How cricket’s ‘Windies Visionary’ highlights the sport’s growing influence in India

Written by By Susan Lindauer , CNN There are many stages of cricket’s development, says ‘Windies Visionary,’ the director of cricketing history at Indus Himalaya Academy Like any cultural product, cricket can be credited…

How cricket's ‘Windies Visionary’ highlights the sport’s growing influence in India

Written by By Susan Lindauer , CNN

There are many stages of cricket’s development, says ‘Windies Visionary,’ the director of cricketing history at Indus Himalaya Academy

Like any cultural product, cricket can be credited for its past but it is also seen to have endless shades of present and the past.

Organized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the team India is synonymous with a balance of power and skill amongst cricket’s leading nations. Although India has a predominately urban population, the country’s top cricketers don’t just play in the Indian Premier League — they have, in fact, played in the world’s top tier and international events.

The country also produces hundreds of potential cricketers who are inducted into India’s domestic leagues. “The tradition of playing cricket for India goes back hundreds of years and through the centuries, generations of players have gone on to represent the country,” says G. Venkat Rao, another India cricket historian.

“I would like to think that the difference between the IPL and the World Cup is that IPL is an attempt to pick the cream of Indian cricketers, while the World Cup is a lot more inclusive,” Rao says.

Also, with the qualification from the IPL, over a 150 players are available for selection. That is far more than just over the decades. While IPL players may travel and practice with the national team, in the past, only the best foreign-born players were picked.

India, the country of cricket, could not win any of its three group matches at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Credit: Justin Marceau/REX/Shutterstock

“I think the World Cup is more inclusive, more democratic, and more open,” Rao says. “I don’t think I understand the intent of those who did not make the World Cup side, or maybe they did but were not seen to be good enough.

“What bothers me is that if India had won all its group matches I would have been confident it would have got a favourable result,” Rao says.

Rao adds that he does not think the country’s players do well in the World Cup, due to two reasons. The first is that the players play in a different format of the game, while the second, he says, is that IPL matches are more attractive to viewers.

Predicting the future

“Many would feel the IPL matches give the players more satisfaction,” Rao says.

“Indian cricketers have not made it big in the IPL as a result of this,” he says. “They love to win, which is why they have worked so hard to keep on achieving success in the domestic leagues.”

Venkat Rao, director of cricketing history, writes about IPL life — which Rao believes is also the reason most cricketers do not take part in the World Cup. Credit: AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

This explains the absence of a player like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the fearless Indian captain. Or Ishant Sharma, who can do some of the boggling shots that are normally reserved for their IPL colleagues.

The worlds of television and cinema give players plenty of time to do what they love and time to focus on raising their own profiles. “The Indian cricketers, who are relatively older, are in the habit of moving on from the IPL and they rarely continue with it after they return,” Rao says.

“I think it is also a factor that I often hear from cricketers who don’t play in the IPL that once the IPL is over, it is not as lucrative,” Rao adds.

Television exposure is, of course, a constant influence. “In fact, cricket is one of the only sporting activities in India that is gaining popularity among the youth,” Rao says. “But, in India, even though cricketing stars are far from a complete package, they have struggled to make it in the international scene.”

Leave a Comment