Pro Kabaddi League now pride of India
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may still be reeling under the Lodha panel impact; the country’s wrestling fraternity could still be under the mat over the Narsingh Yadav fallout but there is one sport that is in a state of euphoria, a sport that enjoys a massive fan-following.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may still be reeling under the Lodha panel impact; the country’s wrestling fraternity could still be under the mat over the Narsingh Yadav fallout but there is one sport that is in a state of euphoria, a sport that enjoys a massive fan-following. Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which concluded on a grand note on Sunday, has been a huge success both in terms of television audience and spectator presence.
As the dust settles and one more edition goes into the pages of history, it is time to take stock of the impact PKL has had on the world stage. It has come as a Godsend platform to millions of loyalists, who swear by the rugged sport that has its roots in India. PKL has made people from other countries to take note and appreciate the traditional Indian sport, which is perhaps the biggest tribute to the PKL magic as it could spread the sport’s reach to urban vistas, something that even seven consecutive Asian Games gold medals could not! Given this phenomenal penetration, it goes without saying that it hardly matters as to which team clinched the eventual honours in any of the four editions.
It has been a win-win situation for all stake-holders, from the promoters, sponsors and players to the spectators. The idea itself has been so overwhelming that like the cricketing original, even PKL has attracted celluloid celebrities and premier corporate houses into its fold. No one is regretting the decision as they are all sitting back fully contended that they were all treated to quality kabaddi. The eight team-based sports extravaganza is, in fact, redefining the art of cultivating sports culture in the country.
Taken from a different angle, whilst the cult-pioneering Indian Premier League (IPL) has been an annual feature, PKL has gone a couple of notches above IPL. Bolstered by the overwhelming response, which gets evidenced by the packed stadiums, PKL has been made into a twice-a-year affair. This is not a gamble but a deep-rooted decision that has been taken after a close study of the ground-realities, feasibilities and practicalities, all of which stand testimony to the growing popularity of an ancient Indian sport that was often dubbed as a rural discipline and not meant for the elite sections of the society.
PKL has been able to break this societal equation, which also translated into better financial rewards for the players, some of whom have become national celebrities. However, there is one classification where PKL has gone past the IPL by several steps. As things stand, woman cricketers have been exhorting BCCI to start a parallel IPL for them. It is rather unfortunate that the Board has maintained a stony silence over the issue. In complete contrast, PKL has actually taken a head-start, something that has brought cheer from all quarters. Women’s Kabaddi Challenge held simultaneously has been a big draw and that’s perhaps where PKL is way ahead of IPL.