Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

how much time does an ad take anyway?

Over the past two-three days, there have been scores of guys in suits (and a lady too ... some top agent of Percept D Mark or some agency like that) who have been appearing on TV and giving their views on why to accuse the players of spending too much time on commercials is not correct.

"Oh, some of these shoots hardly take 3-4 hours" ... one said ... and another went - "in a complete year, the cricketers spend about 10-15 days in commercials ... is that too much".

While "spending time on shooting the commercials" seems to be the argument going around, I tend to look more at the effect of the endorsements rather than the actual time spent for shooting for it. If a player earns 4 crores (just a random figure ... need not be correct because I really don't have too much experience in dealing with numbers with so many zeroes in them) from commercials and 1.5 crores from cricket (including contract money, match fees etc ... money which comes to him from the BCCI) per year, then why is he really going to work hard on improving his cricket? Once a Virender Sehwag makes it into the team - and this is when he is a nobody ... no sponsors, nothing - and establishes himself over a period of two-three years then he is really in for the long haul ... his performance might go down the drain but the "established" nature of his status in the team will ensure the commercials don't stop for at least 4-5 years. Why would he really work hard then .... does it really matter to him whether India wins or loses ... or if he had dived instead of stretched for that catch, India might have gotten back into the game? Over 4-5 years when his shelf life is present, he will earn enough for his next five generations to have a good life.

I know the cricketers r given the status of saints and desh-bhakts who put their country above all and the money is only a secondary issue ... but for me cricketers r not gods ... they r guys who play cricket better than I do and hence they make a living out of it. If there was a survey in our country as to how many people want to earn more by working less hard than they do, I am sure we would have a nice statistic to look at. No one breaks their back because they want to ... they do it coz it earns them big bucks ... same for me, same for u and same for the Pathans and the Sehwags and the Dhonis.

So the moment u earn 4 crores from ads and 1.5 crores from cricket, u don't need to give a damn about ur cricket except just making sure u do enough to stick onto ur place. People talk stuff like - Ok, so player X scored only 15 but look at player Y ... he scored only 10 ... so u cannot chuck out player X from the squad.

These sentiments are what fuel the cricketers ... once they "establish" themselves, get a horde of "fans", they can live their life in peace ... coz there would be some idiots out there to fight their battles for them if there ever was a threat to their place in the team.

Look at the contract system ... that is a beautiful example. It was brought on to give the players "security" ... against injuries in the course of duty ... to ensure transparency from players in not hiding their injuries ... to make them play at their best without having to worry about getting chucked out next match and losing their match fees. What did it achieve? A set of well fed cricketers earning a couple of crore (excluding endorsements) who do not dive ... who do not come for that extra net session (a la Sehwag in South Africa) and who definitely do not look like they r giving their best out there .... who look like they r out there coz it says in their contract - "u r supposed to go out onto the field ... bat ... and bowl ... and field" ... so hey, Ok, I am out there.

BCCI sucks ... so do the players. Today it is the BCCI who in a fit of populism (I don't see any funeral marches because of these decisions) has thrown the kitchen sink at the players .... tomorrow, there will be something that fixes the BCCI itself ... one year later? two years later? ten years later? I don't know ... but I am willing to take it when it comes. If it sounds unfair that the players get hit but the BCCI doesn't get hurt ... too bad, life isn't fair. Just because everyone didn't get their desserts, it doesn't mean no one should get their desserts.

On a final note - the players r still gonna be earning crores ... and the experts on TV (rather than the common man) thinks they r getting a raw deal.



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