Sport is a crucial part of the Indian identity and something that the country has seen much success in during the past. From Kapil Dev to Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Nehwal, Milkha Singh and beyond, there have been many sporting greats to emerge from India. Any list of this nature though is usually dominated by legendary names from one sport – cricket.
To say India has been obsessed with cricket for the last few decades is an understatement. It has ruled supreme as the countries national sport with millions of fans watching every match played by the national team. Many feel that this is slowly changing in the modern world though with young Indians starting to play and follow other sports.
This makes it interesting to consider whether cricket in India will not be the most popular sport around in a few short years. It is not just the changing habits of the Indian youth that could only affect this though as Indian advertisers begin to divert resources into other sports. This is a feeling echoed across other traditionally popular Indian past times which are quickly been overtaken by a new generation of sporting activities in the country.
But which sports could soon eclipse traditionally popular ones in India like cricket, field hockey, or kabaddi?
Although football has been the most popular game globally for many years, it has previously been in cricket’s shadow in India. Many feel this could be about to change though as more young Indians choose football to support and play instead. The major reason for this is the ever-expanding reach of football and how it has managed to attract fans in India over recent years. With superstar players and major global leagues like the Champions League, football has really started to gain a foothold in new territories like India.
Although tennis had been played by many, it has also been well down the list of popular sports and overshadowed by badminton. Could this all be about to change though? A new breed of Indian tennis players like Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna has really helped the sport to find fresh life with Indians. With their emerging success helping to inspire others to pick up a racket themselves, it could lead to a real boom in Indian tennis in the next few years.
F1 has started to gain a lot of traction with Indians in the last few years and this could see it become really popular in the future. It seems the fast-paced action, drama and immersive coverage of modern TV stations is a big player here. When you also factor in an Indian team being present previously in F1 and Indian drivers beginning to make their mark, it is easy to see why.
The times are changing
Many sports commentators in India have already begun to note the move away from traditionally popular sports by Indian fans to newer ones. While it is clear that sports like cricket and field hockey will always have a big following, they could soon be caught by the new kids on the block snapping at their ankles.