‘Make hay while sun shines’ seems to be the driving force for Indian cricketers when it comes to achieving off-the-field demands. They leave no opportunity to take advantage of the demi-god adulation they enjoy in a cricket-obsessed nation. It is apparently this trait that runs through the players, with the big guns upping their stakes by several notches.
A classic instance is the one that was arrived at by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) members, who had no trouble in yielding to the pressure and succumbing to each demand that was put forth by Team India representatives, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli in New Delhi on Thursday.
They were like Union leaders brokering a deal with the managements. Of course, unlike what happens when unions serve strike notices and get rejected, here the cricketers will smile all the way to bank having scored a massive win. One does not know why and how the CoA sees merit in such ludicrous demands when the fact of the matter is that the players were given a decent hike in March of this year. It was a windfall for 32 centrally contracted players with Kohli and Dhoni in the Rs 2 crore Grade ‘A’ bracket along with five others and that too with a retrospective effect. As if this was not enough, Kohli sought a cool 150 per cent hike.
His arguments were that the BCCI is the world’s richest cricket body and that the wages they draw was way below that commanded by cricketers in the England, Australia and South Africa. It is tad deplorable that the administrators are falling to such blackmail tactics, time and again. One should not forget that despite being down in the dumps, the West Indies Cricket Board never wilted to the demands of Chris Gayle, a mercurial match-winner next only to Brian Lara.
When players joined the Packer circus and Mike Gatting led a team to the outcast South Africa during the days of Apartheid, they were all banned. A change of heart came later but the boards did take the gamble of playing with second-rung players. The game survived and the show went on. Why should the BCCI or the CoA bow down to pressure tactics? When the Indian Cricket League (ICL) bandwagon including Kapil Dev could be isolated, why not the current crop of blue-eyed boys seeking hefty hikes? It is merely their way of demanding their ounce of flesh as a means to exploit the winning tempo Team India is maintaining. Lest one forgets, no player is greater than the game itself.