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Baseball Lands in Cricket Land

By: Murali Kamma Email By: Murali Kamma
September 2010
Baseball Lands in Cricket Land Baseball in India seems unlikely, although the Amateur Baseball Federation of India was formed in 1983. That year was a high point for Indian cricket, ironically enough, when the Kapil Dev-led team bagged the World Cup. India didn’t reach that pinnacle again, but cricket retains its hold on the country like no other sport.

Baseball, meanwhile, has remained a marginal pastime in India.

No, that’s not entirely accurate. Manipur is, reportedly, emerging as a hub for baseball enthusiasts in India. For the third year in a row, there has been a training camp in Manipur for coaches, points out The Wall Street Journal. Two trainers this year were from America’s Major League Baseball International.

“Within India, Manipur is a good base because its people have long had a strong sports culture,” the newspaper adds. “Many of India’s national-level sportspeople come from Manipur, including weight-lifting champion Nameirakpam Kunjarani Devi, boxing medalist Dingko Singh, and several players in India’s soccer team.”

India has a national baseball team, which won a bronze medal at the first Asian Cup Baseball Championship in Manila, Phillipines, and a silver medal at the third championship in Chandigarh. Then there is the case of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel. In an Indian talent contest on TV, the two javelin throwers were signed up by the Pittsbugh Pirates. Singh, who won the $100,000 top prize, pitched at 89 miles per hour, while Patel pitched at 87 miles per hour.

Now even U.S.-based Topps, which is the top producer of baseball and football cards, is coming to India. There is a twist, though. Topps is making cricket cards for the Indian market. Unsurprising. No other sport in India can dethrone cricket from its top position.

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