While field hockey is India’s national sport, for which India has claimed eight Olympic gold medals, the country’s greatest enthusiasm is for cricket. You’ll see locals playing cricket in fields called maidans, and you’ll see groups of youngsters practicing their cricket skills on the streets. The Indian Cricket Team is the national team of India, with Sachin Tendulkhar being the current favorite player. There are a few traditional Indian sports and several sports brought to India by the British, including football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, squash, hockey, and boxing.
Traditional Indian Sports
Traditional Indian sports include kabbadi, kho kho, pehlwani.
Kabbadi, which translates to “holding of the hand,” is an unusual team wrestling sport in which breath holding, hand holding, tackling, dodging, and teasing are necessary skills for victory.
Kho kho is a team sport all about avoiding physical contact with members of the opposing team. During a game, one team sits on the floor. The sitting team must try to tag the opposing team members, who run around the line of the sitting opponents and avoid being “tagged.” It’s a popular game with children.
Pehlwani is a Persian type of wrestling. Competitions are called dangals and the winner is determined by a panel of judges.
Spectator Sports in Mumbai
Dinshaw Wachha Road, Churchgate
Phone: 022 6659 4100
Hosts international and domestic cricket matches. Seats 20,000 spectators. You can buy Cricket Tickets Online at http://www.kyazoonga.com
D Road, Churchgate
The second largest stadium in India and home to the Mumbai Cricket Association. 45,000 capacity. Currently being examined and renovated due to safety concerns.
D Road, Churchgate
Bombay Hockey Association
Phone: 022 2281-1271
Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Mahalaxmi
Phone: 022 2307 1401
Admission Rs 25. Call ahead to reserve tickets or buy tickets at the entrance.
Cooperage Road, Churchgate
Big and basic stadium. For tickets and information contact the Western Indian Football Association at 022 2202 4020
Major Sporting Events
Domestic cricket championship. Mumbai is the current champion and holds the record for most wins. October to January.
Bombay Gold Cup
Popular hockey tournament. April to May.
Royal Western India Turf Club Derby
Held at Mahalaxmi Racecourse in February.
Held in Mumbai in January. Prize up to $30,000.00. See http://www.mumbaimarathon.in for more details.