The Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket Series is on for the past couple of weeks and will go on for the next few weeks.
Nothing dominates the social and family conversation as much as cricket these days. Apart from its entertainment value, I detect that one reason could be that parents are finding cricket could be a career for their children ! The money being made by Indian Cricketers is unbelievable, running into crores of rupees almost every years – and if one is decently good and manages to participate in the IPL and other Test Series, he can reasonably expect to make at least an average of USD 300K per annum for a minimum of 10 to 15 years. This does not include any advertisements and endorsements and other potential benefits, which could easily amount to an average of USD 200K per annum.
It does appear to be a career, right ?
Of course, Cricket is riddled with politics and scandals and board room intrigue. We have seen that over the past couple of years. The mastermind of IPL, Mr Lalit Modi, is a fugitive from Indian Law, hiding in London, despite having created a money machine and a marketing marvel. He is aggressively being pursued by Indian Law Enforcement Agencies and Court of Law. The formation of legal entities to bid for the IPL Series has been riddled with intrigue rivalling any movie plot. And, so it goes on and on.
So, any good cricketer should also be a good networker and a polished diplomat to survive the minefield of politics in Indian Cricket.
Nevertheless, the returns appear to be appealing and enticing to youngsters, apart from the thrill of playing cricket with all the adulation it derives from a doting public which runs into millions of fans around the country. Plus, the fame and image on live TV all around.
No wonder parents are buying cricket bats and cricket gear aggressively, often yielding to the demands of their budding cricketeer-kids, and investing in coaching classes, et al. The objective is of course to develop a world-class batsman or bowler who can make tons of money, isn’t it ? In the olden days, there was no money motive or incentive, but now clearly money and image and fame are strong motivators for cricketers in India.
The U.S. people think cricket is an obscure game (as reported by The New York Times when it covered India’s win at the World Cup Series on 2nd April), but the rest of the world thinks baseball is an obscure game, ain’t they ? In terms of riches, Cricket in India is becoming comparable to Baseball and Basket Ball in the U.S.
Welcome to another Asian success mantra !
24th April 2011