Indoor cricket gets a boost in India

A recently concluded India-Pakistan cricket series in Yamunanagar has given a boost to indoor cricket in the country.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Yamunanagar:A recently concluded India-Pakistan cricket series in Yamunanagar may not have attracted as much attention as the big one that's going to be held in January, but was still unique in more ways than one. The series was an indoor version of the game and it's almost like an average one-day international with even a TV umpire. Long way to go Indoor cricket is still in its early stages in India. The likes of Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and Jonty Rhodes have come up through the ranks playing this format of the game. Players like Sri Lanka's Romesh Kaluwitharana has even represented their country in the indoor World Cup. But Indian Test stars have yet to be attracted to this form of the game. And that's not surprising – it's athleticism, speed and reflexes which matter much more here, than skill or technique. It's thrill-a-minute cricket with fast running, direct hits and loads of adrenaline. Eight players-a side, 16-overs-per-innings and a match lasting just two hours. No wonder indoor cricket is hugely popular outside the subcontinent with countries like Australia and England boasting of hundreds of stadia especially for this. Former cricketers say it's only a matter of time till the indoor version of the game picks up in India. "It's quite fast. You require both stamina and power to play this. If you don't, you are destined to fail. Also, it's quite interesting and I see a bright future for it," said Robin Singh Jr, former India cricketer. India has its own indoor cricket federation, but one that is in no way related to the BCCI, since all internationals are young amateurs. Surprisingly, all states – with the exception of Manipur – are a part of this federation though the Yamunanagar stadium is the only one that is anywhere near international standards. Sponsorship woes And with no sponsor or help from the government, it's no surprise that sides from the subcontinent are way behind the others. "They have good-level grounds and good coaches. The governments also provide good support through grants etc. Over there this game comes under their Sports Authority. Their players and coaches are also paid," said Sarvpreet Singh, captain, Indian Indoor Cricket Team. "We don't have any sponsor right now, because only with Live Telecast do you get sponsors fast. I think the BCCI would have faced the same problems earlier," said Mohinder Singh Khasa, Secretary General, Indian Indoor Cricket Federation. A start was made with the Indo-Pak series with the national broadcaster taking it live to all parts of the country. Talks are now underway between the World Indoor Federation and the IOC and there is a strong possibility that the game may be included in the 2012 London Olympics, though 20/20 is also in contention.

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