Mumbai Sports & Recreation
Cricket is the most popular sport in the city, and is usually played in the maidans (grounds) around the city. Gully cricket, a modified form of cricket, is played in the narrow by-lanes of the city, especially on Sundays. Mumbai has produced several famous international cricketers), and is home to the Mumbai Cricket Association, the Cricket Club of India and the newly re-constituted Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). International cricket is widely watched, and the city almost comes to a virtual standstill on days when the Indian cricket team plays important matches. The city has two international cricket stadiums, the Wankhede Stadium and the Brabourne Stadium. The local Mumbai cricket team is among the strongest competitors in the Ranji Trophy, the nation’s top domestic cricketing circuit.
Soccer is the second most popular sport with the city clubs playing during the monsoons, when other outdoor sports cannot be played. The Football World Cup is one of the most widely watched television events in Mumbai. India’s national sport, field hockey, has gone into a sharp decline in the recent years, losing out in terms of popularity to cricket, though many Mumbai players play in the national team.
Other sports are mostly played in the numerous clubs and gymkhanas, and include tennis, squash, billiards, badminton, table tennis and golf. Mumbai also has a rugby club, the only one in the country. Every February, Mumbai holds the Derby races in the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The event sees many of the city’s glitterati attending, arrayed in the latest fashions. In recent times Formula 1 racing has also caught the public’s attention. Other sports such as volleyball and basketball are mostly popular in schools and colleges.