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Former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar says that because of the financial security from the T20 leagues, the players, the batsmen, in particular, aren’t afraid of getting dropped from the national side. Hence, this has spurred them on to play risky, aggressive cricket – if it comes off, then they look great; if it doesn’t, they can always make money while playing franchise cricket.
Following the huge success of the IPL, every top cricket playing nations have introduced their own T20 league. T10 matches, and a 100-ball format, The Hundred, have also been tried out to some degree of success.
Sunil Gavaskar recalled during his time, playing for India was a side job and they were paid for each game played. If the player was dropped from the national side, then he had to go back to his conventional 9-5 job.
“It is not just the protective gear. I think it is the cushion that they have in terms of the T20 leagues that they can be part of.
“When we played, whatever income we got, 500 rupees or when I finished playing cricket, it was 5,000 rupees for a Test match, that was extra income for us,” Sunil Gavaskar said at a public conversation with Ashis Ray organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) London.
“If we didn’t do well, we were dropped from the Test team. We had to go back to our jobs — with Tatas, Railways, Air India, Steel Authority of India — 9 to 5 job.”
Today that worry or fear is not there: Sunil Gavaskar
Now, the scenario has changed. Cricket has become a primary job for hundreds of cricketers. The top players get paid heavily in the IPL, while others make a decent living playing their trade in several other franchise leagues around the globe.
Sunil Gavaskar reiterated that the batsmen are liberated to play in a ‘bang-bang’ fashion – also it’s what they are paid for – irrespective of whether they remain in their national eleven or not.
“Today that worry or fear is not there. You have the IPL, the Big Bash, there is also the Hundred. Though Big Bash and Hundred don’t pay as much, there is that cushion. So there is not a worry.
“The batsman thinks, “I’ll go bang-bang. So what if I score quick runs, I get out. Never mind”. That cushion. It is a mental thing. Why would you go bang, bang unless you know you have got something waiting for you. That is the way I look at it,” the 1983 World Cup winner added.
The West Indies players in particular have often chosen to play in leagues than playing for West Indies. This year, we are seeing New Zealand players being given permission by their board to play in the IPL and miss international matches.