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Cricket: Passion, religion, business or something else?
Cricket is one of the most famous and familiar sports played worldwide. But when it comes to India, cricket is synonymous with religion. Right from kids to grownups to even working men can be found in a frenzy when India is battling on the field.

A TOURNAMENT played in India earns much more in terms of viewership, craze and popularity than anywhere else in the world. Probably this is the reason why BCCI is the richest member amongst all the other cricket council members in ICC, and now with IPL successfully stepping into its 4th season, BCCI’s position has strengthened even more in ICC members.

The popularity of cricket has grown to such an extent that the sport that was once confined to a certain period of the year or limited to some tournaments only, have now become almost the whole year through. The sport has seen various evolutions in its formats, the most recent of which being T20  cricket and franchisee cricket in form of Indian Premier League. The news channels offer special slots to the game as such.

The combination of cricket and India is even more maddening. It is actually strange to believe that there are people in India who actually perform yagnas and pujas so that India wins a certain tournament or more in case of the World Cup. Who can forget the grand welcome that the Indian team got when it came back to India after winning T20 World Cup in 2007. The cricketers in India enjoy much more privilege and popularity than any other player does in their own country. The cricketers endorse brands even more than the celebrity superstars.

From the business point of view too cricket is the most bankable sports of all. The advertisers buy ad space like hot cakes during important tournaments. At times it seems the sport has become a medium of selling other products. There is a sense that the game’s present has become so thoroughly subverted by economic objectives, the interests of broadcasters, advertisers, a group of entrepreneurial administrators and an elite of international players that the cricket lovers become the last link in the chain whose sole interest is the game and not anything apart from it. Whatever it is - a sport, business or a religion, its popularity is difficult to match, its passion is difficult to judge and its craze is difficult to measure. In short this is cricket.

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