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Cricket can never take a backseat in India

Last updated on: January 5, 2012 13:05 IST

Difficult to look beyond cricket

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Even in this Olympics year, cricket will hog its share of the limelight, but Harish Kotian hopes the hype will be a tad less, at least for the period of the Games.

Cricket can never take a backseat when it comes to India and Indian sports. If you thought cricket reached its saturation point in the country following the Indian team's World Cup victory sandwiched in between a packed calendar year of non-stop cricket, you are mistaken.

Even this Olympics year, cricket will continue to hog its share of the limelight, but one hopes the hype and fan-following will be a tad less, at least for the period of the Games.

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Image: The Indian team celebrate after winning the 2011 World Cup
Photographs: Getty Images

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Olympic medal scores above everything else

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I would be lying if I said I don't care whether India win or lose the Test series in Australia or how long Sachin Tendulkar will keep us waiting for his 100th international century.

But this year, first and foremost on my list, is witnessing Indian athletes perform at the Olympic Games and see them win lot of medals. That scores above everything else for me.

The joy I got when I watched on television Leander Paes winning a bronze medal against all odds at the 1996 Olympics or Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore winning the bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics or Vijender Singh winning the boxing bronze in Beijing four years ago is unmatched.

Abhinav Bindra's gold medal in Beijing, India's first individual gold in the Olympics, for me, is the biggest achievement in Indian sport. As an Indian I felt so proud when he stood on the podium and the Jana Gana Mana was played as the tri-colour was raised.

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Image: Leander Paes after he won a bronze medal in the men's singles tennis event at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
Photographs: Getty Images

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Sodhi, Vikas could spring a surprise in London

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My biggest dream is hoping I get to travel to London for the Olympics so I can witness first hand such feats.

I believe this time India has the potential to win more medals (including gold) than ever before and London, with its huge Indian population, will be a perfect venue to recreate history.

This time the athletes can't complain or moan too!

The sports ministry has finally woken up and tried to provide all facilities, the national associations have started preparations around a couple of years ago and the athletes have sacrificed everything in the last four years to ensure they triumph on the biggest stage of them all.

Organisations like Olympic Gold Quest and the Mittal Champions Trust have taken up the cause of Indian sports and provided the athletes all the support and finance needed to realise their dreams of winning Olympic medals.

Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal, MC Mary Kom, Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar are some of the champion names that spring to mind instantly as one dreams about Olympic medals.

Apart from these big names, there are talented young athletes like boxer Vikas Krishnan and shooting ace Ronjan Sodhi who could spring a surprise this July.

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Image: Ronjan Sodhi
Photographs: Getty Images

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Please hit that ton, Mr Tendulkar

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Like every Indian, I desperately want Sachin Tendulkar to get done and dusted with his 100th international century.

It has been a long wait through 2011 and every game puts more and more pressure on his fans rather than the master batsman himself.

I have seen friends, who are among Tendulkar's most devoted fans, plead in front of the television or start praying when SRT reaches the 80s or 90s.

So, a sincere request to Mr Tendulkar: Please hit that century at the earliest!

India's Test series victory over Australia will be another dream come true. But as things stand, after India's tame surrender in the first Test in Melbourne and the woeful showing in Sydney, it seems out of reach this series.

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Image: Sachin Tendulkar is bowled during the second Test in Sydney
Photographs: Getty Images

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Indian football also needs a lift

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Indian football needs a facelift -- it's been long overdue.

Russia and China are the new powerhouses in soccer, offering top players huge pay packets, but India's growing economy has done little to help the growth of football in the country.

The national football league, the I-League, has a small group of loyal fans, which gets smaller with time.

We are not producing world class players either nor are we showing some hope for the future.

Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua had a six-day trial at the Scottish club Glasgow Rangers, but failed to impress. There is a lot of talent in Indian football despite the lack of facilities and standard infrastructure in most parts of India, and it would be great if a youngster can make it to the big leagues in Europe this coming year.

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Image: Sunil Chhetri
Photographs: Getty Images

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Wish an Indian driver wins an F1 race!

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The inaugural Indian Formula One Grand Prix exceeded all expectations.

It would be perfect icing on the cake if an Indian driver secures a drive and triumphs at a Grand Prix.

Finally, the Indian Premier League must be shortened with fewer games. The meaningless Champions League T20 tournament must also be scrapped.

That will give Indian cricketers a well-deserved break in a packed sports calendar.


Image: Fans at the inaugural Indian F1 Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: T20

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