Sometimes I wonder why these two are different in most countries. Some countries haven’t declared an official national sport but some have, and there are many instances where its different from the most popular sport.
To give a few examples,,Field Hockey is the national game in both India and Pakistan but obviously Cricket is the most popular by far. In Sri Lanka, Volleyball is the National Sport but Cricket is the popular one. Sri Lankan Volleyball team to my knowledge is not strong in international standards but Cricket team is. I really don’t know whether Sri Lanka even competes at international level in Volleyball!
Another interesting country is Australia. It seems like there is no declared official national game but there are some indications that Cricket is the national sport.
Australian Cricket team is by far the strongest team in the world but it is the most popular game in the country? My personal gut feeling is that it is not. Above links do have some good discussion about this. Well, people love cricket, they follow it, but they are not crazy for it as they are for Australian Rules football, popularly known as Footy. Summer is Cricket and winter is Footy, but I really didn’t see high craziness for Cricket during last summer where Aussies devastated England during the Ashes. Footy is very much a part of the life, people are just crazy over it, its not international, just between clubs, but every match is packed with spectators. On Friday, after work, there are busses from the city to the Footy. The whole weekend starting from Friday night is Footy, Footy and Footy only. Daily TV news has about 15 minutes of Footy news and it allocated about 45 seconds for world cup Cricket! Even when Aussies won a WC match that was the situation. For a change, the world cup win made the first news, but if someone measured the time, it probably was given lesser time than Footy! More details on Footy can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football