India lost today to New Zealand in World Cup Cricket, and ended its 2019 tournament. New Zealand, once a minnow in cricket, will now play the championship match either with England or Australia. The tournament is being played in England.

India spends billions of dollars in cricket. It does not have money for any other sports, and India has a miserable show on global sports arena. There is no lack of men and women talents in the enormous country, but the ruling powers and their billionaire corporations never cared for sports and games and athleticism.

India’s show in other international sports events such as the Olympics has been pathetic. Why? Because cricket has all the money, cricket has all the media attention, and cricket has all the corporate sponsorship. Yet, only ten countries participate in World Cup, out of which England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies do well in many other games. India does not.

USA, Russia, China, France, Germany, Brazil, Cuba, Belgium, Holland and other such giant sports countries never play cricket: the entire cricket culture is confined to English colonial nations we loosely call the Commonwealth. But courtesy media hype, even the local paan shop vendor and rickshaw puller take interest in cricket, believing India is truly number one in the world. It gives them pride.

A massive ultra-patriotism springs up. Work at offices practically comes to a halt when India plays cricket. Players on the Indian team are worshiped like gods. And some of them are extremely arrogant: police cases have been filed against some of them for their bar brawls, etc. Some of them have been given a slap on the wrist for their alleged involvement in multi-billion-dollar mafia betting and underground gambling and match fixing. All star players are multi-millionaires in a very poor country, where the poor do not have enough to eat, can’t send their children to school, and end up living on the streets — even in harsh cold or hot weather.

Even after this embarrassing defeat today, there is hardly any criticism of either the players or the way they failed. Indian ruling class has found a great way to distract people from their miserable money, health, education, environment, racism and sexism problems with this magnificent toy. Most Indian know the names of their celebrity cricket players, but cannot tell the names of their prime minister, finance minister, or health or education minister.

Indian society never criticizes their gods and goddesses who are rich and famous and flamboyant and flim flam. Media and big-name politicians and celebrities ask them not to do it. Life goes on without a hitch (for the one percent) that way.