Final match today, Pak’s former cricketers also cash in on series

FP

The current crop of Pakistani cricketers may have missed out on a few seasons' worth of IPL earnings, but the ongoing India-Pakistan series has given some of the former cricketers from across the border an opportunity to rake in big bucks as commentators and experts on Indian television.

Pakistani cricketers Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Akhtar and Aaqib Javed, among others, are pocketing Rs 10 lakh-20 lakh each for making half-hour appearances as panelists on TV discussions during the T20 and ongoing ODI series. For each half-hour slot during the five matches of the series, the former cricketers are earning Rs 2 lakh-4 lakh.

While India is a large market for cricket-based advertising, there is also a thriving cricket analysis and discussion industry. "Most news channels these days have their in-house experts to deliberate on the games. And the demand for such experts is so high that most channels sign exclusive contracts with them, which means they cannot appear on a rival network for the period of contract," says Jeet Banerjee, director, Gameplan Sports Pvt Ltd, a sports marketing agency that represents many cricketers.

Industry sources say most leading Hindi news channels spend over Rs 1 crore per year for their exclusive set of cricket analysts. English channels and networks that have over two news channels spend around Rs 3-4 crore a year on such contracts. "Cricket is a major news-making event in our country. Therefore, we make sure we cover it in its entire width and depth," says the sports editor of a leading news channel.

It is a well-known fact that Bollywood-centric content and cricket are crowd-pullers on TV. It is no different for TV news. Since the telecast rights of cricket matches are mostly owned by sports networks, news channels only get a few minutes of footage to play with. This footage is milked by weaving in special programmes, debates and discussions around it with experts. Besides, some former cricketers have their own fan following, bringing in additional eyeballs.

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