Cricketers are happy being celebrities. They enjoy attention and don't complain about money. Commercial success is a by-product of performance and as sport integrates with a booming economy, top stars never had it better.
Still, for all their financial muscle, all isn't rosy. One major scare is failure. Anyone excluded from the elite group faces the terrifying prospect of getting dumped quickly. Another issue is that sudden fame unsettles a young mind and breeds arrogance.
There are instances of 19-year-olds strutting as if they exist in a zone where they don't need to listen to anyone.Such is the arrogance, even past greats are not spared. Ex-players tend to resent the success of current players, who in turn feel they are unfairly criticised.
That senior players regularly pass critical judgement on players in the media is a major friction point. We know exactly what these players did in their time — the zeroes they made and the catches they dropped.
It is hardly a secret that India players are disunited. One reason why we don't have a Players' Association is members can't agree on anything. If a poll were conducted to name five popular cricketers, not more than two or three would make the shortlist.
Cricket's commercial growth presents players with temptations and without sensible guidance, chances are some will make the wrong choice. The example of Pakistan cricketers is a warning for India, which is why it is good the BCCI has asked Anil Kumble to mentor youngsters.
One important aspect of this, besides practical matters like contracts/sponsorships/media, must be to treat cricket with respect. Players should understand success is not a fruit to be enjoyed, but a responsibility. Learning to be humble would not be a bad idea. Tendulkar, Laxman and Kumble are excellent role models because they conduct themselves with poise, dignity and modesty. Rahul Dravid has a simple rule that works for him. Whatever else I do, I refuse to give advice, he says. Responsibility has to come from within.