Cricket is clearly the most popular sport in Mumbai, and elsewhere in India. Not many nations in the world may be a fan of the sport but cricket in Mumbai is like American Football in the U.S., soccer in Brazil, or sumo wrestling in Japan. Cricket may not be as popular in America, but since it is played all over Europe, Australia and India, this bat-and-ball game is considered the second most popular sport in the world next to soccer. In India alone, the sport has millions of fan since this nation of cricket lovers is the second most populous country in the world.
Mumbai residents look forward to major cricket competitions that they are almost regarded as national holidays. Three of the best cricket stadiums are found in Mumbai. They are the Brabourne Stadium at Churchgate, Wankhede Stadium, and D.Y.Patil Stadium, where international cricket games and local championships are usually held. Although everybody wants to get inside these sport arenas to watch the games, many locals are happy to play or watch free cricket games of their own on some empty city streets. Locals enjoy a game or two at Ruia College, Azad Maidan, Shivaji Park, and Marine Lines, and believe it or not these amateur street matches are also drawing a crowd of spectators.
Cricket has a number of similarities with baseball, including the bat, pitch, innings, and the goals of the game: the batting team tries to hit the ball as hard as they can and make a run for it, while the defending team tries to strike them out. The differences are instead of a diamond, the cricket field is oval-shaped, and instead of running around bases, the batter makes a score by running to the opposite end of the field and touching the crease. The crease is demarcated by white painted lines or chalk.
The sport was introduced by the British when they were in control of India. Cricket was first played in England in the 16th century, and by the end of the 18th century, it was considered as England’s national sport. In the mid-19th century, cricket has found its way to several countries under the British rule. Today, it is widely enjoyed in the member-countries of the International Cricket Council, which include Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, the West Indies, South Africa, England, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.
In the Indian circuit, the three national Mumbai teams, which compete separately, are considered among the best in the country. They have competed in the Finals several times and have won the coveted Ranji Championship trophy several times as well. In fact, the first team to have ever won the Ranji in 1934-1935 was a team in Mumbai (then called Bombay). From the first 20 seasons, Bombay won seven championships.
Today, the most popular team is the Mumbai Cricket Team (the two other teams from Mumbai are Maharashtra and Vidarbha cricket teams), having won the Ranji recently in 2009-2010. Based in Wankhede Stadium in the southern part of the city, Mumbai Cricket Team is upholding the championship spirit as locals continue to utterly enjoy cricket in Mumbai.