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Spatial Diffusion of Cricket in India

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Spatial Diffusion of Cricket in India

Spatial Diffusion of Cricket in India

Introduction

Modern sports seem to be linked in a way to industrialization.  Just like industrialization, sports began as an individual innovation of a particular way to spend recreational time. Over time, the innovative sport spread through a group of people and later on across borders.  Technological advancement has had an impact in the manner in which sports are conducted.  Most of the industrial towns contained some of the most successful sports clubs such as Liverpool. Cricket began in England like a rural game (Kaufman and Patterson, 2005).  After a while, Cricket became a popular game like Soccer, and rugby among British natives.  The diffusion of Cricket to other nations came about after British soldiers took it to the colonies of their empire (Kaufman and Patterson, 2005).

Cricket in India

            Cricket in India was introduced by British soldiers in the 1700s. However, the game was only played by the soldiers.  Mostly the game was used in symbolizing a code of conduct, morality, and ethical correctness (Gupta, 2013). In the mid-19th century, the Indians began playing Cricket.  The innovation of the sport had finally settled in with Indian population. The spatial diffusion of cricket in the Indian society made the game to be played by both the elite class and the ordinary citizens.  However, the elite population was the first ones to impose the game to the rest of the population (Gupta, 2013). The richest Indians were the first ones to play cricket. Afterwards, the middle class and lower class populations learnt the sport.

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             Unlike many sports that are largely westernized, cricket has featured as an Indian game.  Indians engage in the sport as a symbol of nationalism (Gupta, 2013). Victory during sports competitions is regarded as the national triumph, whereas moments of defeat are sadly accepted as a humiliation. Therefore cricket presents a platform for the Indians to succeed in the global sphere. It provides an opportunity for the Indians to escape from the harshness of their lives. Most of the Indian nationals live in low standard of life. Throughout their lives, they are taught how to aspire for a glorious heritage. Cricket offers the much needed hope to get to the new life that embodies success.

            Cricket provides a unification factor for various classes in the society. Gupta (2013) states that it is an avenue where people from diverse backgrounds can come together in order to achieve a common purpose. Mostly, in the Indian society, the unity comes in two ways. All the players in the game are united as they come together to fulfill a specific aim. Also, the spectators during the cricket matches unify as they cheer on the national team. Apart from unifying diverse classes of people, cricket has diffused across various religious organizations in India (Gupta, 2013).Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians are united through participation in the game.

Structure of Cricket in India

             The adaption of the cricket game into the Indian society led to the creation of social clubs to adequately address the need for the communities’ participation in the game (Mustafa, 2013).  The Gujarati merchant group became a source of most of the club’s patronage.  The close connection between the elites and the British colonialists made it easy for them to take over the

Administration of the game. Over time, cricket management was handed over to the Indian elites. The game was independent to the Indians.  The new patrons were in charge of both finances and management of the teams. Apart from the elite group of individuals, the patronage also came from some of the princes in the nation.  The Indian princes played a major role in the democratization and the spread of the cricket game to various parts of India( Mustafa, 2013).  Through the sport, the princes found an opportunity for opening up the indigenous community participation in the game.  During matches the princes found it befitting to be accompanied by their servants to the match fields.  The servants, mostly from the lower classes, got to experience the game.  The participation of lower caste people in the game, made them to move to more elite locations such as Bombay as they joined new teams.

Post-Colonial Diffusion of Cricket in India

Cricket as a game has been redefined in ways beyond measure.  The diffusion of Cricket into the Indian society followed well laid out lines.  The state wide reception of the game emanated from political leaders who instituted a match between the two houses of parliament. The elites in India added much glamour to the game, making the Indian population to be appealed by the populace of the game (Mustafa, 2013).  The post-colonial patrons of the Cricket game was mainly the state owned co-operations such as Indian Railways and State Bank of India. As a form of advertising, the new patrons employed cricketers to play in their teams. The strength of Cricket grew rapidly in elite centers such as Bombay and Delhi.

 Wealthy personalities in Bombay gained interest in Cricket making it the center city for the Indian cricket. Mustafa (2013), indicates that other rural places such as Calcutta where cricket had started earlier than in Bombay did not make significant progress due to lack of financial investments from sponsors. Cricket received more media coverage as compared to other sports like Hockey. The difference emanated from the wealth associated with the elite class of citizens managing the sport. Through the broadcast of the game in native Indian language, all kinds of people managed to get to all information concerning the game. The spectators in international contests develop a national identity with the Indian team. The cultural identity of the Indian population grew with each new game.

 The Indian Premium league (IPL), brought a whole difference in the manner in which the cricket game appeared international leagues. Changing Broadcasting laws made the financial sponsors of IPL to invest more into the broadcast of the game in the local and international media. Mustafa (2013), states that the desire for the IPL to broadcast its matches, lead to the emergence of a new form of cricket league. IPL held matches for three hours to match up with the international prime television broadcasts. IPL has heralded a new dawn for the cricket game internationally. There has been a rise in corporations managing cricket clubs, corporate sponsorship, and employing technology in the management of the sport.

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 Currently, the Indian Cricket displays the initial structures of the game as well as the strict code of conduct. Amateurship, sportsmanship and restrain are still dominant values of Cricket (Appadurai, 2015). In contrast to the aforementioned Victorian ideals, Indian Cricket is embodied in the virtue of national loyalty. Victory for the different team of players must be achieved regardless of the cost. Cricket globally has grown to be a decolonizing feature of the imperial states. Despite originating in England, the rise of cricket globally and India being at its core is indicative of the new form of the sport. In addition, the Cricket sport in India has served as a form of diplomacy advocacy between India and its hostile neighbor Pakistani (Appadurai, 2015). Despite the differences between the two nations, the teams should cooperate in making the game successful. Hostilities and tensions between the states have to be regulated in order to peacefully co-exist in the game.

Conclusion

             The spatial diffusion of Cricket has been hierarchical in nature. It emanated from British Soldiers who passed it on to the Parsi Indian elites, then to the middle class citizens and finally the lower caste citizens.  Despite India holding on to the Victorian ideals of sportsmanship, amateurship and restrain, Cricket in India has been decolonized to feature national identity as a virtue. Through investment from wealthy persons and corporate sponsorship of cricketers, the cricket game has continued getting better with time. Financial sponsorship into mass media broadcasts has increased Cricket’s appeal to the masses. The multilingual broadcast of the Cricket matches has increased its diffusion to all classes of people in India. Cricket has brought forth a new aspect of unity in diversity.  The wealthy and the lower class persons unite either as players or as spectators cheering on the national team.  Indian Premium League has increased the globalization of the game through enabling the shorter versions of the tournament’s that can be aired on prime time television.

References

Appadurai, A. (2015). Playing with modernity: the decolonization of Indian cricket. Altre Modernità, (14), 1-24.

Gupta, R. (2013). Bowled out of the game: Nationalism and gender equality in Indian cricket. Berkeley J. Ent. & Sports L., 2, 89.

Kaufman, J., & Patterson, O. (2005). Cross-national cultural diffusion: The global spread of cricket. American sociological review, 70(1), 82-110.

Mustafa, F. (2013). Cricket and globalization: global processes and the imperial game. Journal of Global History, 8(2), 318-341.

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