by Asif Uzzaman
7:10pm, 10th October, 2016
With the onset of another Kabaddi Worldcup this October, being held in the city of Ahmedabad with 12 international teams participating, we are compelled to believe that after Cricket, Kabaddi can be the next sport to gain mass appeal in our country.
Kabaddi has always been the sport we Indians loved to play for pastime, only that the game had not made it to the mainstream before. But, now it seems that our country is literally preparing itself to start falling for this game.
Pro Kabaddi League’s establishment by Star Sports on the bases of Indian Premier League (IPL), with Bollywood superstars and billionaires owning and managing teams and international players being included in the teams named after Indian regions, it has become a milestone in the sport’s fate and future.
Image source : ibtimes.co.uk
We have seen so far people like Abhishek Bachchan, Ronnie Screwwaala, Akshay Kumar, Honey Singh owning franchises in Pro-Kabaddi League and the World Leagues. With such powerful sponsorships, yielding tons of money to the game, and people’s resurrecting passion for kabaddi, it would not be wrong to say that Kabaddi is going to challenge Cricket in terms of viewership and craze in the future if the trend is made to carry on. And if this shift takes place, it will take place for good.
Image source : sportskeeda.com/india.com
It would not be wrong to say that Kabaddi has been in the veins of every Indian. It is the game of our soil; something with which every Indian is connected. Kabaddi has its roots in the Indian rural life, and 70% of Indians are still leading agrarian lives.
Image source : thehindu.com
Kabaddi has begun gaining limelight in the world of sports and it is bound to flourish because it is a true sport which demands excellent athletic abilities. Moreover, kabaddi is well-known to every Indian, and if its scope widens, a lot of young athletes from even the remote areas of the country will gain deserved platform. If cricket – which is not even the national game of India, and we knew nothing about it at one time – can drive we people berserk for it, then Kabaddi, our own sport, can surely make it to the top in terms of gaining we people’s attention.
Image source : rediff.com
Cricket is a game which needed two things for gaining popularity in India. Initially it demanded that we understand it, and then came the money and sponsorship factors. Keeping the case of Cricket in mind, we can say that Kabaddi has an advantage over Cricket. For Kabaddi, it is only the money factor that needs to be handled, because the understanding of the game – love for the game, actually – is already there in the hearts and minds of the people of our country.
With the Pro-Kabaddi’s telecast on Star Sports and its promotion in various states of the country, the children in middle and high schools have already started replacing Cricket with Kabaddi for playing in their ‘Sports’ periods. As for the money factor, the billionaires have already seen that Kabaddi is a game worth investing upon; and these sponsorships have begun with good magnitude.
Image source : prokabbadi.com
I feel that Kabaddi can surely come very close to Cricket, and we people will have two sports instead of one to be crazy about in the future, if the sponsors keep investing in it and athletes as dynamic and passionate as Pradeep Narwal & Majeet Chiller (to name a few) keep emerging. The knowledge of the game is with us already, and all that is needed for kabaddi to become the new Cricket of India is our vision to see that a game of Indian origin can also prove as worthy as the game of Cricket.
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Feature image source : patrika.com