Deccan Chargers’ player celebrate a wicket © Getty Images
Deccan Chargers’ player celebrate a wicket © Getty Images

 

By Sanjeev Sarma

 

Call it Breaking News, Shocking News, Sansani, or any other word chosen by the media when they want to hit the people hard with something. This start may sound like the beginning of a diatribe against a sensationalist media. But it’s far from that.

 

The story is, “Indian Cricketers are Uncle Scrooge’s Uncles, when it comes to Charity.”

 

In the past few years, I have come across millions and millions of articles related to people giving back to society in various measures, what they got from society. Millions and millions of dollars (yeah, actual MONEY) being pumped into society by successful businessmen, sports people and so on. However, the number of such stories coming in from the world of Indian cricket seems to be worryingly low, the article count as stingy as probably the contributions made by cricketers themselves to society.

 

The web hasn’t been very encouraging either in saying “cricketer donated Rs. X to charity”. While exploring this, I started all the way from Sunil Gavaskar, the first “Sir Don Bradman” answer that India had for the world, down to Sachin Tendulkar, the “God” of Indian cricket. Shockingly, I could not find a single article on either of the two, or anyone else, parting with their money for charity. Yes, there are articles galore available about matches played for charity, appearances for charity, etc. There are also charities set up by cricketers, funds raised for it and so on.

 

However, what is shocking and saddening is that there is not a single article or recall about any bit of info available to share a heartening like “Cricketer ABC donates X amount to charity”.

 

Are we then such a poor cricketing nation in terms of monies provided to our cricketers? Are the cricketers shy of such exposure? Are the PR people, managing these cricketing sensations, duds? I don’t think so.

 

We have seen the monies that the recent IPL has put into the hands of these excellent people. We have heard of these extremely huge taxes that these sportspeople have paid. Some of us who are part of the advertising world know the monies exchanged behind each endorsement contract, quite a lot in cash too, one would presume. We know of amazing cash rewards declared and delivered for wins by Governments, politicians and the like. Can one call these earnings small?

 

With my salary and compared with my earnings, I don’t. I think these cricketers earn HUGELY.

 

So what, I wonder, is it that makes these people dry up when it comes to giving back to society in the form of hard cash?

 

Fact is this: For a World Cup semi-final against Pakistan, a rickshaw driver gave up a Rs 250 earning per day, to cheer and support the team. Multiply this single number by a million at least, and the amounts thereof too to understand what is lost to cheer the team on. People conduct poojas, give up on things to glue themselves to the TV to cheer the team on. And no, while one is not asking for a refund, one is SURELY looking for these sporting superstars to recognize the people who made them such, and to thank the people who made them superstars by sharing a wee bit of their earning with the society, to do GOOD to the society, with a charity of their choice.

 

Scrutiny indicates that they haven’t really thought about this, or want to get into this. They are content with the adulation, basking in glory scenarios, and so on

 

Indian cricketers DON’T have large hearts. And frankly, we don’t need a Shahid Afridi to tell us that, do we?

 

(Sanjeev Sarma is an avid sports fan, and tracks cricket from an extremely arcane viewpoint of utopia. Not for him the stats and score sheets, for him the passion, roar, business, involvement and emotion of cricket across the spectrum where stages are set at world as well as galli cricket level)