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Cricket's mint machines

Are the cricketers facing burnout due to an overdose of endorsements, questions Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 16:40 IST

They provide us edge-of-the-seat excitement for more than half the year. And in the other half, they help us choose which watch to buy and which mobile to flaunt. Our cricket heroes really have too much to handle. Burnout, do we hear?

Cynics might point to the recent visit of our star cricketers to the Capital for various endorsements, just days before the West Indies tour beginning May 16, as an example. Shouldn’t they have been practising at the nets or resting instead?

While Indian cricket’s latest pin-up boy MS Dhoni came to promote a TV channel, skipper Rahul Dravid smiled for a watch brand and Irfan Pathan propped up a mobile phone maker.

Mint machine Endorsements mean money. But they also mean travelling to promote the brand, giving sound bytes to media, shooting for commercials and attending press conferences. Quite a bit of work off the field considering that an average Indian cricketer spends 150 days in the year approximately on the field anyway.

So, why do the players spend their valuable offfield time on promoting their sponsors and not recuperating instead?

Of course, it’s for money, but they also have to make the most of their careers, rendered uncertain due to stiff competition. So, when a cricketer should be relaxing before a big challenge, we see him all over the place selling some new thing or the other.

Battery discharge Former cricketer Madan Lal says, "Ideally, a cricketer should have 10-20 days before and after a high-action series to recharge." It will enhance his brand value too, because if a tour goes off well, he is likely to earn more endorsements.

Agrees Pathan: "We get endorsements only because we play good cricket." But former cricketer Ajay Jadeja thinks that endorsements “can’t be held responsible for burnout as shooting for commercials takes up only a day or two.” So, why do players complain of burnout?  "It’s strange that a professional sportsman should complain about that. Indian team plays approximately 150 days in a year," adds Jadeja.

Former India cricketer Maninder Singh proffers, "Only players who don’t do well complain of burnout." Issues or no issues, all that the nation wants is some really good cricket.

And as long as India wins, who’s complaining?