A pall of gloom descended on the whole Nation In the wake of India’s loss in the T20 world cup match against New Zealand at Dubai on Sunday. This defeat is being treated as a national catastrophe. People simply forget that cricket is a sport and like in any other sport victory or defeat is part of the game.
Cricket is being treated as a holy cow. A stray incident of support to a rival team by some disgruntled elements is enough to attract no less than a sedition charge!
Unfortunately, the Nation’s cricket obsession overshadowed all other sports. Some examples are hockey and kabaddi. Even after winning the Kabaddi championship, the team did not get proper reception while the Cricket team gets a hero’s welcome every time it wins matches abroad.
Cricket has also marginalized Hockey. While the nation lives, sleeps and talks cricket it has forgotten Hockey. Everyone knows that hockey is our national game but still cricket is in the limelight across the country.
No one remembers the all-time hockey greats like Dhyanchand, Balbir Singh Sr, Mohammed Shahid, Zafar Iqbal, Dhananjay Pillay, and P R Sreejesh.
Similarly, no one remembers Gagan Narang for his four gold medals for Shooting in the commonwealth games or Indian world champion Wrestler Sushil Kumar, Tennis star Leander Paes, Athlete Hima Das, or Boxer Mary Kom. But everyone remembers Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar’s multiple feats, Sehwag’s triple century, Dhoni’s winning six or Rohit Sharma’s double centuries.
Teenagers and children know the perfect rules for playing cricket but they do not even know the basics of other games.
India despite being the second most populated country in the world has a dismal showing at the Olympics and other international sports events.
There is a considerable disparity between cricket and other sports in the country. Hockey, a sport in which the country recorded a number of wins in International competitions, has dwindled greatly in popularity.
Hockey, our national game
India’s hockey team is the most successful team ever in the Olympics, having won eight gold medals in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964 and 1980. India also has the best overall performance in Olympic history with 83 victories out of the 134 matches played. They have also scored the most goals in the Olympics than any other team. They are also the only team to ever win the Olympics without conceding a single goal in 1928 and 1956.
The men in blues are also one of the most successful teams in Asia. They have won the Asian Games three times in the years 1966, 1998 and 2014. India came out on top in the Asia Cup in 2003, 2007 and in 2017. India has won 43 out of the 56 matches, the most by any team in the Asia Cup both in absolute and proportional terms. They are also the most successful team in the Asian Champions Trophy by winning the competition three times in 2011, 2016 and in 2018. In total, India has won 27 official international titles.
Indian football Team
Like Hockey, the Indian Football team too was considered, once, as one of the best in Asia. It had its golden era during the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, India won gold at the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games. The Indian Football team finished fourth at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
India became the first Asian nation to reach the semi-final of a FIFA organized major tournament. The team has also appeared four times in the AFC Asian Cup, Asia’s top football championship and finished as runners-up in 1964.
India also participates in the SAFF Championship, the top regional football competition in South Asia. They have won the tournament eight times since it began in 1993 and by doing so became the most successful team in the region.
Football in Hyderabad
Hyderabad was once a force to reckon with in football. It was in the early 1920s, football became popular in Hyderabad State with the due patronage from the ruling Nizam Mir Osman Ali and other noblemen. The Hyderabad Football Association was formed in 1939.
The most famous team to emerge from Hyderabad was the Hyderabad City Police who were also known as City Afghans – because the name was associated with the police force during the reign of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad football team had a series of achievements in the pre-Independence era. The first major success came in 1943 when the team won the Ashe Gold Cup final against Bangalore.
The club established its legendary performance on national level when it won the prestigious Durand Cup against Mohun Bagan. The cup was held after a break of 8 years and first time after Indian Independence.
The Hyderabad city police also won a total of 3 Durand Cups and Rovers Cup consistently for five years from 1950 to 1954 and the State League Championships for 11 consecutive years.
It was N. A. Fruvall who shaped the city police club in his captainship early from the 1940s and by 1950 the team was transformed into the national champions. In 1951 Syed Abdul Rahim took over as a coach and served until his death in 1963.
If the Indian Hockey, Football, wrestling, boxing, badminton and other sports get the kind of sponsorships, media coverage and TV viewership like cricket gets India as a sports nation can scale dizzy heights in all Asian and world championships.