Dravid’s wish has been granted. India will play a grand total of 2 warm up matches in the course of its long tour of Australia. The first game is before the 1st Test to begin on Boxing Day (26th of December) and the second one after the end of the 2nd Test in Sydney. One looks back fondly to the days when a team travelled abroad, played warm up games, got to know the conditions and pitches well before embarking on the tour in right earnest. But the greed of the Boards is getting the better of them. So squeeze in as many international matches as possible. Who wants 3 day games when u can get a 7 match ODI series. If that is not enough rope in a quandrangular or pentangular Twenty20 series. After all these games should not the players get time to do their endorsements, ad shoots, celebrity appearances etc?
Cricinfo has brought out some aspects of the ‘endorsements clause’ in this good article by Sambit Bal. BCCI is going to limit endorsements to 1 or 2 sponsors per player. This is sending out a signal that echoes popular public sentiment: “Players are earning too much money without concentrating on their job.”
The BCCI also says that there should be no filming for advertisements 2 weeks before a series.
Now this is a high handed way of highlighting the issue. BCCI wants to appear strong in the public eye and in a typical manner are trying to dictate terms to the players.
At this rate they will also start telling the players “which balls to choose for the square cut or the hook shot!”
Yes I am exaggerating a bit here. But can’t the BCCI not handle it in a more positive manner?
Look just tell the players “Be available for cricket for x no of days in a year.” Go on leave for the balance, play cricket, shoot ads or do whatever you want. Cannot the BCCI come up with a way in which they get a minimum commitment from the players on this? Then sponsors can shoot a zillion ads during a Dravid getaway in Kovalam! I personally feel very strongly on this issue. Every time the team loses, they are blamed for appearing in ads! Like Sambit Bal says in the above Cricinfo article, they appear in ads only because they perform!