Cricket, not snake charmers and elephants, is the most common sight in India. Go where you will or want, there will always be a narrow street nearby, chock full of a group of enthusiastic boys, of all ages and descriptions, playing cricket with remarkable energy and passion. Little boys who are only just bigger than the bats they bravely hold, teenagers attempting to play in the manner of the national cricketers they watch and admire, grown men whose love for the game has never waned such are the people that play the game of cricket in India. And it is their spirit of enthusiasm, passion and competitiveness that symbolizes the essence of cricket. Cricket is a great unifier in a country that is unimaginably diverse, with over a hundred distinct languages and thousands of dialects, with more religions than can be counted on one's fingers, with different traditions and so on. Cricket is a bit like glue it draws various people with differing backgrounds and merges them in one spectacular collage.
People are often amazed and perplexed by this passion for a game in a country with a population of more than one billion people. It would be incorrect to say that the entire country watches one sport, but it would be fairly accurate to say that at least around three hundred million people follow and watch the game, which in itself is a huge number. Opinions abound regarding its popularity. Some say with a learned air about them, that it is the seminal event of India winning the World Cup in 1983 that sparked the interest in people's minds. Some argue that it is the media focus and television coverage that made it such a popular sport. Yet a few others suggest, somewhat deprecatingly, that it is the only sport in which India has a truly international performance. And there are some, bless them, that simply believe that it is the innate grace and beauty of the game that draws people in flocks. Maybe there is no single reason, no single formula like E = mc2,...
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