Sport is universally popular, but the sports that are played differ significantly by country. For example, in the United States, American football is considered the national game, whereas football is more prevalent in the United Kingdom. India has been synonymous with cricket for many years, but they are starting to branch out into other sports which are rapidly growing in popularity. Here we take a look at some of the sports that are in the limelight in India at the moment.
By far the most popular sport in India at the moment is cricket. It is played across the nation, and the international cricket team has played test matches against top-level competitors across the world. They also host many cricket tournaments, and because it is considered a large part of Indian culture, it will be played in most schools. Of course, this gives them an early chance to spot players with potential who may be able to take their cricket playing to a professional level in the future. Cricket has been played in the country since around 1792, which was also when the very first cricket clubs in the country came to be. They hold 19,000 tournaments and have approximately 3 million people registered as cricketers within India.
Globally, football is the most popular sport, having been invented in England in around 1863. The football following in India is definitely growing, and Indians enjoy watching international games from the English Premier League and La Liga in Spain. They have plenty of sports betting, and football is one of the most common for punters to place a bet on. The Indian Super League was formed to enable people to play the game, and they have eight teams within the country which started in around 2014. There is also a second National Football League in India called the I-League, which was first created in about 2007. Football is an excellent game because it is a non-contact game, which seems to be something that the Indian culture perceives to be a better way to play sport.
We tend to associate hockey with school sports; however, there is a professional level of play worldwide. It has become incredibly popular in India and rivals cricket as the national sport. Field hockey
is an event at the Olympic Games, and the Indian team has won over eight gold medals. They have both a women's and men's team, and they are equally successful in attracting many spectators. The teams have a domestic league called the Hockey India League, which has its own games and tournaments, and they also have an international team that takes part in events on a global level. Hockey is a fast-paced non-contact sport that is played with a small ball and a curved stick. For player protection, various padding is available depending on which position you are playing, and all players can wear helmets.
Another sport rivalling to be top of the list is badminton
. It is incredibly popular across India and is actually currently ranked the second most popular sport, with field hockey hot on its heels. Again, you will find badminton at the Olympics, and in 1899 India formed its own badminton association, making this almost the oldest governing body overall across the sport. It is popular in schools as well as at a professional level. It garners a significant level of support as well as players hoping to develop the skills to become professional. Almost everyone in India either enjoys watching or playing this sophisticated game.
Most of the sports that are popular in India right now tend to be played with a ball and bat or stick in the case of hockey, and all are strictly non-contact sports. However, they do enjoy the English version of football which is known as soccer in America. Some people have begun to see the appeal of American football, which is a little bit more of a close contact sport akin to rugby in the UK. There is more potential for injury, but a smaller group have started to really enjoy this game giving it a new lease of life within India.
It is perhaps fair to say that it is more popular as a spectator sport at this stage, with people enjoying televised coverage of the biggest tournaments that take place across the United States. Again, it is a popular addition to sportsbook online bookmakers and is popular for Indians to bet on. At this stage, they don't really compete or take part at any significant level, but if popularity continues to increase, it is likely that leagues will be formed. Generally, there isn't much international play for American football, but they may find themselves able to play against some other countries.