T20 World Cup celebrations over, it’s time to get behind our Olympians and women cricketers

After T20 World Cup celebrations, it’s time to back the other Blues (Image: BCCI/BCCI Women/IOA)

Now that the dust has settled on the T20 World Cup celebrations, it is time to reflect on what has been a heady week. First, the visuals from Mumbai and Delhi were a story of incredible India. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli dancing at the Wankhede is not something you see every day, and it has left a mark on all our minds. It is why you watch and write about cricket, and frankly it is what the sport is all about. As true devotees, they deserved their moment. And so did the fans.

But that’s not the point of this piece. I am all for the celebrations. In Delhi and in Mumbai, and every other part of the country. Sport is an opiate of the masses and people everywhere deserve to soak in the moment. However, it shouldn’t be a one-off. For a country aspiring to be a multi-sport nation, it can’t just be about the men’s cricket World Cup win. The women too will play a T20 World Cup in October this year, and have a very good chance of creating history. Going by the recent form of Harmanpreet Kaur and her team, India will go into the tournament as second-favourites after Australia. In conditions that will suit them, it could well be India’s tournament.

Spinners, everyone agrees, will come into play in Sylhet and Dhaka, and that’s India’s best chance. If it does happen, fingers crossed, I want to see the same victory parade in Mumbai. October being the festival season, all of India will get another opportunity to celebrate. I want the girls to come back in a chartered flight, have their moment under the sun and be celebrated in the very same manner. Get paid the same amount of money, and become national icons. That’s when Indian sport would have turned a leaf, and we would have taken the right steps towards becoming a multi-sport, gender-equal country.


Also, things shouldn’t stop at cricket. In just 15 days from now, we will be in Paris to witness the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. And, may I say, every medal winner deserves to be feted in the very same manner. Winning a medal at the Olympics is no less than a cricket World Cup win, and such achievements need to be memorialised for posterity . If India does manage to win 10 medals, and it is a realistic proposition for sure, the Indian Olympic Aassociation (IOA) should take a leaf out of the BCCI’s book and organise a similar celebration.

Neeraj Chopra or Sift Kaur Samra, assuming they make it to the podium, deserve to be celebrated with the same verve and passion as Rohit and Virat. This is what sport should be about. Celebrating athletic achievements in totality rather than being selective. And for fans, it is essential to back the blue. Not just in cricket, but at the Olympics as well. In fact, it was great to see the PM meet the cricketers and Paris 2024 competitors on the same day. It sent the message that India believes in celebrating multiple sports, and was a step in the right direction.

Mumbai has bettered the scenes we saw in Argentina after Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup in December 2022. The intensity and passion during the bus parade was something else. Nothing mattered to the fans, and the entire country came together in celebration. I am sure Neeraj will give us a chance in Paris. So will Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. And I sincerely hope that, be it Hyderabad or Delhi or Kolkata, we witness similar scenes in August – close to India’s 76th independence day – after our Olympic successes. That’s when the wheel would have turned full circle, and we take our place as a multi-sport nation.