Out of sync with cricket's business

After having spent 18 seasons piling up a mountain of runs for Central Districts, Matthew Sinclair abruptly pulled the curtains down on his cricket career on Wednesday. A few hours later, the 37-year-old former New Zealand Test batsman walked up to the Work and Income department and applied for unemployment rights.

Around the same time, Kiwi Scott Styris was busy wishing his Sussex teammates luck on Twitter. Sussex is one of the three teams that the T20 specialist represents presently, and among the dozen around the world that he has appeared for.

Two years ago, while Sinclair slogged away, grinding runs in NZ's domestic tournaments, Styris earned $200,000 for simply warming the Chennai Super Kings bench for two months in the IPL.

Sinclair was a stylish stroke-maker, who started his Test career with a double hundred and had scored two double-tons within his first 12 Tests. While his inconsistency cost him a regular place in the Black Caps setup thereafter, his inability to be innovative ensured that he never attracted attention from the T20 world, unlike Styris and Jacob Oram.

Sinclair's bleak end also highlights the constant financial battles faced by cricketers in New Zealand and the West Indies. Not long back, the likes of Hamish Marshall and Iain O'Brien had turned their backs on their national side and opted for more tenable opportunities that county cricket in England offers.

Many more might go the Sinclair way if the financial disparity between various boards continues to widen. Or the chasm between those possessing T20 skills and the so-called Test specialists increases.

Domestic cricket might be a more sustainable vocation in India. The imbalance that exists here is of a slightly different kind though.

Jiwanjot Singh was among the highest run-getters in the Ranji Trophy last season but failed to attract an IPL contract owing to his reputation of being a stodgy accumalator of runs. He had to be content with watching his flamboyant peers Manan Vohra and Unmukt Chand soak in the IPL glitz, leaving him with no option but to change his inherent style and approach.

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