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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Work our cricketers harder!

A few weeks ago, I noticed that our cricket team will have a very very packed calendar starting end-July. The men in blue will have non stop cricket till at least March next year, but there was one small break, in December, between the England test and ODI series.

When I say ‘break’, I mean that it was a break from my point of view. The BCCI, of course, saw a money making opportunity, and filled up that one gap with a Pakistan series. They trusted to the fact that the hype surrounding a series with our sworn enemies conceal the fact that this will overwork our cricketers to the point where they could start playing like they did towards end-2011 due to tiredness.Sunil Gavaskar has come out and said this is a bad idea, but I think it’s a great one! After all, the BCCI has only a few hundreds of crores in the bank, and definitely needs more money. Here are a few more lucrative ideas for our cricket board, so that the executives can buy that elusive Ferrari this year.

1. Official trump cards: Almost every child who grew up in an Indian city has played cricket and WWE trump cards. But these were mainly sold by scattered sweet shop owners, and were not legitimate or authorized. All the BCCI needs to do is print the cards in bulk, distribute them everywhere, and price at Rs. 50. Their bank balance will soon hit levels hitherto reserved for the Rajas and Reddys of our country.

2. More cricketers in ads: If you look closely at all ads featuring cricketers, you will notice that most of them star 5-6 prominent players. The less famous ones hardly ever get a look in, and this causes huge losses. All the Board needs to do is to recognize that, for every Pepsi and Coke brand out there, there is a Dixcy or a Surya waiting to snap up any cricketer they can get. Of course, these brands are not as prominent as the big ones, but the money they will pay Ravindra Jadeja, for example, will be enough to make him forget that he is part of the worst ad in the world.

3. Start a cricket reality show: Many cricketers do, indeed, make the jump to the small screen, but this is usually after they stop playing (Jayasuriya, here’s looking at you and your shiny golden suit). I feel that this is wastage of time. Why, in the couple of hours between the morning practice and the start of the match in the afternoon, any cricketer can film quality reality show footage. Every second of the day is potential revenue for the BCCI.

And you can’t say it wouldn’t be interesting: just give Dhoni and Sehwag a mic each, a room and a weapon, and watch the ratings skyrocket.

4. Go to the US: The reason cricket is so comparatively poor could just be that it hasn’t penetrated the US market, where everyone has money they’re willing to throw away. I have an idea for the latest attempt to work; we need to brand cricket as a variant of baseball played by non-American countries. To make it seem more like football, we need to ensure that most bowlers bowl high full tosses (easily achieved by appointing an angry Shoaib Akhtar as bowling coach), that the batsmen run in random directions (Inzamam as running coach) and that sixes are heavily incentivized (Chris Gayle as batting coach). If the BCCI spearheads this initiative, they will roll in cash like Uncle Scrooge.

5. Introduce a cricket tax: We are taxed heavily in our country, and are told that our contributions to the exchequer do noble things like educate, build infrastructure and save lives. In truth, of course, they are mostly just swallowed by the fat old men who run our country. So, why not introduce a new group of fat old men to give our money to? A flat 10% tax on all citizens will make the BCCI trillionaires overnight, and make the cricketers accountable to us. So our complaints when we lose will actually mean something.

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