Cricket is the most popular sport in India. Kabaddi, hockey, football, badminton, tennis, and wrestling all have their place in India but cricket continues to lead the way. The Indian Premier League, an annual cricket competition in the country attracts the biggest names in the sport. The stadiums are always packed with fans, such is the passion for the sport but why is cricket India’s favourite sport?
A Long History
Cricket in India can be traced back to the 1700s and the sport was introduced to the country by the British. The East India Company were responsible for the first cricket played in India and the first recorded match took place between the Kolis of Gujarat and the East India Company in 1721. It did not take long for the sport to take off in India and teams were soon being formed across the country, including Calcutta and Seringapatam. The sport spread throughout India, with people from different religions and backgrounds all eager to participate. In the late 1800s, a tournament called The Bombay Quadrangular was contested between Hindus, Muslims, Europeans, and Parsees. The first Test series featuring India was played in 1932 and they faced England, losing 1-0. Having been introduced to cricket over 300 years ago, it is little wonder it remains the most popular sport in the country.
Cricketers are among the wealthiest athletes in India and the Indian Premier League is a hugely lucrative tournament. The advertising around the IPL is staggering and this brings a lot of money into the Indian economy. Betting is popular throughout the IPL, and this has helped to keep cricket at the top in terms of popularity. Whether it be betting in-play on the IPL final or taking advantage of a bet365 bonus code India, cricket betting is massive in the country, with over 300 million betting during the IPL.
Cricket in India is colossal. It generates huge sums of money and is played by millions of people, at all levels of the sport. The top players are treated like celebrities and being such a simple sport to play, it is easy to see why cricket is India’s favourite sport.
Easy to Play
At a basic level, cricket is an easy sport to play. The top professional matches use the latest technology and equipment but none of that is required to have a game of cricket with friends. Wood and other material is readily available and can be shaped into a bat. The stumps can be anything from wood to a plastic crate. Even the ball can made from something other than the cork, yarn, and leather used to manufacture a standard ball. Travel anywhere throughout India and you will see children and adults alike playing cricket in the street. It is possible to play cricket with as little as 2 players or as many as 22 players, so regardless of the number of people available, a game of cricket is always playable. Many of the top professional Indian cricket players started by playing on the street without access to standard equipment. The joy of having a game of cricket with friends and family is what makes it India’s favourite sport.
For any sport to thrive in a country, there must be role models for younger players to look up to and that is certainly the case in India. Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Rahul Dravid are just some of the Indian cricketers who have reached a god-like status in India. These players have excelled at the highest level of the sport and if they were to walk down the street of any Indian city or town, it would take them days to move just a few feet through the crowds thanks to their popularity. With so many Indian cricketers reaching the top of the sport, they become role models for youngsters who want to emulate their heroes. That means there is always a constant string of youngsters coming through the ranks of Indian cricket.