As Indian Cricket team continues to struggle in proper foreign conditions (SENA) and has been actually struggling for quite some time now, it’s time to look at the reasons why these performances don’t really matter to the BCCI, sponsors and sadly even the media which actually has become a cheerleader for BCCI.
The Team sponsorship deal was a new record, the television deal was a new record, all this when the Indian economy has been on a downward slide. It’s like Indian Cricket is recession-proof both from vagaries of the economy and more importantly from the performance of the team.I will attempt to find out why this phenomenon exists only in Indian cricket.
Many people say that it was the 1983 World cup win which was the catalyst for Indian cricket rise while some others say the combination of events like the Indian economy opening up in the early 90s which coincide with the arrival of certain SACHIN on the scene which helped BCCI market the game very well.
Even then during the 90s Indian cricket team was never regarded as a World beating team like now but the performances are actually similar (Tigers at home, lambs abroad) but why the Hype now?. Rarely India loses at home. The Indian Test team has lost only 1 test series per decade in the last 3 decades so India in home conditions has been truly unbeatable.
Of course, India’s ODI record has improved drastically since the ’90s but most of those wins are in Asian Conditions (SL, Ban, UAE) and they have coincided with the decline of Sri Lanka and Pakistan and of course India these days beats West Indies for laughs which was not the case till the even late ’90s (Remember chasing 120 in Barbados).
It was only during the truly golden age of Indian Cricket during 2000s that India won series in England, New Zealand and Pakistan apart from putting up creditable performances in Australia and South Africa when they drew the series there. Not to mention winning ICC world tournaments in 2007 and 2011.
Even the BCCI itself has not been known to be very innovative, remember they were not interested in T20 till 2007 and then suddenly embraced it and launched IPL. They never supported DRS for a long time and was the last board to support Day-night test cricket, but they are the richest board by far.
So why the Hype around Indian Cricket?
The answer is a set of factors which are unique to Indian cricket.
First, for a very long time Indian Cricket fan always has had HOPE, maybe for a very long time it was the only sport known to them and some of them did do certain silly things like burning effigies of players when the team lost but average fan always has had hope. When the team loses one series of fan hope for the next series .E.g. Observe how always India plays the “Weak” team after playing Major Tournament like World Cup.
Which brings us to the Second factor now the BCCI has perfected the art of making sure that India is always good in home conditions and the skills of its players are showcased to its adoring fans at home first, so they can always sell tickets in every stadium across every nook and corner of the country.
The third factor is the large population. India being the 2nd largest country population-wise has many cities and towns and there is eternal demand from every place to host an international match and of course even larger population ever ready to watch their stars on television. So TV companies give good money, but again if the team keeps losing whatever the large population maybe it will not like to see their beloved team lose .E.g. 2007 50 over world Cup when India lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and exited early.
Which brings us to the Fourth factor which now BCCI very smartly has added, entertainment quotient to the whole thing by introducing IPL where the whole ambience is very relaxed and jovial. So for 2 months during summer holidays for kids, everyone involved has a good time and most importantly some Indian Will always win, Either Rohit Sharma or Dhoni or even if the Team is captained by Foreigners like Kane Williamson or Warner it’s still an Indian Team so everyone is happy. The commentators keep praising the players even if batsman miss-hits and ball goes to the boundary, also sponsors are happy that commentators keep talking about their product even when the match is going on.
This is apart from regular Ad breaks and strategic and breaks which is just another way to put more Ads. Also, lots of humans have vices like betting and IPL provides the quickest and easiest opportunity to indulge in it. People need not be “Anti National” and bet against Indian team yet they can enjoy their sin pleasure during IPL.
So now basically BCCI is this Toffee shop where different types of candies are available.
The tastiest one, of course, is IPL which is like Dark Chocolate which most people want and which is obviously the costliest. After that is the Bilateral ODI and T20 which mostly India wins so India will always have Good win-loss record every year and then are these Away series especially Away test and ICC tournaments which are very difficult but the Shop has to keep them to comply with regulations ☺ but they are not really bothered if the product is doing well or not.