After the Ashes, cricket’s stock rose significantly in England. But even in September 2005, with most of the country drunk on Ashes fever – literally, in some cases – it probably only matched India’s insatiable appetite for the game.
And that appetite for cricket has not changed if Nagpurâ€™s local Sunday paper, The Hitavada, is anything to go by. In a 16-page paper, there are 15 cricket pieces. Remarkably, one of them is headlined â€˜Chappell has acknowledged receipt of emailâ€™. Over on the front page, the three lead stories are: â€˜England Cook up a defiant storyâ€™, â€˜Keep restraint, Pawar tells Chappell in surprise meetâ€™ and, finally, the tiddling matter of President Bush snubbing a proposed nuclear deal with Pakistan.
I agree with Paul that the appetite for cricket has, in recent times, been somewhat gluttonous; Chappell-Ganguly-gate was unnecessarily long-winded, but it nevertheless demonstrates the unparalleled lust for cricket. Is there any other sport which binds a country’s people together as much as cricket does for India?