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Touring India is incomplete without experiencing its common religion; Cricket. It is also home to the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and M. S. Dhoni.
Cricket, essentially a Colonial gift from the British, has gained immense popularity among Indians. The dry flat pitches in India have contributed to producing high-class spin bowlers. The observant eyes and strong wrists of Indians have produced some of the most productive and stylish batsmen in the game. Even for someone not familiar with this beautiful game, the dexterity, agility, and athletic prowess that a game of cricket offers are something worth witnessing. The Indian team played its first Test match in the year 1932. Thereafter, it waited for its first Test victory against England in 1952. There was no looking back for it thereafter.
The game developed so fast that by the end of the 20th century, India was one of the foremost cricketing countries. India has produced cricketing legends like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Saurav Ganguly, and Virat Kohli have captured the imagination of an entire generation. They are celebrities across the Indian subcontinent and have a huge fan following across the globe. Records have been set by both the bowlers and batsmen alike in the history of the game, and millions revere them.
Popularly known as “The Gentleman’s Game,” Cricket in India has seen changes in its format. Starting from the 5-day Test gala to its new Premier League avatar or T20, which lasts for a few hours. It is an event extraordinaire and an integral part of any traveler’s itinerary. The fervor is contagious, and the ocean of people cheering for their team is a feast for your senses.
This format brings together players from all over the globe, and it is a carnival of internationally acclaimed cricketers. The popularity of this game is such that the IPL was the only sporting event during the pandemic. The IPL was also an overnight internet sensation. When the organizers cracked a deal for the game to be broadcast live on YouTube, it created history. Consequently, opening up a new vista in broadcasting history and making India the undisputed home of the T20 game and the financial hub.
The Indian cricketing team, fondly referred to as the ‘Men In Blue,’ represents India at International cricketing events. The World Cup, held every four years, Test series, and One-Day International series are much-awaited events in the cricketing calendar. The IPL, on the other hand, has a mélange of international players who take part as players of the 13 competing teams. These teams represent 13 states within India though there is a mix of both Indian and International players. Financial experts value it at $6.13 billion in the current year.
Teams like Mumbai Indians have a huge following due to their consistent winning sprees, whereas the Chennai Super Kings have popular cricketing stars who bring in their own following. Some teams like Kolkata Knight Riders are popular due to their sheer star value and tactics. In comparison, others like Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, RCB, Sunrisers Hyderabad pack a solid punch and hold a special place in their hearts, fans. The support extended to these cricketers is unmatched. Hence, most International cricketing stars look forward to being a part of this magical event.
For any tourist visiting India, practically every state has a cricket stadium as a landmark to offer. India has 52 stadiums, the most in any country. Five of these stadiums stand out for their sheer magnificent infrastructure, detailing and architecture, and seating capacity. They are Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, and Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Alongside, The Eden Gardens in Calcutta, which is the biggest cricket stadium in Asia. It has a seating capacity of 65,000 are some of the most beautiful landmarks in these cities.
A visit to any of these is truly a mesmerizing experience, especially if you visit them when a match progresses. Cheerleaders dancing, lights, and sounds celebrating each run took and every bowl bowled alongside fans cheering for their teams is a festive bonanza in India. It will certainly leave an indelible mark in your memory and make your trip truly unforgettable.
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