‘IPL benefits first-class, former cricketers’

Manjrekar, Sidhu laud BCCI’s gesture to give one-time cash benefit to ex-players

Mumbai 20 May 2012
During the Opening Nite of IPL 2012, the BCCI president N Srinivasan announced that the proceeds earned from the playoffs will be used to give a one-time cash benefit to India’s former cricketers. The list consists of over 160 names, including those who have represented the country and even those who have played first-class cricket.

Many of these cricketers have left the game altogether. Some have taken up a different career path successfully, while others are struggling to get a life outside cricket. Then, there are those who have earned enough money during their playing days to support their families, while many are not financially sound.

However, there is one thing in common for most former players – they are not directly connected with the IPL, the tournament that is responsible for churning out the funds that will benefit them.

We spoke to two men who feature on this list for their fine service to Indian cricket. Sanjay Manjrekar and Navjot Singh Sidhu have seen both ends of the spectrum. After retiring from a long and successful Test cricket, they have remained in the game in the capacity of commentators and are now, a part of the expert panel for the official IPL broadcaster.

This is what the two former India cricketers had to say about BCCI’s gesture of acknowledging the men who served the sport in the nation selflessly and passionately. The two men also shed light on how the IPL has changed the life of India’s first-class cricketers and is now set to benefit the former players as well.

Sanjay Manjrekar

The gesture

First of all, I’d like to say thank you to the BCCI. I say thanks because this comes as an unexpected bonus. Once I quit the game, I had no expectations from people. I played the game because I liked it and I never had this feeling that the BCCI owes me anything. I have always felt that I have got more in return for what I put in as a cricketer.

A life-support system

The BCCI will earn a lot of goodwill with this gesture. It is an amazing thing to have happened to some of the former players. I have seen the effect it had on my mother, the wife of Late Vijay Manjrekar. She gets a pension from BCCI as a widow of a former cricketer and I’ve seen a lot of difference it made to her life. At that age, it gives great strength to know that you are financially independent. So, I can imagine how much strength it would give to all those players who are in their 70s or 80s and not in great financial health. It’s different for people like us who got something going for us even after the retiring from the game. But there are a lot of cricketers whose major skills was always playing cricket, which ends in the prime of their life. And they didn’t have too many other skills to carve out a good living for themselves after leaving the game. This is a real bonus for them

IPL plays Robin Hood

IPL, like everything in life, is not perfect; it has its weaknesses. But what I have always liked about the tournament is that a first-class cricketer is earning money. I have seen how first-class cricketers work to play this sport, and in return, they always missed out on the big bucks that we international players got. I could see a first-class cricketer, after playing for 10 to 15 years, had to look for some kind of a livelihood to keep life going. IPL has changed that to a great extent.

Navjot Singh SIdhu

Kudos, BCCI

A good name is worth all the riches in life. This decision will give the board credibility and a great name. There is no better exercise for the heart than bending down and lifting people, especially those cricketers who have given their life to the game and are in dying stage. For me, it’s an honour to be recognized after you’ve left playing cricket. It makes you feel like a family. It’s a token of love and affection, which is heartening. It’s like saluting those cricketers who have given their lives for the passion of the sport.

Remembering the forgotten heroes

There are many former cricketers who really needed this money. Salim Durani is one of them. He is the one to watch whom I’d bunk school. This money would definitely help him. When you ask for something and it comes to you, it gives you satisfaction, but when it comes unexpectedly, it’s something else.

IPL, a tree that bears fruits for everyone

The moment people criticize you, it tells you that you are very important. When you have three-four pages dedicated to the IPL in the leading newspapers, you know that it is a tree, which is giving you fruits. IPL is also bringing people back to cricket. India had lost to the Australia and England back-to-back, but it is the IPL that has got the crowd going again. Many players, who were unknown entities, have now become household names. It’s an industry, which helps everybody. IPL is a part of your life and you’ve got to accept it. It is benefiting everybody. The IPL is like an FBR, which you will keep on encashing with compound interest.
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