Yes, cricket is the most popular sport in the region of South Asia these days. Although, at world level cricket is second most popular, before football, but in South Asia it’s the first most. How come a sport like cricket happens to be so popular in this
region instead of any other game? Here are some of the views in answer to this question.
The first reason, in my opinion, is tremendous performances in cricket and poor performances in other sports. This leads to reduction in the interest of people in other sports and this makes cricket worth watching. In South Asia four cricket teams are playing
at international level, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Three out of four are World Cup holders. As hockey is considered to be the national game in Pakistan and India but its performance graph went down. We don’t see any other prominent name in
squash after Jansher Khan and Jahangir Khan in Pakistan. Similarly, in India all popular players with distinguish performances are only from cricket, not from other sports. Even the Indian hockey team couldn’t qualify for Olympics. Although, Rugby is becoming
popular in Sri Lanka but it could not reduce the popularity of cricket there. Recently, we saw Asam-ul-Haq (from Pakistan), Bhupana and Sania Mirza (from India) doing well in tennis but their charisma and performance is also not up to that mark that they could
snatch the popularity from cricket in South Asia.
The second reason is that cricket has a dramatic and unpredictable ending that most of the time the winning team loses the match and the losing team wins, which makes it so interesting and grabs the attention of spectators. The most memorable example of
this is the sixer of Javed Miandad at the last ball in Sharjah Cup in 1985 against India, which turned the tables in favour for Pakistan and India lost the winning match. Similarly, in the 1999 World Cup Bangladesh did upset by defeating Pakistan who was the
favourite at that time. Such a match ending situations made cricket popular at large.
Thirdly, cricket is being shorter and faster day by day. This, I think, is also playing a vital role in its increased popularity? In the beginning, this was a five day game, people had to wait for five days to get result and sometimes the match used to end
without any result (draw). This was quiet boring and unattractive. Then One Day International games was introduced which made cricket fast and interesting. Now twenty20 game has been introduced at international level. This is faster, interesting and entertaining
which grabbed the popularity at world level but hugely in South Asia. As there have three twenty20 World Cups been and two of them were won by South Asian teams (India and Pakistan).
The most recent event which made an immense impact on popularity of cricket is not only in South Asia but also all over the world is IPL (Indian Premier League). This amazing idea, conceived by Lalit Modi (Vice President of Board of Control for Cricket),
also dragged Bollywood towards cricket that they invested their huge money in buying the most talented and popular players from all over the world. People became so crazy about this sport that they started paying more attention on IPL rather than taking interest
in their national team matches. IPL cricket became not only more popular and entertaining but also a highly money involved sport in South Asia as compared to any other sport.
Now a days, cricket players have become the role models in this South Asian region. People idealize them and follow them religiously as compared to other sports persons. This is why every product company wants them to endorse their product, in order to
which they offer them a huge amount of money and they are the highly earned sport persons. They are on every channel at every bill board, this is another reason of increased popularity of cricket.