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It's not all about money, honey

Contrary to general myth, Indian cricketers do not rake in the moolah, writes Kadambari Murali.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2007 12:29 IST

Post India's World Cup exit, there will obviously be detailed analyses on why the team lost. Some of these reactions are rational but others are often knee-jerk and emotion driven. For instance, one of the major explanations that is being bandied about on TV channels is the amount of money the cricketers make, either in salaries itself or through endorsements.

So we decided to find out exactly how much they actually make, based on figures obtained from industry. As the India players are the best in their field in the country, we also looked at how much top professionals across the spectra earn in other fields. Especially Bollywood, as so often, cricket and the Hindi films are often said to be the country’s national obsessions.

We got some interesting facts. Yes, the top cricketers here earn a lot and no, it is nowhere near as much as actors, even including endorsements. In fact, their income is much less than what many in the corporate sector earn.

Incidentally, if you take how much a top Ranji cricketer earns, it is less than what a mid-level executive gets in a mid-level private sector company. We worked out that a Ranji cricketer earns Rs 14,625 for every day of played cricket. Now, if you have a cricketer who plays nine Ranji Trophy games (seven league, one semifinal and one final), three Duleep Trophy games, five intra-zonal Ranji one-dayers, and three Deodhar Trophy games, that makes for 60 days of cricket. This is the maximum probably a player plays, if his team makes every final of every event (which doesn’t happen). Anyway, for argument’s sake, the maximum possible is Rs 14,625 X 60, which is Rs 8,77,500 (per season). That’s at the very top! Everyone else makes far, far less.

Now, take Bollywood. Film trade analyst Indu Mirani (chief editor of the website 30mm.com) said that top-of-the-rung Bollywood actors got in the range of Rs 3 to 7 crore per film. “We’re talking of the top stars, the Bachchans, and Hrithik Roshans,” said Mirani. “Shahrukh (Khan) may well get more”.

They make about three films a year on average, and this does not include the money made from endorsements or shows.

Mirani says an actor is paid approximately the same amount for an endorsement (as much as he makes per film). Amitabh Bachchan is reportedly paid Rs 3 crore per year per endorsement. She says the next level of actors (male and top female actors) make around one to two crore per film.

Someone like Bipasha Basu would earn Rs 75 lakh to 1 crore per film. For a series of shows (a tour abroad lasts about a month), a top actor could earn about two to three crore. According to a consultant with a top management consultancy firm, the CEO or top-level executives at even mid-size firms (in the Rs 500 to 600 crore size), get up to Rs 1.5 crore per annum. “This does not include stock options & bonuses,” he said. “In the MNCs and larger Indian concerns, the sky’s the limit, they earn four to five times that amount.”

According to him, a big percentage of what the head honchos earn is in bonuses and these vary wildly. The head at another market research firm gives slightly different figures, a mid-level CEO between Rs 75 lakh to 1.5 crore per annum, while the CEOs and top level executives elsewhere earn far more.

“The compensation range is very large,” he said, varying from Rs 75 lakh to 4 crore for a function head to a CEO across the sectors. But it’s difficult to draw a parallel with cricketers, in the corporate sector there are also lucrative bonuses and long term investment plans.”

Well, the average shelf life for an international cricketer is about 10 years, for those who haven’t made top grade, it’s probably closer to seven.