ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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It's Just Not Cricket !

As modern-day cricket has now attained the frenzied status of mass mania in India, purists have begun to flock to other sports.

For sports lovers in India who claim to be “purists”, these are indeed strange times. An amorphous grouping among those who follow sports, they are distinct from the other conventional categories: those who participate in sports as professionals; those who are casually attracted to sporting activities as a pastime, and those who consider sports as mere entertainment or leisure. Like art lovers, purist connoisseurs of sports are obsessed with quality, and fancy themselves as vicarious participants in the games they follow as spectators or as amateur participants.

The evolution of cricket into a popular sport in India has placed the purist in an uncomfortable state of mind. While all three forms of cricket – the advanced, more rigorous but “slow”, test cricket; the still popular one-day cricket; and the fast-paced Twenty 20 (T20) version – are patronised by the Indian cricket board, it is the last version that has generated the most enthusiasm and popular support. Packaged mostly as entertainment with a lot of sideshows – “cheerleading”, celebrity marketing, and elaborate commercialisation – the T20 version, particularly its marquee tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), has created a frenzy among the Indian public. Despite the innumerable controversies surrounding it, such as match-fixing and corruption, fans of the IPL have remained rather faithfully glued to their television sets or have continued to patronise the tournament by flocking in thousands to the stadia for the matches.

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