Why cricket can't be a part of the OlympicsApril 07, 2016
"Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India" was an entertaining saga of how a small town in India achieved its independence. The menfolk beat their English oppressors in the game of cricket. The film runs four hours, which is normal for a Bollywood feature. But not many have seen it multiple times. Ashutosh Gowariker penned a screenplay similar to "Rocky", where the titular character was holding a cricket bat instead. It's a feel-good movie, which becomes more appealing during the following years. The film can be an illustration of why cricket can't be a part of the Olympic program.
The finals of 2016 ICC World Twenty20 saw West Indies beat England by a slim margin. Eden Gardens was near full capacity, as the crowd witnessed West Indies winning their second title in four years. (They beat the host nation in the semifinals.) The winners received a prize money of 3.5 million US dollars, which would indicate the prestige and popularity of the event. Alas, cricket has yet to be considered as a demonstration sport. On the other end, rugby sevens will make its debut at the Rio Olympics. Rugby was last played during the 1924 Summer Games, and the twelve teams (from both the men's and women's side) are surely excited about this historic moment.
Here are five reasons why cricket is excluded from the program:
Cricket is a legacy of the British Empire. Perhaps the likes of Joseph Conrad haven't thought of cricket as a metaphor for British imperialism. If they did, then it was a mistake (on their part) not to pen a story about it. The fact that the members of the Commonwealth of Nations are dominating this sport would mean one thing. The spirit (and ideals) of Victorian England would live on.
It's hard to imagine other nations adopting cricket. South Korea will never consider forming their own cricket group unless they can create a variation of the sport. In this case, it will be played during the winter months. Even America, which tries so hard to be a politically correct society, can't warm up to cricket bats. (Football and baseball are enough.) As for Austria, skiing will be fine. It's not hard to guess the rest.
Cricket won't be able to achieve global popularity. Both football and cricket are popular sports, their athletes earning millions. And don't be surprised if David Beckham has his own counterpart in this sport. (He hails from India.) But cricket can't touch the hearts of several African nations. Even Latin America, which is known for its rich history in the FIFA World Cup, won't identify with it.
Cricket seems hard to follow. The scenes in â€œLagaanâ€ will justify it. This is not the case with basketball, which can be figured out in minutes.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) still upholds the interests of most nations. Politics may play a part in the selection of the host city, but the Olympic program is a different case.
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