Paceman Kamran Khan, formerly of Rajasthan Royals and now of Pune Warriors, got his first contract in RR through an agent in 2008. The agent charged 25% from his contract money as Kamran was a nobody and not even on the fringes of first class cricket.
The next year when Kamran came back from South Africa-leg of IPL, he had a tiff with the agent who demanded a share from that year's contract too. In all, the coach-cum-agent, according to the bowler, had taken close to Rs 5 lakh from him and used the money to even renovate his home.
Things have settled down with Kamran these days who says his new employers are paying him in full and directly.
While the BCCI clamped down on the practice after such initial experiences, individual agents continue to thrive.
The recent TV sting expose seems to paint a rosy picture for all wannabe cricketers. With the likes of Mohnish Mishra claiming on camera that under the table dealings with franchises have fetched them over a crore more than the sum they deserve under BCCI laws, it gives an impression that there is a lot of money to be made even for uncapped players.
The reality at ground level remains different. There are average players who are willing to pay as much as half of their contract money to the agents.
Says a source, “The player's idea is to get a foothold in the team composition. The agent often charges a lot as he feels once the player is in, he can build rapport and develop contacts.”
No wonder that when one Delhi player was trying for a contract, he was asked Rs 15 lakh by an agent out of the Rs 30 lakh he was expected to get under his category. The player refused but often players pay even more than that. One player is believed to have paid over 60% of his contract money this year. He hasn't even played first-class cricket for his state for over two years and represented in just a few T20s this season without much to show.
In certain cases, the player management companies handle players for everything, right from IPL contracts to sponsorship deals. Sources say they charge anything between 25-40%.
A franchise source says, “In many other cases, the TRDOs (talent spotting officers) act as such agents. They often link up a deal with players and introduce them to franchise coaches who take them in.”
It is an anomaly that players like Mayank Sidhana (the highest run-getter in North Zone in Ranji Elite) have had no deals while many players who are very average struck deals this year.