Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Player burnout – Why is it a farce?

These days cricketers around the world are debating about one thing – Burnout.
I searched the dictionary and found the meaning for burnout – Melt, break, or become otherwise unusable. As far as these cricketers are concerned they think that they might probably become unusable, in the sense that they would become physically weak to play.

The main reason why I think it is stupid and wasting primetime discussing about this is because they are supposed to be professionals. They earn their living playing cricket. So why did you embark on a difficult thing first place knowing that it might burn you off.

If I ever thought, being in the advertising industry would burn me off, I better quit and choose another industry that suits me. Why crib about the industry that feeds you? That feeds you with more than your entire dynasty could eat.

To understand more about why I say this talk about burnout is bull crap, lets see what they do round the year.

But looking at their playing calendar one would see that they play for not more than 130 days.

Assuming one playing day is 8 hrs

They play competitive cricket for 1040 hrs

There are three levels of contacts that are offered to the players based on their value and utility A (Rs. 50 Lakh retainer), B (Rs. 35 Lakh retainer), C (Rs. 20 Lakh retainer).
For ease of understanding lets take C grade.

The yearly retainer is Rs. 20,00,000

For each test they play they get Rs. 2,50,000

For each one day they play they get Rs. 1,60,000

Now, again for ease of understanding let us assume they get paid Rs. 50,000 for each playing day

So for 130 days of cricket they get Rs. 65,00,000 (this is in addition to their retainer fee)

So the total money they make in an year on an average is Rs. 85,00,000.

So their monthly salary for playing cricket is Rs. 7,00,000

Their average salary per hour of play is Rs. 8173 (this is for the 1040 hrs of cricket)

If this is the salary of a C grade player, imagine what a Sachin Tendulkar and a Rahul Dravid must be making for representing the country.

That is not all, they also earn in millions endorsing everything from a completely misfit sandalwood soap to a television channel. Every Brand / Marketing manager you find in India needs a cricketer to endorse his / her brand.

So the cricketers salary per year becomes unimaginably bloated. We must also not forget a few cricketers who run their own business apart from their other sources of income. We would also not forget those who became martyrs by gracefully accepting the Indian tax structure and agreeing to pay taxes for a Ferrari they got as a gift.

Shame on them for shouting that cricket causes burnout.

Let’s now see what an average Indian skilled worker earns.

Let us take the example of a construction worker, an expat Indian in Dubai.

I am taking this example because he earns more than his Indian counterpart, he lives away from home (that’s another farce articulated by the cricketers – living away from their family) and he works under testing conditions.

He works for 8 hrs in the hot 35 degree plus sun.

He works for 300 days under testing conditions (leaving alone those Fridays or holidays)

So he works 2,400 hrs an year

He doesn’t endorse any brand. He doesn’t have his own designer restaurant, gym or a cricket academy. He doesn’t also even dream about his own Ferrari, leave alone importing it free of cost.

But he is the first idiot who runs to buy his ticket for a cricket match in Abu Dhabi.

What does he earn?

A maximum of Rs. 12,500 per month (1,000 – 1,500 Dirhams)

Rs. 1,50,000 per year

Rs. 63 per hour (and that is the maximum mind you and may be I have inflated his salary a bit)

Does he complain about burnout? He is the one who is really susceptible to a burnout, but he doesn’t complain but for an occasional crib.

He lives away from his family for a period of more than 2 years. That is when he would get his free air ticket to visit his family back in India.

How many news channels have shown his face talking about burnout or exploitation?

How many news paper columns are used talking about this man’s plight?

Nobody even cares about this man.

These cricketers who make such a hue and cry over burnouts must learn a thing or two from these measly mortals. If they decide that they are going to burn themselves out by playing cricket, they shouldn’t. Let them tell the board to cancel their contracts, give them a match fee for every appearance. That would bring some sense on their arguments.

I am sure they wouldn’t do that because if they do it then their other businesses may suffer. The brand manager would call a cricketer if and only if he is popular. And to be popular he needs to fail in 10 matches and score in 1. For doing that he needs to play more than 100 days of cricket.

So to sum up there is nothing called burnout as far as professional cricket and cricketers are concerned. It is a farce. And they are doing this for another pay raise, to become richer than now and grab a few more seconds of TV time and a few more column centimeter of press space.

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