Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India

India is the most populated country in the world and most of its population is addicted to sports. There are various sports played and watched by Indian people. Here is the list of the most popular sports in India. 

List of 10 Major Sports in India

  1. Cricket
  2. Field Hockey
  3. Football 
  4. Cycling
  5. Badminton
  6. Kabaddi
  7. Tennis
  8. Wrestling
  9. Table Tennis
  10. Basketball

1) Cricket

Cricket is the most played and loved sport in India. The origins of cricket in India date back to the colonial era, and it became well-known after independence. The nation’s cricket issues are managed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

India’s greatest sporting triumph came in 1983 when, led by Kapil Dev, they won their first-ever Cricket World Cup. The nation will never forget this historic victory. The country won the Cricket World Cup again in 2011 under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Indian Premier League (IPL), a domestic Twenty20 competition that debuted in 2008, completely changed the landscape of the sport by combining local superstars with foreign talent.

Some cricketers have become legends, such as Sachin Tendulkar, who is frequently referred to as the “God of Cricket,” Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and Virat Kohli. These players have improved India’s cricketing prowess by shattering records and winning praise from around the world.

India’s victories in limited-overs, Test matches, and bilateral series demonstrate their enduring superiority. Millions of people come together in shared excitement during important cricket tournaments, demonstrating the sport’s worldwide appeal. India’s main rival in cricket is Pakistan. Millions of people around the world watch these two teams play against each other. 

India’s cricketing history is still a captivating story of talent, passion, and unwavering perseverance since the sport is still deeply ingrained in the country’s culture. 

2) Field Hockey

India’s sporting heritage is rich in field hockey, which is engrained in the nation’s past. The popularity of the sport skyrocketed when India dominated international events, especially the Olympics. From 1928 to 1956, India won six gold medals in field hockey at the Olympics in a row, an unprecedented accomplishment in the history of the sport.

An important factor in these triumphs was the contribution of Major Dhyan Chand, a legendary figure in Indian hockey. He received praise from all around the world for his goal-scoring ability and stick skills. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Dhyan Chand won another gold medal for India, demonstrating his extraordinary abilities.

The height of the game was concurrent with the golden era of Indian hockey, which produced hallowed players like Leslie Claudius, Roop Singh, and Balbir Singh Sr. History will never forget Balbir Singh Sr.’s incredible performance at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where he scored five goals in the championship game.

On the international front, Indian hockey has made a comeback after a recent downturn. Both the men’s and women’s teams have earned spots in the Olympic Games and shown themselves in esteemed competitions. The creation of the Hockey India League gave up-and-coming players a stage and helped to revitalize the game.

The heritage of India‘s past triumphs inspires as the country pursues greatness in field hockey, igniting a resurgence of interest in the game throughout the country.

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3) Football 

Football is one of the most loved sports in India which is gaining popularity due to both domestic and international championships. The nation’s football leagues, competitions, and national teams are all managed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The 2014 debut of the Indian Super League (ISL) has been crucial in raising the bar for Indian football. The league has drawn coaches and players from outside, which has helped to nurture domestic potential. In the ISL, well-known football teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC, and Bengaluru FC engage in intense competition.

Indian football has a rich history that includes victories in the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962 when the country won a gold medal. One of India’s best football players, Baichung Bhutia, has had a lasting impact on the game. The profile of the Indian national team has been further enhanced by the rise of Sunil Chhetri, who is currently the country’s all-time top goal scorer. He has the fourth-most goals in international football after Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Ali Daei. 

Although the Indian national football team is still aiming for success in international tournaments, there is hope for the future thanks to grassroots projects and youth development initiatives. Since football appeals to people of various backgrounds and locations, there is a thriving fan culture that enthusiastically supports both domestic and international football. The popularity of football is rising in India, which is indicative of the country’s growing passion for the beautiful game.

4) Cycling

Cycling is becoming more and more popular in India as a sport that mixes endurance and athleticism. Fans of the sport enjoy riding for both leisure and competition. The Cycling Federation of India (CFI) is in charge of the sport, planning national events and encouraging the growth of riders throughout the nation.

Cycling has witnessed a surge in popularity as a fitness activity in recent years, and there are many cycling groups and events that promote the sport. India’s profile in the world of cycling has grown even more with the emergence of professional teams and riders racing internationally.

Experienced Indian rider Arvind Panwar has competed internationally for his nation, demonstrating the country’s potential in cycling. Professional cycling competitions such as the Tour de India have drawn riders from all over the world, allowing Indian cyclists to compete at the highest level.

Cycling competitions like the MTB National Championships and the Hero MTB Himalaya have grown in popularity and draw both competitors and spectators. These gatherings support the expansion of adventure sports in India while also honoring the spirit of cycling.

In India, cycling has come to represent a better and environmentally conscious way of living since there is a growing emphasis on fitness and sustainable modes of transportation. The cycling community hopes for further infrastructure development, worldwide recognition, and promotion as the sport grows, creating a culture that values riding as a sport and a way to improve one’s well-being.

5) Badminton

In India, badminton has become a very successful and well-liked sport, with participation and accomplishments at the world level rising dramatically. Overseeing the sport, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) hosts national competitions and develops potential through community-based initiatives.

The accomplishments of India’s best badminton players serve as a clear testament to the country’s success. One of the most well-known shuttlers in India, P. V. Sindhu made Olympic history in 2016 by winning the silver medal and the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships. Another trailblazer in Indian badminton, Saina Nehwal won multiple international championships, including a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Since its founding in 2013, the Indian Premier Badminton League (PBL) has been instrumental in bringing the sport’s popularity by giving players from both home and abroad a venue to compete in a team format. The league structure has increased the level of excitement for Indian badminton players.

Indian badminton players have a strong track record of success in major international competitions including the All England Open, Malaysia Open, and Indonesia Open. The fact that mixed doubles players like Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are successful highlights India’s dominance in the game.

With more and more Indians taking an interest in badminton, the nation hopes to produce more elite players and maintain its status as a major player in the world of badminton. It is anticipated that the popularity of the sport will continue to rise due to elevated knowledge and involvement across the board, as well as the outstanding accomplishments of Indian athletes.

6) Kabaddi

Kabaddi has developed from a customary rural pastime to a popular and fiercely competitive sport with its roots in Indian culture. The International Kabaddi Federation and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) are in charge of managing the sport on a national and international scale.

The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which debuted in 2014, has revolutionized the professional sport of kabaddi’s popularity. The league has drawn a ton of spectators, drawn elite players from all around the globe, and given Indian talent a stage on which to display their abilities. PKL has helped the sport become more popular commercially and has grown to be a significant athletic event in the nation.

In international kabaddi, India enjoys a strong reputation thanks to its national teams’ regular success in events like the Asian Games and Kabaddi World Cup. The continued domination of Indian athletes in the sport, such as Rahul Chaudhari, Ajay Thakur, and Anup Kumar, has been crucial.

The appeal of kabaddi is that it’s athletic and straightforward, so players of all ages can enjoy it. At the grassroots level, kabaddi events are actively participated in by schools and universities, demonstrating the sport’s growing popularity.

The popularity of kabaddi has spread throughout the world as India continues to embrace the game, with notable advancements being made in Bangladesh, South Korea, Iran, and other nations. The introduction of kabaddi academies and its participation in multi-sport competitions indicate that the sport has a promising future both domestically and globally as spectators continue to be enthralled by its distinct combination of strength, agility, and strategy.

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7) Tennis

Tennis has become a well-liked and internationally known sport in India, and there is a long history of players succeeding on the world stage. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is in charge of managing tennis in the nation; it also hosts national competitions and helps players advance to different levels of play.

India has made significant progress in the singles and doubles tennis domains. Known as the “Indian Express,” Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won Grand Slam doubles titles at the French Open and Wimbledon, earning them recognition on a global scale. Pioneering female tennis player Sania Mirza has risen to the top of the women’s doubles rankings and made history with her Grand Slam victories in doubles and mixed doubles.

The popularity of tennis has increased since professional leagues like the Champions Tennis League (CTL) and the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) were established in India. These leagues give Indian and international players a stage on which to compete in a team structure.

Indian tennis players, such as Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ankita Raina, and Rohan Bopanna, are proving their mettle on the world tennis scene by leaving their imprint in several international competitions.

With notable victories that will live on in the records of Indian tennis history, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup have played a significant role in developing a strong sense of team spirit among Indian tennis players. India’s tennis community looks forward to a bright future as the nation’s infrastructure and facilities for playing the game continue to advance, create more champions, and improve India’s reputation in the international tennis community.

8) Wrestling

In Indian sports culture, wrestling is highly esteemed and has a rich history and legend. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is in charge of overseeing the sport, planning national competitions, and developing athletes from amateur to professional ranks.

India has a rich history in wrestling, having produced strong competitors who have placed well in numerous international tournaments. Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt are well-known individuals who have improved India’s standing in the world of wrestling. Their success at the 2012 London Olympics elevated wrestling to a prominent position in Indian sports.

The Pro Wrestling League (PWL), which debuted in 2015, has been instrumental in elevating the sport’s profile and level of professionalism in India. Indian wrestlers now have the opportunity to fight against foreign stars thanks to the league model, which has helped wrestling become more popular as a spectator sport.

India’s many medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Wrestling Championships attest to its dominance in traditional wrestling techniques like freestyle and Greco-Roman. Famous wrestlers like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia have inspired a new generation of wrestlers, and their victories have made them household names.

Akhadas, or traditional wrestling training centers, are the main source of wrestling growth in India. The popularity of the sport has spread throughout the nation due to its physical demands and inclusivity.

India’s wrestlers hope to carry on the tradition of a sport that is ingrained in the country’s culture by making a name for themselves in international contests and the Olympic arena. Wrestling’s continued popularity and success point to a bright future for the sport in India.

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9) Table Tennis

The fast-paced, skillful sport of table tennis has become popular in India, where more and more players are succeeding at the national and international levels. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is responsible for managing the sport’s operations, hosting competitions, and promoting the growth of players throughout the nation.

Several talented table tennis players who have made major contributions to the sport have come from India. One of India’s most well-known table tennis players, Achanta Sharath Kamal, has won medals for his skill and sportsmanship while competing for his nation in several Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Manika Batra, another rising star, became well-known throughout the world as a result of her accomplishments at important competitions like the Commonwealth Games.

Since its introduction in 2017, the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) league has been instrumental in bringing the sport’s popularity to a wider audience by giving players from both domestic and foreign countries a team-based arena to display their skills. Table tennis has become more popular as a spectator sport in India thanks in part to the league’s competitive matches.

In international table tennis tournaments like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Table Tennis Championships, India’s players have achieved noteworthy progress. In 2018, Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal, playing mixed doubles, created history by earning a bronze medal at the Asian Games. This was a major accomplishment for Indian table tennis.

There is a noticeable increase in the number of school and college players playing table tennis as a result of the growing focus on training facilities and grassroots development. Table tennis has become more popular in India due to its accessibility and inclusiveness, which has contributed to the growth of a vibrant community in the sport. Table tennis has a promising future in India’s sports scene as its athletes continue to leave their mark on the world arena.

10) Basketball

Basketball has been steadily gaining popularity in India, with a growing number of fans engaging in the sport at various levels. Besides running national leagues, competitions, and development initiatives, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is in charge of overseeing basketball operations in the nation.

Basketball has become more popular in India, as seen by the country’s players competing in international leagues and tournaments. India’s potential in sports was shown when Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first player of Indian descent to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), made history. Basketball has been greatly aided at the grassroots level in India by NBA programs like the NBA Academy and the Junior NBA program.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) India Games have given spectators the chance to watch live elite basketball as NBA teams play preseason games in India. These kinds of events help the sport’s expanding national fan base.

To promote the country’s basketball talent internationally, the Indian men’s and women’s basketball teams have been actively competing in regional and international events, such as the FIBA Asia Cup and the Commonwealth Games. Indian basketball players who have gained acclaim for their talent and leadership, such as Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Prashanti Singh, have played a significant role in the nation’s basketball history.

The development of professional basketball leagues, such as the 3×3 Pro Basketball League and the National Basketball Association (NBA) Basketball School, has accelerated the sport’s expansion. These leagues give athletes a stage on which to display their skills and advance basketball in India as a whole.

The sport of basketball appears to have a bright future as it continues to draw interest from young people and gain popularity across the country. There will be more prospects for growth in the infrastructure and more Indian players might perhaps become well-known players on the international basketball scene.


People of India love sports, especially cricket. However, other sports are also gaining popularity in the country as youngsters are inspired to become professional athletes. Players like Virat Kohli and Sunil Chhetri have made their names in their respective sports and gained fans from all around the world. This article discussed the most popular sports in India. 


What Is the National Sport of India?

Hockey is the national sport of India as it is the oldest game in the nation. The Indian Hockey Federation approved it in 1925.

Which Is the Fastest-Growing Sport in India?

Kabaddi is considered the fastest-growing sport in India after the launch of the Indian domestic Pro Kabaddi League. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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