India is a cricketing nation they say. We have had amongst the best teams in the world these past few years, especially since Dhoni took over as captain. We won a number tours, some at home and others abroad. We even won more than one world cup and maintained our standing in world rankings for some time before we had a bad spell recently. All is good and well for the Indian cricket team at the moment.
So what about other sports?
Our national team didn't qualify for the Football World Cup in Brazil.
Our players are still not getting paid for playing hockey for the nation.
Our athletes in shooting do not have enough money or facilities to practice.
Our archers borrow equipment from other countries during tournaments.
Our nation is represented by the Olympic flag since we are banned from participation.
And, we have no notable athletes in cycling, high jump, long jump, pole vault, swimming, discus throw, javelin throw and track events. Only tennis and chess are the two other games where we make what little impact we do in the international sports arena.
So why is it that we have no standing whatsoever in any other game but cricket, I wonder. Taking into consideration what I've seen happen all these years, I can only come to the conclusion that cricket is the drug that is being injected into the public to keep them occupied. That cricket is being used just like the Roman games at the Coliseum. It was a well known fact even then that an entertained populace is a satisfied and lazy populace which will keep one on the throne as long as they are entertained.
Cricket in India is not controlled by the government but by an independent body known as the Board for Control of Cricket in India. This is not a government body and does not come under anyone’s purview but the justice system of India. There is no regulation or audit by anyone and therefore the so-called ‘Indian’ cricket team actually does not even represent the nation. They play for a private organization which hires politicians and bureaucrats to enhance its political leverage.
On the other hand, almost every other outdoor game is controlled by the Government of India through the Sports Ministry. But still they are doing nothing at all to give these games and their prospective players a chance to flourish not only at the state and national, but also the international stage. Building a cricket ground in a city that already has one is alright, but building a hockey or football pitch where there are none is probably a waste of money.
Being the second largest population on the planet, we can be sure to find enough players for every sport there is and win half of them at the very least. Instead, we don’t even qualify or participate in over half of such events and get banned from the one true world championship, the Olympics. The problem is that we have the players, we have the passion, we have everything except equipment, infrastructure and funding to let our players practice and develop to the standards of the world.
To this I can only say, “Well played India, well played.”