"Mercenary" cricket, the brainchild of Kerry Packer, who introduced pyjama cricket in the late 1970s, gave cricketers a lifeline after they retired. As cricket mushroomed into more than the Test format and international competition became more intense with the inclusion of more countries and our re-entry after isolation, player demands grew concomitantly.
The latest mutiny by Australia’s cricketers on the eve of the Ashes series smacks of a ransom demand. If one checks the net worth of some cricketers, past players who did service for their countries for a pittance would be astounded.
The Indian Premier League and several other tournaments have handsomely rewarded players, with the likes of Ricky Ponting, Chris Gayle and Sachin Tendulkar now megarich. Australia’s cricketers have always been well rewarded by the board and this latest stand-off is nothing short of greed.
Once players proudly wore the blazer — now they attach a price tag. And they call it the gentleman’s game.