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In-Depth Jobs

Volume-52, 30 March - 5 April, 2019

Career Through Cricket

Shree Parkash Sharma

Playing cricket is a favourite pastime in India. It is intensively and religiously played not only by its professional players but also by others across the country.

The history of cricket in India dates back to the British period. The colonial period in India witnessed the growth of cricket in India. It is believed that cricket was brought in India by the European merchant sailors during the 18th century and erstwhile Calcutta is credited with establishment of the first ever cricket club in 1792. But India succeeded playing its first Test match only in 1932 at Lord's in London and since then we have been making and breaking records in the world.


In the present age of the cut-throat-competition, a career in cricket and the success as a cricket player are fraught with challenges. To survive and succeed in this war-like situation, a prospective cricket player must have the following professional qualities to survive as one of the most successful players of cricket-

-              He must be very good sportsman and natural athlete, and most importantly, hard working and with never - say- die attitude.

-              Adaptability to accept odd circumstances of international cricket like those of culture, cuisine, creed, language, weather, unfavourable audiences and fan followers of the foreign countries.

-              Cricket is a dynamic sport where the players are expected to bowl, bat and field for hours and for the perfection of which what you need most is the very good physical fitness and mental stoicism.

-              Excellently skilled in athleticism, fitness, attitude, batting, bowling and fielding.

-              The aspiring player must be proficient in these eight segments of cricket - athleticism, fitness, skill to brave the tense circumstances, fielding, running between the wickets, bowling in the danger zone, dealing with balls accurately to duck being out and, most importantly, perspicacity of taking on - the - spot - decision.

-              An aspirant must be punctual and indomitably determined to reach out to one's goal.

-              Must possess talent in one or all the three aspects of cricket- bowling, batting and fielding.

-              Stoic personality who braves the defeat as naturally as possible.

-              Must have flair to travel across the nations of the world for playing a number of tournaments and series of the matches.

-              Must have strong emotional flexibility to live apart from the family and friends for months. Nostalgic feelings ruin the performance of the players.

-              And he must have a sweet emotional bonding with his family and very good financial background to live the life peacefully and comfortably even if not selected for a particular series, tournament, championship or national or international visit.


All the important international cricket formats are grouped into the following three categories -

  1. International Test Matches
  2. One Day International Matches, and
  3. T20 International Matches

The domestic cricket consists of the following formats of cricket matches:

  1. First Class.
  2. List A and
  3. T20 Matches

It does not mean that all aspiring cricket players end up succeeding as the hero players of the entire gamut of cricket formats. Majority of the prospective cricket players prepare and try to specialize themselves in a particular format or sometimes two of them. The players who want to play only T20 matches restrict themselves with T20 cricket and so join a particular T20 Premier League. However, it is another thing that these players are also chosen for playing for T20 International Cricket Matches of India.

As far as the selection of the players for the different formats of the cricket is concerned, it is the governing body of the cricket of that country which makes selection of the players. For example, BCCI (The Board of Control of Cricket in India) is the governing body and the richest cricket body of the world which functions on the lines of a corporate organization.

All the players of the team, coaches, physiotherapists and other crew members are chosen by the BCCI for which the players need to sign a contract for a certain period, usually for a year. The BCCI also performs the task of arranging matches with the 10 major cricket-playing nations, i.e., India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Australia, Zimbabwe and West Indies. The players are also paid by the BCCI which is one of the richest Sports bodies in the world with a turnover and balance sheet that matches high profit earning companies of the corporate world.


For entering the world of cricket with the ambition of making it as one's career, an aspirant has two choices. The first choice starts right from the school from where one can launch into the world of cricket. The school cricket matches pave the way for matches and tournaments played at the inter-college and university level.

We have yet another very popular choice to enter the professional cricket world which requires very hard labour. And this avenue to cricket world is called as the “Open Cricket” which is comparatively harder than those cricket matches which are played at school, college and university levels.

The Open Cricket Matches are conducted by various cricket associations which have no connection with that of school, college and university level matches.

Each district has a District Association in the country. All these District Associations further make the State Association. The District Association functions as a selection committee of the promising cricketers for the further matches at the district level. For this the District Association selection committee very minutely observes the matches of the players and on the basis of their personal performance players are chosen and the team is formed.

On the basis of the performance of the aspiring players at district level, they get the opportunity to play for their state. Further on the basis of the performance of the players at the state level, the national level selection committee makes the selection of the players for the national level team.


Ranji Trophy is considered as another golden passport to the selection of the players for the national cricket team of India. It is also the most crucial stage which facilitates the entry of a prospective player into the cricket team of the country.

The Ranji Trophy, named after Ranjit Singh Ji, the first Indian cricket player and who played for England and Sussex, is the first class domestic cricket championship of India. The Ranji Trophy is also popularly called as Ranji. It was earlier known as 'Cricket Championship of India".

The Ranji Trophy consists of the teams representing the various states of the country. So every state has its own representation in the Ranji Trophy Team. A few states represent more than one state.

The Ranji Trophy has the competition among 28 states, Chhattisgarh being the latest addition. The players of the Ranji Trophy team are selected from among the cream players of the 29 states and 6 Union Territories of the country. It must be kept in mind that the players from various cricket associations and cricket clubs also get the opportunity to play for the prestigious Ranji Trophy. So, the most crucial question is how to first get selected in the Ranji Trophy.

In fact, for the selection in the Ranji Trophy an aspiring player needs to undergo the following vigorous processes -

 First, start playing cricket right since childhood when you are usually in your primary school and for this better it would be if you get yourself enrolled in a cricket team at local level or a local club.

Practice makes a man perfect, goes the adage and so you need to consistently practice every day and play the cricket without fail. Ensure your participation in as many cricket matches as possible. Your excellence in the school and various other tournaments and matches would enable you to get selected for the district level tournament.

A division consists of many districts. For the selection at division levels, selection trials are held at district levels the criteria of which are determined on the basis of the players' performance in the local tournaments. The inter-district tournaments are held the performance of which also gives edge to the players to play for the Ranji Trophy and national team of India as well.

The performance of the players at the Inter-divisional tournaments becomes the parameter of the selection of those players for the camps. These camps serve as the rigorous training centre of the selected players under the professional guidance of the renowned coaches of various State Associations and sometimes under the guidance of very famous retired international cricket players. These trainee players also play various tournaments which are reckoned as the entrance test of the Ranji Trophy one's state and zone.

Even if you fail to shine at these matches, presently more editions of cricket tournament are appearing which have caught the fancy of the young generation. The IPL cricket matches have now proved to be very good platform the teams of which are drawn from the Ranji Trophy teams. The Indian Premier League and T20 -limited - edition- matches were started by the BCCI in 2007-2008 for which the players are selected via auction. They play for the teams owned by franchisees. The first IPL matches were organized in the months of April and June 2008.


You may be surprised to know that personal earnings of very famous national and international cricket players go beyond millions. The cricket players are paid quite handsomely by the BCCI and this is one of the most enticing attractions of the game.

Besides, the corporate companies are also cashing in on the popularity of these players and signing off contracts with them for the promotion of their products on the audio-visual and print media. The appointment of these players as the Brand Ambassadors of various campaigns and products by both the public and private sectors is teemed with huge wealth and innumerable laurels, the parallels of which are not normally found in other games and sports.

The BCCI has divided the players into four categories of  A+,  A, B and C from the salary structure point of view the parameters of which make the stint of experience and last year's performance in the matches played by an individual player. The ranking of the players lasts for one year and if any debutant joins in between the year he is given the slot in the grade C. The details of the salary composition of the players are as follows -

Retainer Fee

This is the fee which is paid as per the central contract and category in which the players are kept. Players in Grades A+ are paid rupees 7 crores. The grade A players get rupees 5 crores and grade B players receive rupees 3 crores. The C grade players are entitled to get rupees 1 crore.

Match Fee

This is the fee which is paid for playing the international matches. It is the same across all the four categories of the central contract. For the appearance in every Test match rupees 1500,000 is paid as match fee. For the appearance in One Day International match it is rupees 600,000 and for each T20 match the fee paid is rupees 300, 000.

Individual Performance Bonuses

The quality of the personal performance is the yardstick of the payment of this bonus. For every century scored in Test or ODI, rupees 500,000 is paid to the players while for scoring double century in Test or ODI, INR 700,000 is paid. The

5-wicket-feat in Test, ODI or T20 attracts INR 500,000 whereas for 10 - wicket haul the payment of bonus is rupees 700,000.

The bonanza does not stop here only. In the case of a win in a Test against a team in ICC top 3 ranking, 50 percent of hike is given in the match fee of the players. Winning a Test series against ICC top 3 team, 100 per cent of more fee is paid to the players. For the victory in ICC World Cup in both ODI and T20, an increase to the tune of 300 per cent is given in the match fees.


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the national governing body of cricket in India, was set up in December 1928. It is the committee of the administrators who is assigned with the responsibility of selecting the cricket players for the matches to be played at various levels.

The BCCI consists of two-tier of selectors -

  1. All India Senior Selection Committee

The responsibilities of this committee include selection of teams for all the international matches like those of Test Matches, One Day International (ODI) Matches and T20 International Matches. It also selects the players for the India A teams. Players for the teams like those of President's XI or BCCI XI are also selected by this committee. The President's XI team play cricket matches with international cricket teams which visit the country.

  1. All India Junior Selection Committee

This team selects players for the formation of the following teams-

*Under-19 Cricket

*Under-17 Cricket

*Under-15 Cricket

The BCCI consists of 5 members who are selected from each zone of North Zone, Central Zone, West Zone, East Zone and South Zone.


Like other professions, the career in cricket is also not a bed of roses - it is a bed of woes. The aspiring players must be hundred percent dedicated to the cricket. He must stay focussed on the cricket. They say that a promising and prospective cricket player must eat, drink, sleep and live cricket.

Have you ever imagined what chemistry functions behind the mettle of a batsman when he scores a number of 4s and 6s and ends up mounting the score of single and double century in a match? Obviously the answer is so much easy - the hard and consistent labour to excel at cricket.

Sometimes, it is easy to get entry into the cricket world but very hard to survive there because the audiences' craze and fans' expectations run so wild and high that once you fail to rise to their expectations they do not take much time to pelt stones on your houses and hurl shoes and rotten eggs on your faces. Bricks are there in the same number so are bouquets. So the task of a cricket player is not so much easier as much we feel elated and jealous to watch them.

Therefore for a grand and much-wished success and long-survival in the arena of cricket an aspiring youngster must take into the consideration the following points very seriously-


It is a bitter fact that urban youths have more opportunities to become a successful cricketer vis-a-vis that of rural urchins. However, this is not any hard and fast rule. But the youth from towns and cities have more facilities and exposure and as a result they can very easily get enrolled with the cricket association and trained in the academy run by it.

Moreover, the urban candidates have access to a number of cricket clubs and private cricket coaching institutes. But it does never mean that rural people do not have any chance to be a star cricketer. The rural aspirants have more time and better concentration to devote to their favourite play of cricket. So it is never the matter of any disappointment when you do not come from an urban locality.


The world of cricket has undergone a host of drastic changes over the past a few decades and it has only one success mantra and it is 'Survival of the fittest'.

You need to hone yourself to fit in all roles of the sport of cricket like those of bawling, batting and fielding. If you fail once to score a fifty or century... no problem, you can considerably lead your team to victory by preventing every fast speeding ball coming from the bat from going to boundary and across the boundary. You may not take a single wicket on a certain day---no problem, you can prove your inevitability in the team by scoring a few much-needed runs to see your team win the match. Hence, getting proficiency in all the segments of the cricket proves to be the sure-shot formula for ensuring one's birth in the team of the country.


You must have got bewildered and angered having found your star cricket players standing on the crease and failing to score even a single from a score of balls bowled to him. But the reality on the crease is so bizarrely different from the cosy seats of the stadium from where the audiences watch their heroes play the cricket.

The bottom line is that cricket requires a very high level of courage and patience to brave the adverse situation in and out of the stadium. Not only this, you also need to be very patient when you fail to make it to the national list of the players despite your hard labour, sincere effort and sole dedication. Keep playing more of the matches which will ultimately perfect you in it. Besides, you need to be very mentally strong. Keep yourself away from negative comments and criticisms which are so natural when your fans expect so much from you and dream so earnestly to become like you.

In this sport of uncertainty, there is only one time-tested rule of success which the would-be cricketer must not afford to forget, "Look always to your laurels rather than sitting on your laurels."

(The author teaches at Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya, e-mail: spsharma.rishu@gmail. com)

Views expressed are personal.

(Images Courtesy : Google)