In 2001, a young 20 year old cricket player from Ranchi was desperately looking for a job somewhere, and because of his sports background he was given a job by the Indian Railways, under sports quota- since he was just a matriculate; he was made a Khalasi, a low level class IV employee. He left the job soon thereafter because he could not tell others about the ‘Corporate sponsorship’ that he had got. In 2011, the same cricket player is the reason we became the world champion. We are talking about none other than Indian ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Now things have changed, host of Indian cricketers including Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, and practically the entire Indian team have secure jobs with PSUs like ONGC, Indian Airlines etc where they continue to draw handsome salaries and allowances, despite their huge IPL and national contracts. These guys never play for their companies but hold on to the jobs and making some hefty money too.
Yes, the things have changed but only for top tier cricket players, Young boys who don’t have enough money and always in pressure about their families health and wealth, are given contracts ranging from Rs 4000/ to Rs 6000/ per month. The player who may have some extra-ordinary talent like Mahi, had to settle down for Class IV post so that he can earn some money for his family. Eventually he will lose his mojo and prefers to settle down for the ‘Corporate Sponsorship’ reward. And at that point, Indian Cricket Team lost his next Mahi or Yuvi or Bhajji.
Even decategorized ex sportsmen prefer not to do any work, but enjoy the fruits of those halcyon days of sunlight. Which results- PSUs have stopped recruiting young sportspersons and only depend on doling out ‘contracts’ to talented youngsters, who can continue to be in such contract employment till as long as their youth and form permit.
Another form of corporate sponsorship is in getting sponsorship from PSUs. A sports body (as usual headed by a powerful neta’s sidekick) gets approx Rs 110 crs as sponsorship from mainly PSUs, pays fat salaries to senior executives, apart from large doses of commission to accomplices, and seemingly shows all such expenditure as ‘sports’ promotion activities’. This disciple has been a disaster in the current Olympics. Coal India has a policy of apportioning 0.20 P per tonne of coal produced which is meant to be spent on promotion of sports. Out of this money, Rs 15 crs per year is given to a Sports body which again spends all the money as earmarked above. Except for a few disciplines where the Government and some corporate are monitoring the money being given, most of the money is getting leaked into unproductive activities. The best thing Govt. should do is hire those gifted youngsters in their field of interest, means a brilliant bowler from Jharkhand, would be better as a coach or a bowling expert for Jharkhand Junior Cricket Board, rather than as a Class IV worker in PSU companies.
A few athletes and their hard working coaches are doing whatever they can. One such player tells to NewsLeakCentre on a request of anonymity -“Our performances are not because of corporate and our Government- but, it was because of our will”
You still think Cricket is a Gentlemen game?