Cheque de India!!!

Chalo readers, lets play a quiz, answer the following questions without looking into the newspapers or any search engine:

1. Who is the captain of Indian National Football team?
2. Who is the captain of Indian Women's Cricket team?
3. Who was the former captain of Indian Hockey Team?

Is it taking time for you to answer the above questions...chalo theek hain let me ask you the next surely know the answer for this question.


I bet you could answer the 4th question within 10 milliseconds, while it might have taken atleast 1 min to answer the first three questions. Why? Are'nt the other three games as important as Cricket (in this context only the men's cricket team)?

No, it's not your fault...even I did not know that Jhulan Goswami was the skipper of Indian Women's Cricket Team. It is the Sports Ministry and media that is to be blamed. It's cricket here, cricket there, cricket cricket everywhere (and again I am talking only about the men's cricket team). Nobody is bothered about the other games. Every other game is given step motherly treatment in our country, so much so that many of them believe that Cricket is our national game, when actually in reality it is Hockey. Our players are treated like beggars.

It was disgusting to see the way Hockey India was treating the players by first not paying their dues and then insulting them by announcing to the media that these talented players are more concerned about money than about their country. Tell me who on the earth would feel like participating in other games if this is how the Sports officials are going to treat the players? Luckily the President of IOA, Suresh Kalmadi has ensured that an amount of Rs 1 crore would be distributed among the players and thus succeeded in persuading the players to start their training for World Cup. But the question is, will the players really be paid or is this just yet another empty promise given to them...the pessimist within me believes that it is the latter.

When Abhinav Bindra won a gold medal in Olympics, he threw light upon the fact that getting sponsorship for any other games is very difficult and that it requires lot of lobbying. But if it's cricket, money comes pouring. Indian cricketers are so damn rich that every father in the country says that beta if you want to be a sportsman, then be a cricketer. The best instance is that of Yogesh Singh forcing his son Yuvraj Singh to give up skating and get into cricket. Though I admit that games like Tennis (thanks to Leander Paes, Sania Mirza etc) and Chess (thanks to Vishwanathan Anand) has gained momentum in our country, it is the relentless battle for sponsorers and the associated politics that according to me proves to be a hurdle for our bright players and withholds them from participating in International games.

It is high time that the Sports Ministry promotes other sports too and provides facilities for both professionals and the amateurs to get trained and participate in International games. Even media should try to generate interest among our young bacchalog.

Theek hain enough of my bhashan...I am logging off now. I pray that our Indian Hockey team does well in the World Cup and silences the Hockey India officials who questioned their Indianess. As our young team prepares for the game in Pune, I would like to dedicate this song to them...ENJOY!!!

All the best Hockey Team!!!


raMmY said...

I must admit a thing here- I could only answer one out of those three questions. That too because Baichung Bhutia is quite famous.
There is complete truth in what you say and your angst is rightly justified. But the question here is, hasn't this been a perennial problem? The fact that Indian Cricketers (men) are given unseen importance than any other sports person in bharat desh (or for that matter anywhere else!) is not new. There was a rebellion like this one when dhanraj pillai was playing also. Again, the IHF did a cover up act and settled the dust for then. As usual, it was back to square one after that. So the question is what really is going wrong? In my opinion, there are 3 fold reasons for this:

(1)Failure to Market the sport: It is true that the sports ministry has every duty to encourage talent in all the sports (especially the national game). But with so many diverse sports in India (and still we are not world champs in any - that’s again another debatable issue) it is near impossible for the ministry to run all of them itself. The associations/federations are created precisely for this purpose. It is upto the federations to market the game well, make it reach to the young and old of the country and create interest amongst the people (Indian cricket is the most prime example – it’s all awesome marketing). Only when there is a considerable viewer base for any product, any sponsor would be willing to invest in the sport and the sportspersons. So the IHF should devise creative tournaments and other merchandise to take the game to the grass root level, thereby allowing the probable investor to see the ROI for their money.

(2)Change in janta’s mindset: It is after all the customer who decides the fate of the product, so the mango people of the country should learn to appreciate talent and sports in an unbiased manner. Parents should encourage children to choose the sport according to the children’s will and not the “selling value” of the sport. Remember – sport comes first Money Later!

(3) Performance: No matter what the odds are, the teams must show signs of improvement over period of time. Only then will people be ready to see or follow the sport. If the facilities are substandard, the teams should try extra hard and show to the people and authorities that they are putting in their effort (win some games!) to garner support from them. Only then will the corporate houses want to invest booty in them – after all its all about ROI!! How often have we seen Indian hockey winning some tournaments? Wasn’t tennis also oblivious till Leander peas scored to glory in Atlanta? Hasn’t that aroused interest in common folk about tennis? Hasn’t the consistent good show of Indian cricket helped attract big money? A great rejuvenation will need a spirit exhibition of talent. So I wish that this time the hockey team does great and continue to do good job over a point of time.
All of these events happening simultaneously will create healthy environment for any sport to grow.
I wish we see better days in Indian Hockey! Go India Go!!

P.S: sorry, mera comment tere post se bada ho gaya!!! Couldn’t help it!

Uncommon Sense said...

i actually dont know who is the captain of mens cricket team, neither do i know others

Tarun Mitra said...

Nothing unusual about it...and why only ministry is to be blamed..any idea about any regional Football tournament going around in Delhi...Or Beighton Cup (a hockey tournament) is more than 110 years old...We the people in our daily lives only concerned with one sport and that too the senior men team....U 19 World Cup is going around in NZ matches being telecast live any idea...negative answer would be in most of the cases....
Supply of good sports is there but where is demand..Can anyone amongst us commit to more than one sports..and demand channels to show them ... there is no demand whatsoever...

soin said...

there is a small group like us who knew the answers.. when our state tn played in the inter state football tournament,we went and cheered.when the indian hockey league came to chennai(entry free),we went and saw it.every where people who sat with us were old,well versed in that sport ,small numbered is our present set of people who dont respect these forms of sport.the older gen did really

Abhinav said...

Yeah.. the situation of all other sports other than cricket is pathetic.. Boxing for instance won us medals in almost every international tournaments recently..

But for popularity of cricket, we shudn't blame the officials only. Yes. they are guilty but the infrastructure needed to play cricket is less than that needed for Hockey. You need 22 sticks and a ball for Hockey and u need just 1 bat and a ball for cricket.. :) Survival of the fittest is the name of the game but still... govt. never did what it cud hv done to save other great sports...

Anyone knows how to plaY Kho Kho, Kabbaaddi and Gilli Danda here?

The Layman said...

Nice post Gayathri ..
It was sad seeing hocley players being made to look like beggars. If we feel like shit for their state, how must they be feeling!

moonlite:D said...

You are so right! Gayathri,,,
The sports, esp cricket has been termed as a cash cow ,, be in inter. cric for a year, earn enuf money in endorsements, and be happy for the rest of ur life.. where is indianness there???
these cricketers are out to sell, biscuits, oil, shirt, bike,, and all possible stuff,,, what are they?? not beggers?

Moulin said...

Well Rammy is absolutely correct and his ideas should help 'non cricket sports' grow in India. An example that comes to my mind is of the UK, sports hub. There's a terrific viewer base in UK for all major sports..Soccer, cricket, tennis, F1 and horse racing. Now compare this with UK's national teams. Despite cricket being invented by the Britons they have never won the WC. London's southern suburb hosts Wimbledon every year but they do not have a single English champion..even making it to semis seems like a dream. The football team hardly gets together but we all proudly flash Manchester United jerseys. The way it is marketed we get drawn into it. Cricket is so popular despite being such a long sport (8hrs) because it has produced stars, results and has been made so easily available. Modi pays 3 crores as tax. Non ckt administrators should quit from their posts for failing miserably. An Indian beating a Chinese in Badminton may not be as glamorous as Yuvraj hitting a six but I am sure everyone will be proud once you the tri colour being hoist.

rahul s said...

Very much the open truth.
I was a hockey player of college level and an avid foot ball fan.Even in our college the situvation was not much different.

basically,for the development of other sports,it should start from we people itself.

no one is intersted in watching Indian football or Indian hockey or Womens Indian cricket team.

then Y will media waste time reperting news on it .Cos now a days,media is also a business. :-(.

Well its an issue which is deeper than wat i have point out.And so is the solutions.

We can learn from austrailians regarding sports culture..

Insignia said...

Nice one Gayathri,

Most of the points that I wanted to say hss been said by readers here. Media - obvious...why even talk about them? They would go where the fodder is.

Attitude must change, all sports must be treated equally.

hitch writer said...

I did know about Jhulan Goswami... but not the other two...

and I am a self proclaimed sports enthusiast... :(

but seriously... the boards of hockey, football etc are so filthy that they make BCCI seem much better... !

Thank God for Abhinav.. who stood up... but he can do that coz he is a well to do guy in real life... a lot of other players just put up... coz they want to survive...

I am completely with the hockey teams too...

plus when and where does anyone play for these board officials ?? huh ?? its the player who generate revenue... !

Its at such deplorable times BCCI actually looks a better body !

HaRy!! said...

seriously i'd blame Kapil dev for winning the world cup...ok just kidding in a Nation like ours where everything in a international acclaim bcoms famous...there is so much hype and boy we lost our true sport :(...kudos to Soin!

blunt edges said...

didn't know the answers 2 the first 3 qsns! n even though i read the answers 2 one of them in your post, i have forgotten it again!

all the best 2 the hockey team...but i still like cricket! :¦

Parikshith Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Parikshith Kumar said...

1. Who is the captain of Indian National Football team?

Answer: Ramesh Shyamjilal Tiwari

2. 2. Who is the captain of Indian Women's Cricket team?

Answer: Kiran Bedi. But I think she retired now.

3. Who was the former captain of Indian Hockey Team?

Answer: Foonsookh Wangdoo.

Next time, please don't ask trivial questions that insult my intelligence :P

Good post. An oft-argued topic in India, but Rammy's comment summed up the response I had in mind.

Well ji, I hope the hockey team wins the World Cup and roshan your name ji!!

A S said...

hiii G3

very relevent topic... its a national shame the way our hockey team is being treated but the govt. is as shameless as ever... its a slap on the face of the government that the hockey team is even ready to pay on their own expenses, just look at their passion for the game yaar!

Quest said...

It echoed my thoughts :)

Do you know that BCCI has an other sports upliftment program where they DONATE some crores (not crossing double digits) from their over 4 digit crores as profit every year. They are registered as a charitable society and has got tax benefits and are going to fight a case against IT dept for giving them a notice to pay more tax for indulging in commercial activities and they don't represent India as you must have read some years back as one of their arguments for some issue that cropped up with the sports ministry regarding cricket tours.

Sorcerer said...

taking a cue from a hollywood movie
"you had me at your blogpost title"

I dont know why the authorities are ignoring a sport thats considered our national game.

Haddock said...

.....and thats one of the reasons I hate cricket.
My post "and that's cricket for you" explains it.

Anonymous said...

I blame the media here more than anyone else. I guess its been more than a decade now that cricket occupies 80% of the first sports page of almost every national newspaper in the country. Every other sport news is put on the back pages and here again the coverage is very little in terms of content. Most of the journos in the country are reluctant to attend press conferences of other sports because they feel there's nothing happening in those sports and that explains it all.

This scenario is never going to change unless teams of other sports create history or miracles like winning coveted trophies such as Hockey World Cup or say if Indian Men's Football Team qualifies for the FIFA World Cup (something which is highly improbable). I guess the other teams need to pull up their socks and start competing with the world. Till then, we'll see more of such articles.

Sid said...

Did you notice that the sports ministry had nothing to say during the entire fiasco? The problem lies in the fact that we have cricket all year round...maybe we should start moving towards the US model, where other sports hv a set season in the year.
Think about every friday nite we hv a hockey nite...m sure many will follow it. Sports nowadays just needs marketing, its time the sports ministry starts doing it.

Anonymous said...

@ Sid

Its not possible to follow the US market in India because of the fact that there is practically no audience for other sports apart from Football (which is again primarily in Kolkata & Goa) in India. In the U.S., there's an audience for every game, be it Basketball, Football, Tennis and so on and so forth. Until & Unless the sports bureaus of national media houses take keen interest in other sports and start covering it and also until, those very teams start competing with the world, you wont see any success for other sports in our country.

Bikram said...

Hmm I completely agree with you on this , I will not say i hate cricket But i hate the media frenzy and the people frenzy it carries with itself..

And i knew one answer other then Q4, i think it Sandeep singh who is the captain.. now dont shoot me if i was wrong.. :)

The Indian govt will have to do something really soon else we will loose all these sports, I am a big big fan of hockey, been playing it for ages now .. ITs a lovely game..

THe problem is the Committee the IHF.. and its members they should be brought to the book, recently the way they treated the sportsmen, I mean if they did not have money for the players why the hell do they want the World cup to be in India, just to fill in there own pockets with the amount of money they shall make with Advertisements and Sponsorships.

Everyone is looking at there own pocket, no one is concerned of the game as such.

A good article and some lovely comments toooo.

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Vinod R Iyer said...

I think more than the netas the corporates can do their bit to promote the other games. And by promote, I dont just mean funding them. Marketing plays an important role.

One of my friends just told me that in Coorg the sport of hockey is so famous that 300 teams turn up every year for an annual event !Still we do not know who the captain of the Indian hockey team is ! Sad..

Nice post

Anna said...

Oh my I don't know anything then, lol. Anna :)

The unsure ascetic said...

very important topic there.It is a real shame that 99.5 percent of us would not know the answers.We must realise that when Sachin tendulkar appears on the front page of TOI it is not because of his genius or his persona( the media is not that philanthropic, infact no one is). It is the corporate ploy to market their products that he endorses. No one does anything out of sheer passion or unconditional love. If anything it is the people of India who should make sure to follow other sports and show personal support. Writing to them or turning up to see them perform would be a nice way to encourage them. No one can stop people power. Then again it is the mindset of ppl which would further stop it from being too ideal and nice. Have you heard of pirated movies??

scarlet pimpernel said...

gr8 bhashan !!
so much for abhinav throwing light on the pathetic nrai.. they are now dentying him the chance to compete

Sam said...

You write gal! What you've said is true. And I totally agree with this Rammy guy/gal(??)...

Scattered Thoughts... said...

oops.. where is the writer herself? hope you have not been kidnapped by sports officers. Give us some whereabouts Gayatri.. we are worried :)

BTW, I think we should go in some background as well.. I am sure it was not like that from day 1.. there must have been some reason why Cricket gained popularity and other sports got sidelined. Probably success rate and performance are the words? One need to perform to be noticed, be it a corporate office or sports or a school. You said Chess and Tennis has got momentum but why is that? Coz some one performed in there and so is with Cricket. Not always but far more than hockey and football teams..

ABHISHEK SiM said...

the only thing that i can think of is:

past 50 years, we are still English donkeys!

I loved the narration :)