Get a grip, India

Vivek Menezes at 3quarksdaily:

Look, the fact is that cricket barely qualifies as an international sport.

There are a billion and a half subcontinentals who’ve been fed cricket, cricket and more cricket for decades – the very definition of a captive audience – so there’s steady interest here. But look beyond, and we’re talking a very steep, genuinely precipitous, drop-off to England, Australia, South Africa and the West Indies, where “our” sport runs a distant third or fourth to the popularity of football, rugby, basketball, athletics, swimming, etc. And after England and its overseas spawn, you may as well stop counting, because you’re done with all the legitimate cricketing sides in the world. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it?

Indians don’t like to consider this truth, but it’s become quite apparent that most other countries only continue with cricket because India is obsessed with it – they play to keep us company, to humiliate us when the chance presents itself, and, especially, to pick up generous paychecks which would be entirely unforthcoming if India grew up, and concentrated its efforts on real sports, played by a majority of nations, the kind of sports that show up at the Olympics.

But you see, that precise sticking point is the crux of why Indians are obsessed with cricket – it’s another plain fact that we’re really, really horrible at sports where the rest of the world competes, and we hate the Olympics, beacause we get ritually creamed each year (at Beijing, India’s best Olympics ever, little tiny countries like Mongolia out-ranked us. Yes, Mongolia.) More:

I don’t love India but I love cricket

Sudipto Mondal at Kafila

They don’t love the deftness of a late cut
or the terror of a snorter;
the authority of a cover drive
or the seduction of a flighted one.

They don’t love the smell of spit on leather.
They don’t love one eased through long leg
unless its Deepika Padukone we’re talking about.

They don’t love cricket but they say they love India.

Full poem here

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