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   I have always felt that cricketers should get... (June 11, 1987)

I have always felt that cricketers should get whatever they want. So, when the cricket camp was organised at Udaipur and the board and the Rajasthan association spent a fortune preparing a brand new ground for them to practice on, with a new turn, new batting pitches, a dressing-room and other arrangements on the ground, plus accommodation at the world’s most beautiful hotel, The Lake Palace, we were all happy for our cricketers.

However, our cricketers did not like the ground, the pitches, the weather, sun, etc. in Udaipur, though Kapil Dev said he liked the lake Palace. So, the senior players held a meeting and they all decided they wanted to go some where else, preferably Delhi.

Since there is no point in settting up a coaching camp if the people for whom it is set up do not like it, it was decided that the camp should be abandoned and a new one put up in Delhi. And we were all happy about it. After all, our Indian players should have whatever they want.

In New Delhi, we did not mind when our cricketers spent half the time at the camp getting ready for the Realiance Cup and the other half posing for various advertisement films in order to pick up a little extra money. In fact, we were all for it. If Miss Sony Valia and Miss Anna Bredmayer can mode, why should not our Gavaskars and Kapil Devs and Shastris.

At this stage, the cricket control board created a problem and considerably upset the cricketers by insisting that they all sign some contracts. Naturally, the cricketer objected. You cannot tie them down with contracts, nobody has right to expect them to sign contracts, not if you want them to also play in the Reliance Cup. We all supported our cricketers against the board and we are happy to say that the board was prevailed upon not to make unnecessary demands on the cricketers.

When our cricketers wanted to write in newspapers, or get their ghosts to write in newspapers, we did for a while think with the board that it would not be an ethical thing to do. But when the cricketers insisted, we agreed, also the board agreed. After all, why should we mind when it was not going to interfere with their game.

And we were happy when the board offered each one of them all that money to play for India. And when the cricketers asked for three times the amount given and the board finally agreed to triple the amount, we were three times as happy. Why should they not make money, everybody else was making! (Except the cricket corespondents, who had been thrown out of their jobs because the cricketers were writing about themselves.)

And when the cricketers refused to wear the Reliance logo unless they were paid, we said Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani should pay them.

And so they went to play the Reliance Cup. And they lost.

 
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