Ahmedabad. When the Indian team under the leadership of Kapil Dev won the World Cup title in 1983, cricket fan Lata Mangeshkar had to perform a ‘concert’ to give a prize of Rs 1 lakh each to the team players. By the time the Indian team under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni became world champion for the second time in 2011, BCCI (Indian Cricket Board) had become the owner of billions of rupees.
In these 28 years, cricket had become an industry from a mere game. After 12 years, the Indian team under the leadership of Rohit Sharma will play the final match against Australia on Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad. During these 12 years, cricket has become a ‘soft power’ for the country. ‘Soft power’ refers to a country’s use of sport and culture to increase its geopolitical influence. Cricket gives India an opportunity to showcase its strength not only in the sporting community but also socio-politically in the larger context.
During the final on Sunday, the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an air-show by the Indian Air Force, two former World Cup-winning captains Kapil and Dhoni will be present in the spectators’ gallery, which can give an idea of the grandeur of the match. Amidst all this, many famous personalities from the world of sports, entertainment and politics will also be present there. Bollywood music director Pritam, singer Jonita Gandhi and Gujarati singer Aditya Gadhvi of Coke Studio will be part of the cultural programme.
In the program to be held before the toss and between the innings, 500 artists from Mumbai will dance to Bollywood songs. For the Australian team and for the large TV audience around the world, this cricket match will showcase India’s ‘soft power’. About 1.30 lakh spectators will be present inside the stadium, while about one billion people will watch the match through television or online, so they will not accept anything less than the title for the Indian team.
Like every match of India, in this match too the ground will be filled with fans wearing blue jerseys. The industry of fake team uniforms outside the stadium will also be at its peak. Where there will be a competition among the fans to buy jerseys with numbers 18 (Virat Kohli) and 45 (Rohit Sharma). This match will be memorable for the people in every aspect but it remains to be seen whether India becomes champion under the leadership of Rohit Sharma or not.