Cricket came to India along with the then expanding British empire. Though the Britishers left, the game stayed and has become a religion in its own right today in India. There is no corner, galli (lane) or ground in this country where this game is not played.
Due to its international appeal, the infrastructure as regards to training and space is much better available in India as compared to other sports. There are ample training institutes that coach budding talent in the nitty-grittys of the game. There is a major cricket stadium in almost every state.
The Indian cricket team’s contribution to the game is also significant. Till date, India has won two ICC Cricket World Cups the highest honour in international cricket. Over the years, India’s performance over the international circuit has improved significantly.
The game has given many Indian players like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli and others celebrity status.
India has a strong governing body BCCI which plays a significant role in promoting cricket in Indian and structuring a well-groomed team to represent India, internationally. Though surrounded by controversies the BCCI is a systematic council of members that has been regulating cricket in India since 1928.
Cricket is not only about the sport but is also about the worship of the players. Due to their mass appeal crickets are often the first choice when it comes to endorsing a brand. And if the brand is even remotely related to sports crickets are the first choice over any sportsman.
In 2008 when IPL was introduced it changed the format of the game altogether. There were no more national rivalries. Players who played for their respective countries in the ICC world cups, tests and one days were put in a pool together and integrated into secular teams. This made the game even more popular. Over the years, the game of cricket has been heavily modified to make it more interesting and difficult as well. As mentioned, new formats come up. It started off with test matches, then ODIs with 50-50 overs each side, then came in the, now, nation’s favourite – T20 format. The rules make it more of a gentleman’s game as oppose to its notorious image before. There are new technologies introduced in the format to give the game more appeal which inturn makes the whole viewing experience interesting.
Cricket in India is more popular than the National game- Hockey. That does say something about its influence.