Monday, March 7, 2011

Are Indians still crazy lovers of cricket?

The year was 1996. Million thanks to Pakistan for winning the World Cup in 1992. That brought the World Cup to the Sub Continent. India was a co-host of this grand event along with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
It was a festival atmosphere all over India. Cities declared holidays to schools and colleges, if a World Cup game was played at a stadium nearby. Ticket prices started as cheap as 25 Rs (50 cents) even in Big Metros like Chennai. Most importantly the World Cup was played all over the country and not in few handpicked stadiums.
Since a venue did not feature multiple games, public was happy to take whatever action that came to the stadium nearby. Even the games between Zimbabwe and Kenya attracted full houses. In the contrary, the games hosted by Pakistan attracted full audience only when Pakistan Team was involved in that game. As a result, World Cup was a huge success in India. Almost every game was played at full house.
Years passed by. Many satellite channels started exploring Indian public’s love for cricket. As a result, no matter who played cricket in whichever part of the world, the game was broadcasted in India. India started appreciating good cricket even if it did not involve their nation.
India went on to become the Financial Power House in Cricket. Thanks to those millions of crazy cricket lovers who made the dream possible. Also Indian Cricket Team went on to become a phenomenon. Days were gone where a cricketer from sub continent craves to play in English County. Instead Cricketers from any part of the world craved for a contract in Indian Premier League.

Year 2011
The World Cup has come back to the sub continent. It did not come to the subcontinent because one of the sub continent team won the previous edition of the World Cup. It came back because, India the Financial Power House, brought the edition to the sub continent.
I was cursing myself for not being in India at this time. What a shame? I’m not there to celebrate the festival of cricket with my fellow cricket lovers in a jam packed refurbished stadiums.
At a time, where I'm regretting for missing the action in stadium, I’m put in a State of Shock to witness empty stands where the game did not involve India.
I’m totally baffled. I don’t get it. Why is a cricket crazy nation not turning up to the stadium to watch a good game of cricket? Are they not crazy cricket lovers anymore?
It is hard to digest and so started talking with fellow cricket lovers in India to research this issue to the best of my knowledge. The research results are as follows.

  1. The tickets are not affordable anymore. Even for the games that did not involve India, the tickets are way too priced. A 25 Rs (50 cents) ticket in 1996 is now priced at 500 Rs (10$) approx. The paying public is not too sure if they are getting value for their money.
  2. The World Cup is not being played all over India, but in few handpicked venues. So each of these stadiums hosts more than a couple of games and also hosts one game that involves India.
  3. Since there were multiple games played at the same stadium, respective cities did not declare holidays for schools and colleges like they did in 1996 edition.
  4. Public are already witnessing the big stars of the game in Indian Premier League.
  5. Many believe that the actual event is commencing only from the knockout stages. After all it is almost everyone’s prediction that the Big 8 should automatically qualify for the knockout.
  6. People living in the southern part of the country feel it is too hot a weather to witness the games in the stadium.
The list goes on and on.
On the contrary, the tickets for Semi Finals and Finals are issued on lot basis. To be precise only 4000 tickets are issued to public for the finals of the grand event. The prices are fixed to 12,000 Rs and 18,000 Rs only (275$ – 450$ approx).  I don’t know if this is a ploy from organizers to cache on the public’s interest for grand finale or is it a price that public has to pay for neglecting the group stage games?
However, the Indian public is still watching the games between ads in their Television sets.
Bottom line: The organizers are driving away the crazy cricket lovers to become just another cricket follower. I don’t know if the powerhouse will be the powerhouse anymore.

Cricket Lover

1 comment:

  1. ODI format is counting its days. Post T20, i feel very boring watching an ODI even on TV. people are watching the first and last 10 overs of an innings, which is again like T20. the empty stands of ENG-SA at chennai is a clear picture for ODI's fate.

    No one is willing to pay extra and waste time as well. - Jayaraman


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