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Money and much ado for Shastri

cricket Updated: Apr 24, 2007 17:00 IST
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The search has not quite begun. But the search party has been formed. The BCCI said in a statement on Monday that a sevenmember “special committee” has been set up to advice the apex body as it begins its hunt for a coach/ manager for the team.

Board president Sharad Pawar leads the committee. The other six members are Sunil Gavaskar, S Venkataraghavan, N Srinivasan, M P Pandove, Niranjan Shah (convenor) and Ravi Shastri. Shastri? Isn’t he the coach/manager himself ?

Only for the Bangladesh tour. Shastri told the Board he is unwilling to stay on, somewhat unbecoming for a man who, after his appointment, had gallantly said, “if you look at the state of Indian cricket at the moment, I thought it was a good time to put your hand up and ask to be counted.”

Board secretary Niranjan Shah said on Saturday that the Board has yet to receive applications for the job. But some names have been doing the rounds for sometime. Chief among them are Australians Tom Moody and Dav Whatmore. Viv Richards, John Buchanan, John Wright are also believed to be on the committee’s mind.

It is common knowledge that Shastri’s flourishing television and media career is the main reason why he is loath to commit himself to a longer term as India coach, which could be as paying but more demanding, especially in terms of public pressure.

“I don’t know if I can get out of my media commitments,” Shastri told HT a few days ago. What makes TV difficult to let go for someone like Shastri? What is the money like? Sources said that Shastri negotiates a series-by-series deal with ESPN Star Sports, the network he usually works for.

Unlike a Sunil Gavaskar, he is not on their payroll. Though full-timers like Gavaskar earn more (reportedly around Rs 2 crore per year), Shastri is not shackled to one network, but still makes a decent amount. A full-fledged series, like India-South Africa last season, alone brings him Rs 75-80 lakh.

But if you factor in other assignments, he would probably make around as much as the $300,000 (Rs 1.37 crore approx) that Greg Chappell made per year from the BCCI. But Shastri, if he continues as a commentator, would lead a charmed life compared to the crushing pressure faced by a contemporary Indian coach.

Besides, ESPN-Star Sports have won the audio-visual rights for ICC events from 2007-2015. That means these eight years are packed with earning potential for those like Shastri.

Shastri did not take calls or reply to a text message while Board treasurer N Sreenivasan didn’t want to comment. Secretary Shah and Chief Administrative Officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty could not be reached since they were on a flight to the West Indies.

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