I have lived in Chennai all my life, and I must say that it's truly a cricket loving city. We Chennai people like our cricket and we know to appreciate good cricket. We have healthy local cricket structure which is, in my opinion, one of the best in the country. The problem I have is that the spectators for the local cricket have drastically gone down, and that isn't really good sign for cricket. I think authorities and everyone who could make a difference should try and bring crowds back to local cricket. They need to create local cricket stars, and that will go a long way is driving the young generation in sport, in fact playing the sport for the love of it. I think even though Chennai is pretty alright with youngsters wanting to cricket, the informal cricket seems to have dried out, and that's another change that has saddened me. I am sure citizens associations or even the youth in the city can come together and run a campaign - "let's play cricket", and make the city, well and truly, cricket loving as well as cricket playing city.
I have lived in all four metros in the country, and over the years the whole culture of "playing sport" seems to be on its way down. I am not referring to playing sport in an organised manner - like at clubs or in coaching camps, but I am referring to common person going out and playing. Cricket, like some other team sports, , has been one of the victims. And I believe it is important for us as a country to get that back, if we were to grow organically as a sports loving country. We have to also be sports playing country. My suggestion would be following - a) Make playing fields mandatory in city planning, just like the infrastructure is being built, b) Create and utilise public spaces by using rooftops of major public places like bus terminals, railway stations and other, and c) It should be made mandatory for companies in the cities to create of make available open spaces that can be utilised by the public.
I think considering the dearth of spaces and the difficulty in finding and maintaining grounds for sports - it is time that the people of the city got involved in fixing this issue. Expecting government to do that is not the best way forward. It would be an executable idea to let residents association, along with local companies, adopt a ground. It would be there responsibility to maintain the ground and make sure it's not exploited by encroachers of all kinds. They can work in conjunction with the municipal authorities. An initiative like this will make sure that there is accountability and personal interest in maintaining and protecting open spaces. The companies, who come forward to help the residents association to maintain the ground, can donate things or sponsor various things for the ground. In return they could be provided with banners and hoardings on the ground or on the fences.
Kolkata has never been the city for cricket, or rather cricket-city only. Football is pretty massive, and that's obvious. But in a strange way cricket existed with football, and it still continues to. Like all other cities Kolkata too has its problems with open spaces, and opportunity for kids to play sport - be it cricket or football. I think it would be near to impossible to change what is there in the old city, but what can be planned better is the outskirts and the new areas that are developing. If the authorities make it mandatory for the developers to concentrate on developing playgrounds then it would be a great step. I think if the planning also emphasis on the open spaces and grounds in the vicinity then I am sure it will be a much better situation as we go along.
The entire concept of going out and playing cricket on the grounds especially during the summer vacation is lost. I see kids attending extra classes even during summer holidays. Summer camps, special classes do exist but they do not give any work for the body, they are purely art-oriented or academic related. Before looking for a proper ground, an interest should be inculcated among the children to go out and taste a bit of biting heat and stretch out their muscles. In Chennai, I do not find kids playing cricket, so busy they have become. Strange. There are many grounds, closely located at Chennai. These grounds could be used brilliantly by conducting matches often. If there are ten major streets, and one ground close to their area, then street-league matches could be encouraged. What could be done is perhaps a tie with the ground authorities and conduct street wise matches. This would create a wave of young-budding playing to participate. By this, the facility of the available space is utilized, and an opportunity is provided for the kids.
One has to just look at the sorry state of one of the iconic grounds of Bangalore - the Palace Grounds - to realise what has happened to the grounds in our cities. Once famous for cricket camps and innumerable matches, now the Palace Grounds is reduced to being used for exhibitions, concerts and marriages. As a cricket lover one feels very sorry to even go to that ground. Almost every possible cricketer to have come out of Bangalore has played there, and now it feeds of crass commercialisation. I think the problem is with the will to preserve grounds like these in the face of immense commercialisation. I think the onus is with the owners/management who stand to make less money if it's provided solely for cricket, and expecting such would be an useless exercise. I think a middle ground has to be found, where certain concessions are made, and the authorities make sure that commercial use as well as sports co-exist, and I think that would be the best way forward.
Bangalore, as it was once called, is no longer the Garden City. With apartment culture shadowing every other avenue that was once used as a mini cricket playground, we are hardly left with any space to hit a Gayle-ish six. Trying an Uper-cut would land you up in a stern meeting with your dad for you hit and broke your neighbour's windows! My idea is to focus on net-cricket, also referred as indoor cricket. Every apartment can afford to employ the nets and required accessories in either the basement or on the terrace. With that, all the kids of the locality or at least of the street get to play together and practice the game without any fear of cracking down the glasses of the parked car. With literally no space left for the game, this comes as some solace.
The upcoming generation has become used to the gadgets and are confined to their homes only. The interaction with other kids is only academical and thus any sports activity like playing cricket is out of question. The issue here is two fold - lack of interest and lack of opportunity. These can be encountered by promoting cricket at an elementary level in schools and colleges. This could be via inter/intra institute tournaments and helping the brightest of players to visit cricket academies in India. The other thing that can be done is to tie up with Resident Welfare Associations and ensure there are ample play grounds within the vicinity.
It's true that due to lack of space, grounds have been transformed into multi-storey buildings or shopping complexes. In Lucknow we don't really face the problem of shortage of ground to play cricket. Often we have to face the problem of marriage ceremony at the grounds, but on that particular day we play on the vacant space or shift to some other ground. Sometimes we don't get space, then we play on roads. But yes, situation could be better - marriages, receptions and such functions should not be held on grounds. For this citizens and authorities should join hands, that alone can sort half the problem. It's a fact that for playing the game you must have abundant spirit and passion, cricket should win and not excuses.
Now the situation is so bad that every fortnight they have a function on the ground, they dig the ground and when it's over there are pits all over the outfield. Even children are injured. Once they even dug the centre pitch. It became very difficult to play in such conditions. And they organize random political rallies. Grounds should be preserved for playing. With the current rate of globalization, within 15 to 20 years there won't be any ground left in the country for the children to play and the gully cricket have to be actually played in the gully and the roads. Even in such bad conditions of grounds, all is not lost. There are some well wishers left. There is a club, which occupies half the ground and the others play in the other half. Their coach has helped the children by recreating the centre pitch for the locals. All is still not lost, hats off to such deeds.
Picking future hero's from the streets. There are many talented & capable guys who never get a chance to bring it to the upper level. Most of the schools and colleges don't take sports very seriously and that's the only route to go to the next level, unless you spend a lot for taking cricket couching by a decent coach at a good place. Middle class families can't afford such expenses and the talent dies at the streets and playgrounds. So I think there must be something similar to the talent hunt, example - Indian Idol or Dance India Dance. An organizers must visit the major cities and pick guy who are good and have potential to perform, For example - 100 best guys are selected, coach them for a month and select 20-30 out of it am sure there will be at least one Tendulkar and minimum 10 very good players who might have never got a chance to even feel the grass on the ground, And sell them to the IPL teams. From the organizers point of perspective they will make huge success and money by this event.
The format which we have currently for IPL can be expanded and number of teams can be increased. Small cities can be given franchises. Again the sub-leagues can be introduced as we have in various domestic soccer leagues which will help in accommodating increased number of teams and we can have a system of promotion and relegation as well. Further the tournament should span over the whole year so that popularity and excitement will be maintained as the matches will be held on weekends only. Now-a-days watching these matches everyday becomes boring. In this format if player has a international duty he can join his international team, meanwhile remaining teams will keep on playing the tournament. This will give a chance to younger and newer players and new rising stars can be found out with this. Advantages are we can find quality players, employment for millions of people, sustained interest in the game, chance for showing the skill for all the players and last but not the least huge economical boost.
Turf wickets and grassy outfields - most of the cricket grounds in the city are devoid of any grass which does not help in improving the fielding standards. Also, a lot of cricket is played on matting wickets and the youngters do not really excel when it comes to playing on real turf wickets. The matting wicket does nothing for the bowlers (neither turn nor any movement of the bowl) and the ball just comes on to the bat nicely. I have faced this trouble when I tried to play cricket on turf and when the ball moved around it had me in trouble.
Create open tournaments of different age-limits so that kids can join and showcase their talent. This is happening very rarely in India and many talented cricketers are not getting their chance.
Actually its very ironic to say that there is no proper space and time for cricket in such a great city like Hyderabad. Over the past few years, Hyderabad's so-called 'evolution' can be attributed to the increase of the concrete jungle and the mushrooming of the corporate schools and colleges, to make sure that youngsters are left with no proper space and time. One cannot play gully cricket anymore,thanks to the innumerable cars and other motorvehicles that are being parked in every possible inch. One may argue that there are grounds to play cricket but it has to be noted that hundreds of people cannot be accomodated in a single ground. And except some big international schools, many other schools have forgotten what the outdoor games are like. So when the city is in such a pitiable state, something must be done to promote cricket in the city. Why not construct some indoor cricket grounds? A nominal fee can also be taken from the public to use them, in such a way that even the poor have an access to it. And open them everywhere in the city so that people can still relish the game.
The rapid urbanization has had a significant downside in the city of Mumbai. All the space is utilized for construction of buildings and the like. Empty spaces are an absolute luxury which hardly anyone can afford. No wonder, the cricket in the city is on a rapid decline. A couple of ideas: 1. Stop the mega political rallies in the iconic play grounds such as Shivaji Park. Honestly, these rallies don't serve any purpose to us common folks. 2. A crusade to include sports education in the school curriculum. Don Bosco School, Matunga is a wonderful such example. 3. Make spaces available in localities. Something like a common ground for a particular set of buildings. A kind of rule which forces the builders to leave apart or a particular area open
Kids are glued more to television and are happy watching the sport and not playing it. The root cause is an absolute lack of playgrounds which are now being used more as marriage halls and ceremonies and organizing award functions. As a true cricket lover I would like appeal to all those who are concerned to come out now and fight for more playing areas. I still play the game and I like it to the core. We should make grounds compulsory for all schools so that students of all ages can play cricket. There should be a ground, a separate space in each and every building for kids to play. It should be mandatory for every builder to allocate space for cricket. Sport should be included as a subject in academics. All these I am sure will definitely improve and encourage the young generation to play the game
Lions and playgrounds are a thing of past in India, both of them is disturbing the ecological balance of the nature. If you want to see Lions, go to zoos and playgrounds are mostly visible in big schools and plush private societies. The normal grounds which saw children sweating it out in summers and evenings do not exist anymore. Either these are in very bad shape or a shopping complex has been constructed over it. I don't see civic authorities doing much to save these open spaces and we are heading towards disaster in the name of development. Now if our young ones want to play proper cricket, enroll them in a cricket camp or internet era still rules over outdoor sports.
Being in Surat was never deprived of a space to play cricket, played 15 years of cricket on streets, cow grazing fields, backyards and even a parking lots, always had to find a place at the last moment to get a game in. There were a few places for playing daily cricket but was did not have 100% accessibility and availability. My Idea of everyday guaranteed cricket session for every cricket lover: "Parking lot Cricket". Parking lot is one of the basic amenities that every real estate project gives a great importance. We cannot restrict the construction of buildings, but we can always leverage on the amenity like parking lots which they provide. With dual utility parking lots can be used to play cricket with minimal interruption to regular day to day chores. Parking lots can be converted into a compact but fully equipped after-office hours and weekend cricket venue complete with markings, seating arrangements, minimal fencing to prevent any damage. Daily parking during business hours could continue in the day time, while evening that space is used to play cricket. This way even office going people like me can enjoy cricket after office hours.
Bring in a Gully Cricket Club forum and present it to the elected representatives of the city. Fight for space and start a Gully Premier League where every one who aspires to become a cricketer can participate. But the forum should be without the involvement of Politics in the activities. Soon looking forward for a GPL
The cricket board should help those young talented boys who drop their dreams because of money. We should give them hope and make their pathway, and help them reach their goals and build up their career by their hard work and passion for cricket
It's high time that grounds that people play cricket on are not used for political rallies or even private exhibitions. They damage the round and make it unplayable for months. They don't even bother to undo the damage that they have done to the ground.
In cities there are simply too many options for people to engage themselves, and a sport like cricket seems to be too much trouble. Having said this - don't think there is enough done by the authorities with respect to ensuring there are open spaces for people to encourage them to play cricket, even as a past time.
I think it's a massive cultural shift in the cities, and I don't think Mumbai which was synonymous with cricket is the same anymore. Unlike the popular perception, kids growing up don't take to cricket as youngsters did a decade back, and one of the reasons for this is the lack of open spaces and avenues for youngsters to play outdoor sports.
Growing up in Dahisar we had more than one ground that we could go to play cricket, actually all outdoor sports, but now with many of those grounds have vanished. In fact, the real estate demand is so high in th city that builders and the authorities are not leaving any open space is the city. It's a sad situation, and I wonder what will be left for the coming generation.