GD Monday – “Why does India do well only at cricket?” – Week 4

Here’s how the discussion on capital punishment for convicted rapists went. To view all the discussions in our ‘GD Monday’ series, click here. You can share your views on the topic in the comments section.. (All the comments/views in the discussion are being rated on a scale of 10 by our experts, along with an explanation)

We are keeping things deceptively simple this week.. Olympic medal winners from other sports are lauded & applauded. Indian hockey & football never get the attention they deserve. Be it batting, bowling, fielding, commentary, opinions on the sport, journalism related to the sport, retirements & all the jazz about cricket – ever wondered why India does so well? Or, does it? Hah!

This is how it will work :

1) Users can post their arguments or views using their Twitter/Wordpress/OpenID accounts in the comments section below.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week.

3) The thread will be moderated by Prerna Lalwani a.k.a Peru to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM,XLRI,ISB only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.

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India has a vast pool of talented teenagers who excel in all kinds of sports. But very few of them actually choose to make the sport they excel in as a profession. One of the major reasons for this is economic consideration. Sports in the past never enjoyed a monetary advantage. Indians have had their days in all kinds of sports from hockey, tennis, chess, golf, boxing and even Olympics. But these performances in numbers are in no way in proportion to a country with close to 17% of world population. The reason that our country's performance has convincingly improved in the last decade is because cricket as a profession has started to make economic sense. Gone are the times when selecting even playing 11 was difficult, today selectors have a hard time to choose a squad of 16 because of the multitude of options. Indian Cricket today has been successful to leverage it's popularity but other sports in future would be able to follow the same. Cricket today enjoys the advantage of first move but it's too soon to attribute as the only sport where India does well.


Hi Pankaj. What will get you brownie points is that you mention interesting statistics such as India has 17% of world's population. In the rest of your commentary, you have made the point about "economic considerations driving choice of career" Now that's the most obvious point that many would mention. Please think what beyond this?

Abhishek Arun Dash

India is a country where we love to follow a god-like figure. That's what happened with cricket also. Emergence of cricketing gods like Kapil Dev and Ravi Sharti created some inclination toward the game; the table was totally turned with the advent of a certain person named SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR. Fifty per cent of Indians still follow the game because of this man only. As result of this follow the advertising industry has left no stone un turned to tap in this popularity and fame; in turn making cricketers household names overnight. Creating god like figure at international level is something where other sports have failed in this world of commercialism.


Hi Abhishek, I am not sure where you are going with this thought of "superhero of cricket" syndrome. And your last comment on "commercialism" will reveal that you are slightly critical of the modern world. A deeper thought or some other angle would be useful. Cheers. Sorry I had to write this but my job is to provide "honest feedback"


Cricket is one of those sports where individual performances stand out more vis-a-vis the collective team effort when compared to other popular sports such as football. Much like all the other areas, whether it be academics or arts, Indians have a greater tendency to judge a person based on his/her achievements and career statistics. And cricket plays right into this tendency. Also, cricket with all the time delay between each ball bowled and the opportunity for players to stand still for a major part of the match, requires much lesser physical effort when compared to most other sports and this bodes well with the relatively humble physical build of most Indians compared to sportsmen from western nations. This is one of the major reasons why there are few good Indians representing football, a sport where quite a bit of brute strength is necessary for surviving on the field, even though interest in this sport is not all that low.


Two interesting thoughts here. one on the cultural context and second on the genetic build of indians. Good! A few more suggestions for you….Apart from Anand, why don't we have many achievers in Chess. Not too any winners at individual sports such as badminton, table tennis, athletics, etc 🙂

vipin singh

I think the inclination towards cricket could also be attributed to the lack of infrastructure and facilities for other sports in the schools and colleges.To play cricket you just need a bat and ball,but to play hockey everyone needs a stick and moreover very decent ground to play in,same is the case with other sports like Boxing which needs a proper diet management which an average Indian Could hardly afford.Also the career prospects in other sports are very bleak we do not have things like IPl in other sports which ensures that even if a player can't get to the national team he could earn name n fame while playing in the league.Cricket is glamourised in the media which no other sport can match,naturally youngsters get fascinated with the stardom and glamour cricket Promises them to offer.

Unknown Celebrity

I would like to point out the motivation factor to youngsters. There is so less motivation from the parents, schools, colleges for a child to be able to look up to a sport as a profession. Sports infrastructure plays a key role in this as well. Most schools/colleges/communities don't have a playground or even if they do, they don't provide proper facilities/instructors/trainers to train a child to compete on a National or International level. Every parent wants his child to be an IITian or, if in sports, to be a Sachin. The glamourisation and economic stability cricket offers to a budding sportsman is a huge w.r.t other sports in India.


hieee. I am afraid, I dont see anything new here except for this time looking at it from the parents' angle. we need something new that has not been mentioned before.


The funny thing about that is India does not do particularly well in cricket, either. The main thing is that India has only won two cricket world cups since its inception and occasionally does well in the 20-20 format, which is contrived to cater to an impatient audience. India, in fact, does not do well in any sports at all, and that is because of the skewed priorities of the Sports Department as well as other Government bodies. To do well in a particular field, there has to be an atmosphere conducive to growth, without worrying about weather it is popular with the common people or not. A sport will only be popular if we perform well in a global arena, and for that, incentive and encouragement is required. Sadly, the only incentive which is given to youngsters are in regards to cricket and the media as well as other outlets continue to build unrealistic expectations amongst today's youth about the only sport in which India sometimes does well than the 5 other countries it competes with.


hieee. I am afraid, I dont see anything new here except for this time the criticism of official bodies. something new???????? and request you that in ctual GD you will not sound as if you are frustrated at this situation of sports 🙂


Cricket is given a lot of importance in the country, right from primary school children to media channels. It is because people in India are emotionally chained to the game. They praise the players when they perform well and burn their effigies when they fail. The media plays an important role in promoting the game. and of course, with IPL, the game went on to become the most popular game in the country with the cine field celebrity attention. Also, cricket is easily accessible to kids in the country. you can see kids all over the place playing cricket with makeshift bats and the rules are pretty easy to understand.

Whereas no one even bothers about the other sports in the country. It is because the performers in football and hockey and other games are not sensationalized. There are not enough sponsors and the players don't get due attention. Even the respective sports commission doesn't help in promoting the game.

finally, yes. with due respect to the cricketers who have won us the world cup, performing well ( though not consistently) and having popular players does make everyone crazy over the game, including me.

Pooja P

Cricket in India is glamorized. We have grown up watching cricket. It gets so much media coverage plus the money involved is too high. Look at Olympics winners. They may have received medals but seeing financially those sports are not as attractive. The sportsmen spend so much money in training so atleast once they start winning they want to earn money to support their family which is not possible in India.
The only solution to this is government initiatives such as scholarships, proper training institutes, movies based on other sports like chak de india. These things make people aware that those career choices are also open for them.


I would like to disagree with the topic.In recent times emerging
talents in other sports like badminton and boxing have come forward.Though these sports attract lesser limelight than cricket,people in these sports have been faring quite well and are making a mark for themselves by winning medals and recognition on the international stage.In contrast the Indian cricket team's performance in the recent days has been below par and excessive media attention and intervention can be one of the reasons for the recent failures as it creates high amounts of pressure to continuously perform.All the hoopla created around the adrenaline-rushing cricketing formats is now fading away,as people are unable to recover the high initial input costs that went into the games for marketing and other purposes.On the other hand sports persons from other sports have been seen endorsing many brands and also featuring in higher number of advertisements these days.This is because their endorsement charges are lesser when compared to their cricketing counter parts.Also in many of these single player games the fame for success is higher when compared to a team game like cricket when considering fame per person as a measure.Clearly there has been a shift of attention,though a small one,in recognizing the achievements of people from other sports and hence encouraging other youngsters to join these lesser famous sports.


As stated by Sarat88 , Cricket is a game which is in tune with the physical build of Indians.. One other sport which India is good at is Chess.It is a game which is well suited for the capabilities of Indians. But the fact remains that the only popular sport which interests the masses is cricket. Another reason why others sports are not popular, as pointed out by many in the group is because of the lack of opportunities to pursue other sports right from a young age. Take for instance the example of Mary Kom who won a bronze medal in women's fly weight boxing, she had started training as a boxer around the age of 17. Compare this with the other medal winners who had started training right from the age of 12. Had Mary Kom started training then, maybe she would have won the gold !


There are many people who take up boxing,or rather any other sport,at a very young age but are unable to make it big in the sport.I completely agree,that people within these neglected sports face financial difficulties in some stage of their lives,but sports is not similar to a business where sports persons can be ultra rich,rather it's similar to art which requires complete focus and utmost determination to gain skill.As for fame,we Indians are fickle minded and our attention and views towards these people changes very fast.That is why in India,fame,especially in sports,cannot be a criteria of judgement as it is very short term in nature.Rather the long term successes of these people should have a higher importance in our minds and also we should give them a chance when they are unable to perform well.


interesting data point about mary kom. you started about physical build and chess then what happened. the discussion would have been good had you stuck to "other sports" and not come back to cricket.

Ankit Hamirwasia

The topic, as can be sensed, is an absolute one and so if we can disprove even one part of the topic, the disagreement can stand. In recent times we have seen significant progress in other sports as well. We cant forget Leander Paes, Vishwanathan Anand, Baichung Bhutia, Saina Nehwal and countless others who have made it big. I agree that cricket is one of the most popular sports in India but that doesn't mean that the country is doing well "ONLY" in that sport. Cricketers maybe respected more than other sportsman, they may even earn more money and fame, etc as spoken by many above, but that is not what the topic states. Doing well at a sport cannot be measured by any of these factors. The true measure would be the accolades on, and in that respect India has on many medals and trophies in other sports as well.


Hi Ankit, dont be in such a hurry to prove or disprove. let it be examined well, I say :). Good to mention non cricket sports celebrities but that does not tell us why, what can be done etc. And give some numbers to prove your point of how many trophies etc. I am not sure many would agree with your point of view.

Ankit Hamirwasia

LAST LINE OF PREVIOUS COMMENT(TYPO) : The true measure would be the accolades won, and in that respect India has won many medals and trophies in other sports as well.

Ansuman Mishra

When we speak "why India does so well at cricket"?? we certainly can't dismiss the very irony that we have never been consistently the best at the sport, with just 2 world cups to the kitty of accolades and an irregular graph of persistent ups and downs. What we have been really good is at glamourising the game, with big brands associating themselves with the sport , this sport has efficiently reached every single household and nook and corner of the nation, this in turn has certainly motivated people to take cricketing as one serious career option and devote themselves to it whole heartedly, because the game gives them fame ,money and caters to their passion too. Parents even pomote this partly by inclining their sports frenzy kids towards the game, because they understand if not academics then cricket can only give them the spotlight, or atleast save them from being lost in this madding crowd. In a country that harbours billions we donot even stand close to the smallest countries that never even stay in the news on other occasions, when it comes to olympics medal tally. If Sachin Tendulkar is an idol(owing to all those ebullient contributions he has made to the game of cricket) so can be PT Usha, V Anand, Dhyanchand and the list is countless. All we need is a revamp to our thougth process and external motivation in temrs of publicity is a must, its only when we project and promote our sports well we can certainly have a bunch of spirited players who can take us to the pinnacle, be it any sports.


I would have been happy to read some thoughts on following areas
1. Government jobs for parents and sports personalities themselves. and govt jobs that pay well.
2. private public partnership in developing sports infrastructures for non cricket sports

…….and many more thoughts different from above


Among the many things missed out by the participants here :

1) Comparison with other countries like China and South Korea. Why do they win so many medals and also do well in variety of team sports?
2) Are other sports in India run well? Quality of Administrations and Federations is important.
3) On the commercial side, Cricket is an ad-friendly sport. There are breaks between overs for ads. Is it also a reason why so much money is pumped into the sport in India at grass roots?
4) What about Sports Budgets? Is the government to blame?
5) Grassroot level sports encouragement. There seems to be a shift. Why are Man United, Liverpool and Barcelona setting up academies in India? How much is the private sector to blame? Research on Mahindra's sports initiatives.


If we look at the career time span of any sport its at max. till 35-40 years of age. Unlike other sports where the career comes to halt for everyone after that except for top few in their respective sport , Cricket offers a wide variety of options which are there for the sportsmen to pursue after that as coaching institutes, commentators, Analytics etc. Also the compensation which cricketers receive is much higher compared to any other sport in India. Opportunities to perform & get noticed are huge & so are the returns which encourage both sportsmen & private sector to invest in it. In other sports like tennis, hockey , Swimming initial investment is quite high.
However the sad part is that in the Country where cricket is followed as a religion , women's cricket is something which no-one talks about . Returns are not even worth motivating even if you are a top performer .

Lakshmi Rajagopalan

In cricket, we have attained some glory. Even if it is only 2 WCs, we have won many series. We quite often are among the top performing countries in the world.
However, if we look at the Olympics, India's medal count will be a meagre 5 or 6. It is nowhere compared to our neighbor China or the US or GB. Inspite of this, the athletes who have brought home medals, are recognized and they also get their share of fame. The govt. encourages "these" performers in their subsequent matches.
The fan-base is most imp. for any sport. Since collectively, our Olympic performance is not good, we dont have the whole nation watching it. So no sponsors to bring these athletes to limelight. The govt. too doesnt spend much on the training and development of these sports. And as a result we dont churn out many top performers in these sports.
There was also one person who asked why women's cricket isn't getting any recognition in India? I feel that it isn't recognized in any country. People(including the female audience) watch women play only for the elegance. And that is why we watch Sania playing tennis or Saina playing
badminton(swinging their racquets like ballet dancers) and not cricket(which portrays macho and not elegance) . And that is also why Sharapova always gets the center court and not Serena despite her being the best player.


I think unlike other sports, cricket in india has produced so many maestros like sachin,kapildev,sunil gavaskar,dhoni.The list is endless .BCCI ,The worlds richest cricketing board has conduced to a certain extent which pays rich dividends to our players.Recognising the talent ant acknowledging it in the monetary form that's what BCCI does.Though other sporting bodies does the same but for many reasons they are not even close to compete with crickets reputation.But, there are times when cricket has let us down and many sports at the international level has made our tri colours fly high in the sky.This should be kept in our mind and elevating cricket to a much higher level should stop.Most of the youngsters today chose cricket as their career just because they can succeed in their life by playing ipl or any other ranji matches which othr sports fail to provide such sort of oppurtunities.It's time that sports authority of india comes up with a solution to maintain equilibrium among all the sports.

Jason Drumm

when compared to other popular sports such as football. Much like all the other areas, whether it be academics or arts, Indians have a greater tendency to judge a person based on his/her achievements and career statistics

Shubham Gupta

Well according to me, Cricket as a sport has always done well. Although the national game of India is not cricket but it has always been the best in India among the people also. This is because of some famous cricket personalities Cricket has done its best in sports.Namely, kapil dev, sunil gavaskar, The god of cricket: Sachine Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid , saurav ganguly and many more. Due to these personalities even the small kids do not miss the cricket and some of them make it as there profession.
One reason of India doing only good in Cricket is that thereis no support from the government or even from the parents like in case of Mary Kom to play in other sports ex: boxing, badminton.
Some people are born to play cricket only ex: Sachine tendulkar. And when these kind of people are in cricket then how can it be bad??


well friends It is right to say that India has done decent in cricket we have won cricket world cup twice 1983 and 2011 but at the same time there are games where we have done good job too like we have won hockey world cup 1975 and in chess we have Vishvanathan Anand who was undisputed champion from 2007 to 2013, we have Leander paes in loan tennis who have won 15 career grand slam we have Saina Nehwal in badminton who won world junior champion ship so it is not only cricket where we have excelled and earned accolades the reason why we still believe that india has excelled only in cricket or will do so only in this because of the add friendly format of cricket where we have add after every over,after every wicket fall and at other numerous moments during the progress of game that gives the advantage to the game that brings the sponsors and glamour in the game and to bring the same thing in other sports we need to have events like IPL in other games too where player all around the world comes and performs and raise the bar of game attract the media attentio also our government should should provide the job securities to the players who are doing good and earning trophies for India there should be public private partnership in the boards of these game so that infrastructure of these game also improve funding is also improve by doing this we can bring the awareness and encouragement in the common people regarding the achievements and progress in these games by doing this i thing we can bring the equilibrium among all the sports in India and can vanish the myth that we are good in cricket only.