Pakistan, India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and U.K., Australia, New Zealand are the prominent cricket playing nations. The latter 3 are developed countries where not even 5% of the population is interested in the game; the players are drawn to it due to the lure of big money. But the other nations are poor and their entire population is crazy about Cricket.
The players are billionaires as billions of souls, who know everything about the game and the players, are glued to the matches for days and days. There is a match of some sort almost every other day between the same countries (the few cricket playing nations are shuffled to arrange one). It can be a test, one day or 20-20 cricket. There are channels devoted only for cricket which relay matches round the clock. Those who watch, follow even the nuances of balling and how the batsman responds to it. If one takes a wicket or if the batsman manages a ‘sixer’, there will be a mad reaction. It is not a mere sport meant for relaxation for an hour or less; it is all-embracing and inundating one’s very being round the year. It has become the social psyche of poor countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
One wakes up at midnight to know the score; every vibration of every cell of one is completely taken over by the game. There is nothing left for doing one’s job or studying for one’s exam. Of the 120 billion Indians, 90% or more are ardent fans of the game. Even if one takes 50% of males and 20 % of females are addicted, there are about 35 billion people who be glued to the screens or pre-occupied with the game.
35x8=280 billon man hours are lost per day. As there is one kind of match or the other almost every day, I leave to your imagination the number of man-hours lost in a year! Even if one does something, it will be only mechanical work and there will be no efficiency as he is pre-occupied. The government servants can watch it leisurely as efficiency does not matter. I remember a college lecturer who was my colleague who used to come out of the classroom at regular intervals to know the score in his pocket radio!
The players, organizers, advertisers, coaches, the Board of Cricket Controls—all win. The billions who watch lose. Spending one’s life in the pursuit of a game is suicidal. Is it one of the reasons why Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, India, Bangladesh, West Indies, Zimbabwe and others are poor and becoming poorer as the frenzy for the game moves up? Let us become successful like the great Cricket players in whatever we do to make our lives better.