Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Greed and the Indian cricketer

 So this piece in the Indian Express hit me hard - and it wasn't in the right way.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has rejected an informal request by the Indian team for greater rewards for winning the World Cup. 
BCCI president Shashank Manohar had announced that each member of the 15-man squad would receive Rs 1 crore, while the support staff would get Rs 50 lakh. But a couple of days after the victory, a few players asked for more. 
The players were demanding Rs 5 crore each, said a senior BCCI official. A top India player, on condition of anonymity, argued the team’s position: “If you see, only the top players benefit, and there is no doubt that we earn more than anybody, but what about players like Munaf Patel and others? These players make the Indian team and the BCCI earns so much because of them.” “We are not greedy for the money,” said the top cricketer. “But these (junior) players have made the BCCI rich and famous. There is no harm in asking for more especially since the Board will earn thousands of crores after India’s victory. A player’s life is very uncertain. Who knows what will happen next?”
The players also think that some members of the support staff might have got too much for doing very little. “Gary (Kirsten) and Paddy (Upton) getting Rs 50 lakh is fine. But even the logistics manager getting Rs 50 lakh? By that yardstick we should be getting more,” said the player.
BCCI secretary N Srinivasan was unavailable for a comment. But another top official said, “Do you think these players really need to be given so much money? One crore is not a small amount.”

For once, I agree with the BCCI. Here's my problem. Rs 1 crore isn't a small amount, but that's not all the money that they are making. Sahara and Nike, two of India's main sponsors will give each player more than what the BCCI has given. In 2003, each player received a similar amount and a house at Amby Valley just before the finals and look what happened.
For me, the average Indian cricketer is indisciplined. Yuvraj Singh's party pictures after the World Cup is a living example of that. It's great that he won the Man of the Series award during the tournament, but none of us can argue that he's a modern day sportsman with the physique to rival Arjuna Ranatunga.
For me, modern players like MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Mohammad Kaif and Sourav Ganguly have made me feel proud to be Indian. When I look at the others, I feel embarassed. Sreesanth, Sidhu and Harbhajan Singh are prime examples of players who I see and want to cringe in embarassment.
In a way, when I look at it, I feel that people like Anna Hazare going on a hunger fast was the best thing that happened to Indian cricket. Otherwise, we'd still be having lead stories on who won what after the World Cup. And yes, they would have been Page 1 stories.


  1. Agree with you. The players are well aware before the competition how much they're making per match and so on and so forth. The award of a crore each to every player is a bonus, so to speak. You may ask for more but there ain't no compulsion on the part of BCCI to accept it. You've each received a crore; be happy with it and now look forward to signing as many endorsement deals as you can.

    Having said that, the BCCI *is* going to make tonnes of money (not they weren't already). One does wonder if there is at least proportionate dispersion of cash (for example, 10% to state cricket boards, 10% to improving stadium infrastructure across the country etc.).

  2. Shekhar, if the BCCI thought like you and I, then we'd see India having an Australia-like setup. They don't even advertise for Ranji matches. It's kinda depressing at times.