Veteran sports journalist Ayaz Memon said that former Indian cricket team captain Dilip Vengsarkar got anywhere between Rs 150 to Rs 200 for a first-class match during his days. He added since cricket has always been “so phenomenally popular in India” and thus its players have always had an upper hand over other sports such as hockey. Memon was speaking to India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai at the IAA Global Summit.
The senior scribe, also known fondly as Silver Fox, mentioned, “Cricket has always been so phenomenally popular in India. By the time, he (Vengsarkar) started playing; he was getting about Rs 150-Rs 200 for a first-class match. There are a lot of privileges that cricketers have always enjoyed unlike say like hockey players.”
He also revealed that he saw that four players were living in a single room and had to wash their clothes, while adding they got around $10 as daily allowance. Memon, however, stated that circumstances have changed a lot since those days.
He underscored, “I think what has happened with cricket is with cricket getting so organised. Let’s give BCCI credit where it’s due. The game has just got regimented, made the sport more popular, made the sport rich. There has been an upliftment of all other sports. All other sports are aspiring to have leagues like the IPL (Indian Premier League).”
During the course of the discussion, Vengsarkar recounted that they did not get much allowance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Vengsarkar recollected that they got hardly anything and urged the cricket body to increase allowances for cricketers.
He further recounted that he had asked the BCCI during the West Indies tour whether the team was expected to go to houses of Indian fans living abroad for dinner after playing a 450 over-long match.
Going ahead, he recounted an instance wherein the board levied a fine of Rs 50,000 for playing some exhibition matches in the US after the West Indies tour. He said, “When we went to America after the West Indies tour, we hadn’t taken permission… We just played some exhibition matches and then we were banned for one year and we were fined Rs 50,000.”
He then talked about mulling applying for a loan and mortgaging his house to pay the amount to the cricket board. Going further, the cricket maven talked about how the Supreme Court intervened and rapped BCCI for its restrictions.
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