Teammates congratulate Mumbai Indians bowler Lasith Malinga (C) after he took the wicket of Pune Warriors India batsman Manish Pandey during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. AFP/Indranil Mukherjee
Players are not the only ones who eagerly wait for the Indian Premier League to start every year. There are others in the fringes too who see the tournament as a way to earn a few quick bucks. These are not administrators but sports merchandise dealers, face painters, tattoo artists and even barbers.
There are a about half-a-dozen merchandising stores outside the MA Chidambaram stadium which stock up every year as sales shoot up by almost 50% during IPL.
Last year, since the IPL was played immediately after the World Cup, the sales were not as expected, he added. For those who can’t afford official merchandise of their favourite teams, sold by big labels, there are roadside vendors who sell duplicate stuff cheaply.
“While an original CSK T-shirt costs between Rs. 350-650, I have an exact replica for just Rs. 125,” claimed Ramana. The vendor also sells innovatively designed caps.
“I have Malinga Caps (curly fur on them), KP caps (with Kevin Pietersen’s old hairstyle) for Rs. 150 each,” added Ramana. Small cut-outs of CSK spinner Ravichandran Ashwin costs Rs. 100.
The face painters and tattoo artists also do brisk business.
“I have employed 15 men. They stand outside the stadium and earn between Rs. 2000-Rs 5000 per game, and give me a 40% share,” said Ashok, who owns a tattoo stall. Hair-stylists and barbers aren’t far behind.
“Youngsters come to us when the IPL is on, they want the hair-style of their favourite players,” said hair-stylist Abbas. Bowlers and all-rounders are ahead of batsmen here with Jadeja, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell topping the list.