebrating a historic win or mourning a heartbreaking loss, the emotions stirred by cricket are universally felt, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among Indians both at home and abroad.

I remember how people gathered around an open tea stall outside Banaras Hindu University campus, Banaras (Varanasi) after India-Australia final match in 2003. You don't know how people in Banaras talk to each other normally. The whole sentence will have at least 5 common abusive slang words. "Bhosadi ke" is the best filler slang ever invented in world's slang dictionary.

At first, it seemed there was a fight between two religious communities, then later on, I realized they were talking about India's loss in the final match with Australia. They abused all cricketers, match referees, groundsmen, third umpires, the electricity board, the government, coaches, Indian roads, and finally, each other to go back home.

India-Pakistan matches were always the most talked-about topic, and it wasn't less than a final. Even the ICC earns more in an Indo-Pak match than in any other match.

As India won the T20 World Cup 2024 this time, we have seen how the whole team has been welcomed in Mumbai. Every player has been treated as a god in their states and local areas. Welcome parties are still not over.

Indian media is just pushing edits and edits to maximize their TRP. Brands started running behind the players to shoot ad campaigns.

The Future of Cricket in India

Looking ahead, cricket's influence in India shows no signs of waning. With technological advancements enhancing fan engagement and the sport's global reach expanding, cricket is poised to remain a cornerstone of Indian culture for generations to come. As new stars emerge and old rivalries reignite, the madness of cricket in India will continue to thrive, perpetuating its status as the nation's favorite pastime.

KALAROTA_Cricket Madness in India: A National Obsession

It is also the hope for many Indians to get out of miseries and poverty. Many of them play to fulfill their parents' dreams and their dream of living a better and more successful life. Cricket gives hope to all of those extraordinary talents that there is something that can be achieved with hard work and passion. There is a sport that has the power to make them feel like gods.


In conclusion, cricket's madness in India is not merely a spectator sport but a cultural phenomenon that resonates deeply with millions of people. It embodies the spirit of unity, passion, and resilience that defines the nation itself. From historic victories to unforgettable moments, cricket weaves itself into the very fabric of Indian identity, ensuring its place as more than just a game but as an enduring symbol of national pride and unity.

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