Northeasterners love sports. Many sportspersons from the region have made their mark at the international level. Barring one, in almost all the sporting disciplines, the sportspersons from the region are the best in the country. Yes, the Northeasterners are yet to make a mark in Cricket which is the most popular game in India these days. Popularity of some cricketers is more than cine stars. Moreover, they are well established and are in the top bracket in earning. For example, a couple of years ago a list of sportspersons who earn in millions, was published. The captain of the then Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name was fifth in that list above Novak Djokovic, who was an upcoming tennis star at that time. Just imagine the situation. Tennis is an Olympic sport and it is a popular game worldwide. On the other hand, Cricket is played only in few countries and in most parts of Europe and American continents, people are unaware of the existence of such a game. But that didn’t prevent Dhoni from becoming one of the richest sportspersons in the world. Yes, over the years, Cricket has become such a money-spinner in India. These days almost every parent wants their son to become cricketers not only for the fame and opportunity to represent the country in the international arena, but also Cricket, these days is considered one of the most lucrative career options in India.
But then why is there no Northeasterner among those who have made a mark in Cricket? Do the people of the region have no liking for the game? Many such questions can be raised. But the answer will always be negative. People from the Northeast are fascinated about sports and once they adopt a discipline they don’t stop before attaining the desired heights. So, what are the reasons that have kept the Northeasterners from the game of Cricket? The answer is simple. If the Northeasterners are yet to excel in Cricket, it is because of apathy of those who manage the game in the country. Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has never shown any willingness to nurse the budding cricketing talents from the region. Even some of the states are yet to be members of BCCI. Barring few international matches in Guwahati, BCCI has done nothing to promote the popular game in this part of the country.
The most glaring example of such apathy is the absence of a team from the Northeast in cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Teams from all parts of the country are there in the league, but not from Northeast. BCCI promotes Dharamshala, Gwalior, Kochi and even Goa, but not Dimapur. Why? The question should be answered by BCCI. Have BCCI ever given guidelines and framed time to bring the Northeast on the cricketing map of the country? Why? The Northeasterners have every right to raise this question. One should admit that at present the cricketing skills of the Northeasterners are not up to the mark. But how far the sporting people of the region can achieve can be judged from the fact that the Indian Super League (ISL) from its very first edition has inducted a team from the region and the result is there for everyone to see. Within five years of commencement of the said football league, the hub of Indian football has almost been transferred from Kolkata to Northeast. One will find very few Bengali footballers are participating in the league, but there is no dearth of representation of Northeast. So, we hope that in near future, BCCI will rectify the mistake and soon we will find cricketers from Northeast representing India.