A critical test

India's politicians should ask themselves why their sportsmen attract so much more interest than their policies

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Cricket fans in the UAE will be salivating at the news that 16 matches of the Indian Premier League – the world’s richest and most glamorous cricket competition – will be played in a month’s time on pitches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah from April 16.

Many of the nationalities that comprise the tapestry of the UAE love cricket. Australians, South Africans and most of the English follow it closely, but for those hailing from South Asian countries, the sport is practically a religion. Most Indian nationals can easily spout the match averages of their nation’s top batsmen and bowlers.

The same can’t be said for the other blood sport that is the reason for the IPL’s travels. It is because of India’s general elections in April and May that the competition will be moved. But many Indians are apathetic about politics, believing (with some justification) that the political class are corrupt, calcified and nepotistic.

In the eerily cricket-free atmosphere of India’s cities next month, the country’s politicians would do well to ponder why the sport of the common man generates so much more enthusiasm and devotion than the world’s largest electoral contest.