Football will overtake Cricket in India – Debate – Semifinal #2 – IIFT vs IIM Ranchi

The semifinals got off to a roaring start yesterday with a rollicking debate between IIM Lucknow and IIM Trichy. Read that debate here. It is now time to get the second semifinal underway. This one is a battle between North and East. IIFT Delhi and IIM Ranchi will exchange blows in the second semifinal.

The topic for the debate is given below

Football will overtake cricket in India

IIFT Delhi will argue FOR the motion.

IIM Ranchi will argue AGAINST the motion.

The opening arguments of both teams are presented below. You can also read them here and here. This is a Live Debate and the debate will continue in the comments section of this article. The audience is also encouraged to participate in the debate. This debate will be live until 12:00 noon on Monday 8th September 2014.

IIFT Delhi – Arguing FOR the Motion

The Indian tango with Football

Before we kick things off, let me shoot with a few statistics which really make the rest of this article rather complementary.

The Football World Cup –
2002 – 34 million Indian viewers
2006 – 50 million Indian viewers
2010 – 63 million Indian viewers

2014 -160 million Indian viewers.Indian viewers for Cricket were 200 million, for the recored.

We’d say more, but you can do the math. Football isn’t just growing, it’s exploding in India. Cricket might pull off all the “reinvention” it wants, but the fact that Its need reinvention so bad is its veru death knell. The facts are right here. Cricket may yet have a larger base, but it’s a somplyammter of time at the break neck pace of football.

A look at historical data further would show that this gap is narrowing down every passing minute. Because every passing minute a person in India is discovering a new Football player, a new club and is following it religiously. The revolution which started in the states of West Bengal, Kerala and Goa has now a contagion, spreading across the country. With the mushrooming of Manchester United cafes and apparel outlets in almost every major city of India, this phenomenon has captivated the Indian audience.

To a few hardliners who still might feel that football overtaking cricket is not possible, i have one word for you.

Hockey.

If India could have moved from hockey being its national sport(it still is) to cricket being its religion, then the transition to football is very much on the crowds.At this point i would like to point out the similar sporting revolution sweeping India.

Weren’t we the World Champions of Hockey? We were the Barcelona (Football analogy) , the Australia (Cricket analogy) of Hockey- 8 Gold medals, 1 Silver medal and 2 Bronze medals and still (STILL) we are the most successful Olympic Team ever! Then what went wrong? How and when did Cricket overtake it? Let us see…

–      1932 – First Test Match ever, which we (obviously) lost. Arguments over how the team was led.

–      1952- First ever Test Win, After 20 years of defeats (some humiliating) and controversies.

–     1960s referred to as Dark Ages of Indian Cricket, mostly due to off-field antics of fans.

So far, Hockey is the superior sport. The countrymen take pride in it, while Cricket is struggling to find its way. But 1964, often cited as ‘start of demise of Hockey’ doesn’t coincide with the gain in popularity of Cricket (which would be somewhere in 1980s). What happened all those years in between? That one and half decade? What happened is human nature! The game of Hockey changed, but the team’s policy didn’t. The Indian hockey lords were continuing in fool’s paradise, while international standards were going up. They took pride in ‘their’ way of playing – of their touch and superb body language. They failed to adapt to the game, their methods became obsolete and outdated.
Now roll on to 1980s- the decade that changed everything.

Indian hockey was on its way down. They stuck to their motto of ‘Grass is good. Synthetic pitch kills our artistic play.’

On the other hand in 1983, Indian won the Cricket World Cup. Following years saw emergence of some talented cricketers under the leadership of players like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. And a massive boost was handed was the World Cup that was held on home soils 1987 and 1996. And then there was the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, the dependable Rahul Dravid, SauravGanguly, AnilKumble and so on. The Indian fans had found a new sport to follow, new gods to worship. And the reasons were there, Hockey lost its way, and Cricket took advantage.

Now cricket, basically is in a similar postion. It’s a colonial hangover, that more an advertising extravaganza than a real sport. Breaks at the drop of a hat. Check. Captive audience. Check. Langourous pace of play. Check.

Now football, is a purists game. It’s not called the joga bonito for no reason. Came rain, come snow come what may. The game goes on. One 15 minute break, and back to sheer flowing poetry. No wonder Indian’s are lapping it up, tired of a game that packs its kit every time the clouds as much as grumble. And don’t even get me started on the monstrosity called Duckworth Lewis. In addition to being the single greatest source of headaches since Navjot Singh Siddhu, it’s almost more comical than that ex-cricketer, how a game gets decided by planchette beating hocus-pocus. Football is of course for simpler people, people who find that a sport should ideally be decided by play, and not turn in to a statistical farce every time it as much as drizzles.

The thrill in it is all about the outcome of the match. So When it comes to sports, the best the audience can be offered is giving them live feeds, in addition to of course, actually giving them a real game.  Unlike watching a Game of thrones episode in India on a Monday morning before you rush off to your office and try to be the smartass giving spoilers to everybody, watching a sporting event after it has been telecast live is not thrilling at all. Hence, live broadcast is critical. All EPL matches are perfect prime time weekend watch. Fortunately the time zones match too and we as a country understand English.Also, the advent of the internet makes it easy for you to follow the sport. One can easily catchup on the missed matches, the hullabulla with giving a red card to a popular player or for that matter if someone wants to read an expert’s take, even that’s available. People start identifying with the club’s history by reliving it through the internet. Live broadcast on the internet makes sure you never miss a match even if you do not have a television at your disposal. Internet has been the key and most vital instrument in the league becoming even more popular in India. The increase in subscription model of revenue for TV/Internet will ensure high content quality.

If you take up any newspaper in India, you’ll often find that the top 3 newsblurbs featuring football and the news may involve something very intricate like the transfer of Ronaldo or Messi. This shows that not only are people taking interest in the game but it goes beyond the name dropping hero worship cricket inspires.

Manchester United, Barcelona, Arsenal and Liverpool all have academies for youngsters from ages 6 to 18 across big cities in India.  A lot of money has been pumped in and they are professionally run. It is a matter of time before India throws up its own Messi or Ronaldo. We need somebody who can capture the emotions of the 1.2 billion people.

Few months back ,we saw team auctions of a new football league in India (ISL)where celebrities and cricketers bought football franchisees for cities across India. Criketers like Sachin Tendulkar, SouravGanguly and Bollywood celebs likeRanbirKapoor among others own football clubs in the India Super League. This league is under the aegis of one of the biggest corporate in India- Reliance. This is a small step towards a bigger dream. This league is no games, mind you. It’s backed by IMG, one of the largest football talent firms in the world.Amongst others, MilindDeora a politician from Mahrashtra, runs a football competition for kids in South Bombay with the help of a few corporates.This is on the lines of famous celebrities in Europe and Latin American countries running such competitions.On the whole, people are already sensing a massive groundswell behind football, and All these developments are only to leverage the exponentially growing  football fan base in India.Sleeping giants India starting to wake up, says SeppBlatter, FIFA President. When the president of the global football body says this, it’s no longer children’s play.

Just a few days, I heard a huge ruckus down one the street. When I looked for the sources, there was an veritable army of blue clad youth, yelling out “The Blues go steaming in!”, replete with flyers, scarves and flags. Now this is isn’t London, home to Chelsea’s homeground, Stamford Bridge. This is Bangalore, where football is clearly marching on. You can happily choose to ignore the din, but the real question, how long before free long passes obliterate our colonial wickets?

If you really want to hear the groundswell, here is a photo of Rajib Roy. The son of a single mother Rajib,16, lives in the red light district of Kolkata, West Bengal, sharing a single-room home with his mother -a prostitute- and his brother. Only now, he is set to play football at Old Trafford after being spotted by talent scouts from Manchester United.

Football my friends, is the scrappy street wise lad who’s out with a chip on his shoulder, and a point to prove. And just like Rajib Roy, you can put every obstacle you can find in its path, but the beautiful game will dribble past you all the same. You can try and fight it, and go out on a hit-wicket, or accept the inevitable, and join the chorus.

References:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/page2/content/story/521987.html

http://www.quora.com/How-long-will-it-take-for-football-to-replace-cricket-as-the-major-sport-in-India

http://world-a-team.com/odi-50-over-cricket/10656-20-20-cricket-could-overtake-soccer-the-worlds-biggest-sport.html

 

IIM Ranchi – Arguing AGAINST the Motion

Football Will Not Overtake Cricket In India

Will Football overtake cricket in India?

Our hearts scream ‘YESSS’, but our minds say ‘No’!
Yours truly,
Adarsh (Tottenham Hotspur/Belgium) and Sayan (Barcelona/Argentina).

We are two of the most hardcore and passionate football fans you will ever get to meet. But, even we know when to accept the truth, however hard it may be to digest. Football is NEVER going to supplant Cricket in India.

1. Fanbase

It’s true that it is becoming increasingly ‘fashionable’ to support an international football club in many parts of India. A few years back, people were falling over themselves trying to board the Manchester United bandwagon. Now with post-Ferguson Man United being the subject of open ridicule, the same bunch of fans didn’t even think twice before hopping on to the flashier Chelsea ‘bus’.

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There are several thousand true football fans who have shed tears for their favourite sides. But, a major chunk of the football population in India will happily swap jerseys before you can say Jack Robinson. This will never deign to happen in cricket. Even if India gets whitewashed in a Test series in England or Australia, the unwavering support and devotion of the Indian fans will never change. There will be criticism aimed at the players, gleefully cooked up by the media of course. But, fans will not start rooting for Pakistan or Sri Lanka because of that.

So, unless there comes a day when a football player is worshipped by our country with the same fervour that is usually reserved for the likes of Sachin and Dhoni, the cricket fanbase will continue to dominate over the soccer fanbase.

Urban/Rural Divide (Fanbase):

Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crores live in rural areas while 37.7 crores stay in urban areas according to the Census of 2011. It is typical for the rural populace to connect and identify only with things closer to home and remain alienated to the international happenings. Now, football in India is a myriad concoction of a lacklustre national team and few regional teams with glorious ‘pasts’. If football has any craze among the general Indian population, then it is due to the swashbuckling dribbles and goals of international stars such as CR7, LM10 and the likes. Herein arrives the problem. With the myopic sports vision of rural India already stated, it is now an open secret as to where the future of football is headed in this country. The overwhelming media coverage of FIFA World Cups, EURO Cups and Champion Leagues merely scratch at the surface as they cater to the eyes and ears of mostly urban India. So, the next time you have a heated argument about a possible Renaissance in football with fellow passionate fans in a pub, just remember that you (urban India in this case) are merely the dregs of the wine barrel.

2. IPL vs ISL

India is playing host to a string of former ‘have-beens’ in the inaugural edition of Indian Super League (ISL). Former World Cup winners like Del Piero and Trezeguet are set to grace the competition.

Though it will be tempting to draw comparisons between ISL and its much richer elder cousin, IPL, it wouldn’t actually make much of a contest because ISL cannot possibly hope to repeat the financial success of the IPL. The ICC sanctioned cricket league has a talent pool of all the best players in the world and the franchise owners are so spoilt for choice that legends like Brett Lee and Mahela Jayawardane can be allowed to be remain unsold.

ISL, even with the lure of millions, cannot expect to draw the elite players. With the league scheduled to take place from October and December, the best the founders of ISL can expect is the participation of some recently retired players or some free agent looking to make some quick cash.

It is true that the presence of reputed players like Nicolas Anelka will be a huge motivation for our crop of youngsters. But, expecting the next Lionel Messi to emerge from Kerala Blasters or Delhi Dynamos is just wistful fantasy. It is NOT going to happen.

The lack of adequate youth development programs has been holding back Indian football for more than four decades now. Although the AIFF has tried to change that in the recent past by starting regional academies, the progress has been excruciatingly slow. The I-League clubs should also take much of the blame for this as most of them still don’t even have academies, with some clubs only assembling youth teams a few weeks before any tournament rather than running them throughout the year.

3. Infrastructure:

Another major problem in Indian football has been the continued absence of proper infrastructure. Even a club like Mohun Bagan, one of the oldest in Asia, doesn’t have a proper home ground. Most I-League venues are multi-purpose stadiums and need major refurbishments. A majority of the venues either belong to the state government or local municipalities, and not to the football clubs. It goes without saying then that they are not maintained properly and are frequently made available for public shows and concerts.

Cricket, on the other hand, can boast of state-of-the-art facilities even in Tier-II cities like Ranchi and Mohali. However, the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata (a metro) despite being the second largest stadium in the world is in a dilapidated state. So, football still has a lot of catching up to do.

4. No. 1 in ODI Rankings and No. 150 in FIFA Rankings

India is ranked at a lowly 150 in the latest FIFA Rankings. To put this into perspective, the puny nation of Maldives is ranked 5 places before us. It is hard to fathom how a nation of 1.2 Billion cannot even produce 11 footballers who can actually take our rankings to double digits. On the other hand, the same nation has managed to produce cricketers par excellence for decades. While it is unfair to compare the two rankings, owing to the insignificant number of cricket playing nations, the fact remains that Indian football is in the doldrums.

While the ‘Men in Blue’ can boast of three World Cups in their trophy cabinet, the best the other ‘Men in Blue’ can come up with is a paltry 4th place finish in the 1964 Olympics. The closest India came to the FIFA World Cup was in 1950 when they actually qualified for the event. But sadly enough, we blew the chance of a World Cup representation citing our inability to play with boots strapped on. It has been a downhill ride ever since. India craves so much for its representation in the world’s biggest sporting spectacle that the nation actually went delirious when Vikash Dhorasoo (of Indian origin) was called up for France in 2006.

Watching football is a complex business. We have to go through a sea of emotions ranging from pure agony to unbridled ecstasy. But sometimes as we watch the English pin up their hopes on their perennially underachieving national side, we suddenly feel very small. That is when the crushing realization hits us. We can never realistically hope to see a team in Indian colours challenging for a World Cup. We might never hear the music of ‘Jana Gana Mana’ at a World Cup match (except perhaps in an EA Sports video game).

5. Telecast

This is another problem that a football fan has to suffer in India – telecast. The STAR network owns the rights to air the Barclays Premier League games live. But, it has reserved three of its four standard-definition channels — STAR Sports 1, 2 and 3 — primarily for cricket and cricket-based shows. And football, whose global fan base dwarves that of any other sport, has been relegated to STAR Sports 4. So if Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur kick off their games at the same time, only one game will be broadcast. That means a Spurs fan who wanted to watch Eriksen and Lamela will either have to stream online or suffer watching reruns of ‘Outstanding Ojha’, a programme centred on the exploits of Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha.

A tweet on the fake twitter account of Pragyan Ojha concurs with us:

ojha-2034049

 

India might boast of a higher number of football fans than even Britain (owing to our superior population, of course). But, the stark reality is that India is languishing near anonymity in the global arena. We need to get our basics right and aim to conquer Asia first before even contemplating to venture out into the vast world.

Only when we have a football team in Indian colours to truly cheer for will some of the cricket fans even think about switching loyalties and completely embrace football. Until that day, cricket will continue to be ‘Numero Uno’.

290549,xcitefun-pepsi-change-the-game-4

 

Will the ‘game’ in India ever change from ‘cover drive’ to ‘free kick’? Well, sorry to disappoint the football fans. But, the answer is NO.

 

This is a formal entry for the semi-final #2 of the InsideIIM Debate.

Team Name: The Intellect Box

Team Members: Sayan Kar, Adarsh K A M

Institute: IIM Ranchi

 

 

Team InsideIIM

We are the team behind your favourite platform.

Comments

30 comments

Adarsh Kam

“…Now roll on to 1980s- the decade that changed everything.”
Yes. This decade changed everything. The article also points out some reasons why cricket may have toppled hockey. One might forget the sports we are comparing in this debate.

“…Indian won the Cricket World Cup. Following years saw emergence of some talented cricketers under the leadership of players like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. And a massive boost was handed was the World Cup that was held on home soils 1987 and 1996. And then there was the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, the dependable Rahul Dravid, SauravGanguly, AnilKumble and so on. The Indian fans had found a new sport to follow, new gods to worship. And the reasons were there, Hockey lost its way, and Cricket took advantage.”
Let us try to decipher the analogy here. The point you are making is that the rise of cricket led/coincided to/with the decline of Indian hockey in its entirety. By this analogy we are assuming you mean the growth of footballing success in India will lead to the decline of cricket fan following. Let us mention a few points to refute this claim:
a) India won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007
b) They hosted and won the 50-over World Cup in 2011
c) They won the Champions Trophy in 2013
Well these data shows that Indian cricket is definitely on the rise in the recent past. Period
Now let us talk about the ‘rise’ of football.
Can we envisage Indian being crowned FIFA World Champions? Let us ‘dream’ about qualifying for the qualification rounds first.
Can we actually host the FIFA World Cup? Maybe if the infrastructure could be set right to even host an international friendly without having ‘technical glitches’. Refer to the sorry state of affairs of the second largest football stadium – The Salt Lake Stadium.
Can we create legendary stars like Messi or Ronaldo? Maybe, we can in EA Sports. But, most definitely NOT in the real world; reason being the continued absence of quality youth academies.
So, sorry to say, football is not on the rise, atleast not enough to dislodge cricket from its prime position.

Adarsh Kam

“Cricket might pull off all the “reinvention” it wants, but the fact that Its need reinvention so bad is its veru death knell. The facts are right here.”

Cricket is booming. From the Asian subcontinent to the sandy shores of West Indies, lucrative leagues are blooming everywhere. We do not know how giving opportunities to thousands of aspiring youngsters a chance to play cricket can be a death knell. Talking about the figures quoted by you we have one point to make. Most of these ‘viewers’ of the football world cup are mere one-time viewers who tune in to watch football only once in 4 years. Look into the numbers for a Champions League final and you will see the stark contrast. This is what we call in Marketing jargon ‘impulse buying’ wherein the audience follow a ‘fad’. Yes it’s just that, a fad, which is never followed up later.

Adarsh Kam

“Hockey lost its way, and Cricket took advantage.
Now cricket, basically is in a similar postion. It’s a colonial hangover, that more an advertising extravaganza than a real sport. Breaks at the drop of a hat. Check. Captive audience. Check. Langourous pace of play. Check.”

Has Cricket lost its way in India? No. Yes it was introduced to us by the British (Colonials) but a little stats check will reveal that football supersedes cricket even in the land of “The Gentleman’s Game”.

Now talking about ‘languorous’ pace of play – India boasts of one of the most explosive batting lineup it has ever assembled. They hold the World Cup crown and the Number One position in the 50-over format. And, they only narrowly missed on last year’s T20 World Cup. T20 cricket cannot possibly be called ‘languorous’. No dictionary can define Suresh Raina’s 87 runs off a ridiculous 25 balls as ‘languorous’. Test cricket might seem to go on forever. But, cricket’s future rests solely on the shoulder of T20.

The most common complaint that non-football fans in India continuously bleat about is the lack of ‘action’. Imagine a football newbie tuning in to see Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young struggle in the bitter cold evening at Stoke City or West Ham. Now, that could be labelled languorous. And, it would be enough to put him to sleep.

Adarsh Kam

“…live broadcast is critical. All EPL matches are perfect prime time weekend watch. Fortunately the time zones match too and we as a country understand English.”

As mentioned in our original article, there are several problems in following live football games in India. We iterate with excerpts from our article.

This (Telecast) is another problem that a football fan has to suffer in India – telecast. The STAR network owns the rights to air the Barclays Premier League games live. But, it has reserved three of its four standard-definition channels — STAR Sports 1, 2 and 3 — primarily for cricket and cricket-based shows. And football, whose global fan base dwarves that of any other sport, has been relegated to STAR Sports 4. So if Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur kick off their games at the same time, only one game will be broadcast. That means a Spurs fan who wanted to watch Eriksen and Lamela will either have to stream online or suffer watching reruns of ‘Outstanding Ojha’, a programme centred on the exploits of Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha.

Adarsh Kam

“Few months back ,we saw team auctions of a new football league in India (ISL)where celebrities and cricketers bought football franchisees for cities across India.”

As mentioned in our original article, the best players ISL can hope to lure are recently retired players and some free agents well past their prime. So, it will be impossible to expect the ISL to repeat the success of IPL.

zetroll

I’ll raise you the MLS in USA, which started out quite similarly, famously becoming hosts to David Beckham a few years back. Today, it’s such a huge rage, that David Beckham is buying a team for himself. Having veterens from a galaxy of stars so huge is not a downer, but a huge shot in the arm. Of course this might be difficult for cricket buffs to comprehend with the dozen odd nations playing cricket, but there are exponentially more talented footballers out there, and being able to attract any of them, is simply a tell tale sign of rising clout.

Also, how cute. You call e Brett Lee and Mahela Jayawardane legends. But footballers, of course are ” recently retired players “. The readers here are thankfully smart enough to see bad spin when they see some.

Adarsh Kam

“And don’t even get me started on the monstrosity called Duckworth Lewis.
…not turn in to a statistical farce every time it as much as drizzles.”

We agree that Duckworth Lewis method may be a lousy way to decide a game. But, will that be reason enough to stop following cricket and watch a new game altogether. We wouldn’t do that. And, only a very small proportion of games actually get decided based on this. So, we can’t see what difference it can make to the viewership of cricket in India.

Satyaki Mascharak

“Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crores live in rural areas while 37.7 crores stay in urban areas according to the Census of 2011…..” The rural folk have always been more inclined towards football. You go to any village in any part of the country, you will see more kids playing football than cricket. Even to this day with the way cricket is being marketed aggressively, the situation has not changed much. It is just a hallucinated picture which is being projected to us. Not taking the credit out of somebody like Tendulkar, but a village lad identifies himself more with Messi than Tendulkar.

Adarsh Kam

Is it really so? I would be glad to know the name of 5 such ‘villages’ and not suburbs or cities. You say the situation has not changed much. Just go to any real village during an IPL game (not even an India-Pakistan thriller) and notice the overwhelming crowd in the sole shop with a colour TV. Then go there again during an El Classico. The answer, my friend, will ‘surprise’ you for sure. And Messi over Tendulkar, that too in an Indian village? Well….

zetroll

Why excuse my friend. He clearly got carried away by the memories of his village in Bengal. He’ll be glad to send you CR7 postcards from there as soon we’re done with Cricket.

Adarsh Kam

“Why excuse my friend. He clearly got carried away by the memories of his village in Bengal. He’ll be glad to send you CR7 postcards from there as soon we’re done with Cricket.”

Why, Thank You! We already have our cabinets stashed with postcards. Jokes apart the point your friend made was that Messi is ‘more popular’ than Tendulkar among the rural youth. I firmly disagree to that and the above comment was made in lieu of that disagreement alone.
As requested, please grace us by providing the names of a few villages where Mr. Tendulkar has been overshadowed by CR7 or LM10.

zetroll

Let us …dislodge cricket from its prime position.

Well, quite simply, that’s the real beauty you might be missing out on my friend. Football indeed is in bad shape if you consider our current standings in any competition that matters. And yet, look at that crazy rise. Do we need to pull up our socks, absolutely. Does it reflect an inherent lack of talent? Absolutely not. Rajib Ray above, is merely an example of the hidden gems our country bears, patiently waiting to be found. Football for once actually represents a mature interest in the actual game, not blind hero worship that cricket has. Look at how easily you spout out our “conquests” in cricket. My friend, the love of the game goes far, far beyond just victory and losses. But I guess it’s difficult seeing that from the blinders that cricket has put up over our country. And I don’t blame you. Cricket is an inherently boring game when two not-so-great teams are slogging away. Nobody wants to watch Zimbabwe vs. Kenya. Football, on the other hand has had some of the most nail biting matches just in this World Cup between the proverbial David vs. Goliath.

PS Once you get over how addictive football is, even EA’s version, I hope you do realize India in reality will be hosting the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Adarsh Kam

Football does present truly inspiring stories of underprivileged achievers and it has done so for the past many decades. Point taken. However this fact is not enough to draw more spectators to the lacklustre football played in India. Case in point – Just try and watch any match, other than the glorious East Bengal – Mohun Bagan derby, in the Salt Lake Stadium. You will actually be able to hear the players conversing – Yes, the stadium remains that empty.

There is no denying the fact that the love for any game goes far beyond the gold and silver stashed up in the trophy cabinets. But sadly that is what attracts neophytes to a game. So if you want to build the fanbase of football in India then you would require some ‘conquests to spout about’. I reiterate again that most of the ‘passion’ and ‘craze’ you have found about football is concentrated solely in the 30% of Indian population.

I firmly disagree to your sweeping statement that cricket has the sole proprietorship in ‘blind hero worship’ Just look around you and you will find 100 young boys sporting a Lionel Messi jersey; ask them the last match of him they watched and you will be up for some real surprises.

Satyaki Mascharak

Another major issue with cricket which my beloved friends very clearly overlooked is the time factor. People today do not have time to spend 7 hours in a day. This led to the popularization of T20 cricket but we again know what T20 cricket stands for(if you are a cricket lover you would know). So technically speaking Football has the upper hand to appeal to those Indians who leave a fast paced life.

Adarsh Kam

“Another major issue with cricket which my beloved friends very clearly overlooked is the time factor. People today do not have time to spend 7 hours in a day. This led to the popularization of T20 cricket but we again know what T20 cricket stands for(if you are a cricket lover you would know). So technically speaking Football has the upper hand to appeal to those Indians who leave a fast paced life.”

In an average year, do you know how many hours a ‘true’ football fan spends supporting his favourite team? If you are a true football fan, you would know.

This would clearly dwarf the time spent by even the most hardcore cricket fan.

zetroll

My point, precisely.
We think football has supporters who root that much harder, and appreciate how you feel the same way too!

Adarsh Kam

This was in rebuttal to the below line:
“So technically speaking Football has the upper hand to appeal to those Indians who leave a fast paced life.”

We were commenting how football is not ideal for ‘Indians who leave a fast paced life’ as it requires too much time and commitment.

zetroll

No my friend. The exact point here is that the Indian football is happy to put in that time, because what he has is real passion. Not a me-too past time.
He will take the time out, watch his matches, and courtesy of Star India, when denied the opportunity, live stream them, or torrent them for all it takes. I’m sure the cricket obsession still keeps you a little behind the curve, but really, technology is friend. TV is great for paan ka galla conversations, but those are no more passion than the paan residue is painting.

Adarsh Kam

Yes yes yes we do put in our time to watch a full football match. As already said, we are crazy about football. But again you are considering the 30% of Indian population here. Paan residue or not it is really painful to see football being treated as a residue in the bottom of an ice-cream cup (read sports) in India and we two would be the happiest to see it climb to the top.

Sadly, the possibility is as bleak as a rainbow in the night. Thank You!

zetroll

Continuing Satyaki’s point above, while cricket indeed has it’s share of humble origin players, football, by the very virtue of being treated like the step child, has only humble players, so to speak. Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chettri, Rajib Roy. The underdog here is very easy to identify with, and the the rural class know this just as well. Those 160 odd million people watching the World Cup this aren’t all city slickers, no more than Cricket’s 200 million could be.

Adarsh Kam

“Continuing Satyaki’s point above, while cricket indeed has it’s share of humble origin players, football, by the very virtue of being treated like the step child, has only humble players, so to speak. Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chettri, Rajib Roy. The underdog here is very easy to identify with, and the the rural class know this just as well. Those 160 odd million people watching the World Cup this aren’t all city slickers, no more than Cricket’s 200 million could be.”

Two questions.
1 – What meanings do ‘humble origin players’ and ‘humble players’ convey?
2 – Assuming football is the underdog sport here, how can ‘just being the underdog’ actually help football’s cause?

And, to all the points related to ‘Rural Class know this just as well’, just remember this – With all due respect, Football is NOT telecast in Doordarshan.

According to an official report, ‘Of India’s 123 million TV households, 48 million (39%) watch only Doordarshan’. So, this serves to cement our point that football has scratched only the urban population.

zetroll

Cricket is booming. … just that, a fad, which is never followed up later.

Cricket is booming, yes to speak, but it is no longer the same game you once called cricket. Just because the implements are the same, and the terms doesn’t in anyway mean it’s the same game. Just look at the emptiness of test match stands to see what I meant. Cricket is already becoming irrelevant by each passing day. Another ex colony rediscoivirng their love is still a better story than Twilight, but that’s all it is my friend, a nice story to tell. The bastion that cricket once was is long gone.
Also, I don’t know what a fad is where your lovely cheerleaders come from, but In 2013, football reached 155 million Indian television viewers. That’s not a World Cup year. It’s just an inconvenient non jargon. True story.

Adarsh Kam

Yes cricket is no longer the same game with newer formats and rules. Yes the stands remain empty during test matches. But, isn’t change a sign of vitality for any sport? No one wants to overlook the changing public demand and lifestyles. That is what cricket did. It merely reinvented itself. Just look at the proportion of test matches played as compared to limited over cricket and you will know that the empty stands are easily outweighed 10 to 1.

Moreover, cricket with all the lucrative leagues the world over is fast capturing the imagination of a newer set of masses.

zetroll

Yessir! Cheerleaders are the most “vitalizing” thing a lot of India has seen on TV since a long time. I’m sure that’s a great sign of “reinventing” yourself. Chop the game, add in a dozen more breaks and a billion more sponsors. It actually is a logical extension of Cricket, since that’s what the masses really want, right?

Adarsh Kam

“Yessir! Cheerleaders are the most “vitalizing” thing a lot of India has seen on TV since a long time. I’m sure that’s a great sign of “reinventing” yourself. Chop the game, add in a dozen more breaks and a billion more sponsors. It actually is a logical extension of Cricket, since that’s what the masses really want, right?”

Yessir! That is a part of what the masses want. Look at the revenues generated by a team/stadium during the IPL. These are made because of people contributing to the viewership of the game. Moreover, we were talking about ‘reinventions’ in its entirety- fielding restrictions, bouncer limits and yes, also cheerleaders. Sadly, you got glued to the fashionable part of the ‘reinvention’.

If you have followed a FIFA World Cup, you would have been aware of the media circus that usually accompanies in form of WAGS. Cheerleaders are NOT the only “vitalizing” thing a lot of India has seen on TV. Every game has its fair share of them.

Satyaki Mascharak

It is just a matter of time till we realise the true potential of football in India.You can always try and turn a deaf ear to it my dear friend as many of you did before India won a world cup. Sourav Ganguly wanted to become a football player and even after achieveing all that he has he still says Football is closer to his heart.

zetroll

Now talking about…put him to sleep.
You see that’s the difference. Watching cricket is involuntary. I personally have no interest in whatsoever, but still have a more than fair understanding of it, simply by virtue of being brought up in India. Think of it like passive smoking, except that you don’t die of cancer, just fanboys. And yes, for a non-football fan, appreciating the beautiful game might be tricky at times. But when has that not been the case? You see, that’s the point. You want football to become a de facto part of life you get whether you want it or not, then yes indeed you won’t see that! Ask someone outside of India, someplace where cricket is not drilled into your head from the moment you’re born. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will still give him a moment or two of brilliant heartstoppers, if not more. Cricket would knock him out cold.
Football fans in India follow it solely out of their volition, not because it’s their “national past time”. This is actually a great thing according to me, since they want to watch, breathe and dream football. It’s way more credible than claiming millions of fans who’ve been force fed cricket till the they just cave and start following it.

Adarsh Kam

Your point is true to an extent in that we are born into an environment where all people discuss is cricket. Well so to speak, isn’t it very natural! What do you expect the population of a country, which has reached the true summit of only one sport in the recent past, to talk about? Golf!

‘Ask someone outside of India’
I agree that people outside the subcontinent do not eat, breathe and drink cricket. They live with and for football. However, that is not the point. We are talking about India here which is still a ‘sleeping giant of football’ but already a rampaging giant of cricket.

So, we should not bother to ask someone outside India, as that would mean digressing from our topic.

zetroll

Also, while I indeed the no 1 postion in ODI cricket does count for something, let me tell you a little story about Afghanistan. A war torn country, only joined the ICC in 2001. They are today the 11th best ODI playing nation on Earth. Stupendous, right? Except that there are only 12 ranked ODI playing nations on Earth. It’s easy being the king of a hill that’s shorter than Leo Messi. How long do plan on shouting from this summit, is the question a lot of India already asks.

Also, how quaint. Let’s talk about the rise of cricket in various nations as a sign of rejuvenation, but please bar football discussions to India. Must stick to topic, right?

zetroll

Besides, if it’s simply a matter of talent, and the most emphatic no to India yielding it’s own football superstar, I’ll raise you another story, since clearly the earlier one’s fell on deaf ears.
Bidyananda Singh, a defensive midfielder, was at the academy in Doha for a camp conducted by youth academy coaches from Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan. By the end of his stint there, scouts from Barcelona had expressed an interest and have been following the youngster’s progress since. Singh became one of the first Indians, along with Milan Basumatary, to play in the academy’s All Star team. Incidentally, he also scored the opening goal in his side’s 3-1 win over Ajax.

So for all the white noise that cricket indeed represents, Indian football is only going from strength to strength each passing day.