Aussies cashing in on India Inc.

SYDNEY, JULY 30. With cricket emerging as the new religion binding the whole of India, the Australians hope to cash in on the hysteria and laugh all the way to the bank when they reach there for a four-Test series later this year.

Pointing out to India’s burgeoning economy, the Sydney Morning Herald says the Aussie cricketers are falling prey to the lure of moolah and taking India more seriously than ever.

The Aussies hope to gain from the `national cricketing obsession’, the report says, adding, “Which explains, in part, why Brett Lee is learning to speak Hindi. And why Shane Warne has commissioned an agent in India to uncover sponsorship opportunities. And why Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath are among those to have followed the lead of Steve Waugh in embracing the Indian culture – and benefiting financially.”

Pioneer

The daily also quotes wicket-keeper and vice-captain Gilchrist as saying, “Tugga [Waugh] was the guy who pioneered looking at India in this way. I think we’re all pretty aware of the opportunities now, whereas we probably weren’t so much a few years ago.

“There is so much easy money there, smash-and-grab money, where you do work that is quite easy (for a sponsor) and get paid well for it.”

The swashbuckling batsman-stumper was also candid in his admission. “I actually fell into the trap of that a little bit during my last (Test) tour there, getting a bit too excited at the prospects and the commercial work that was out there.”

The report also quotes Neil Maxwell, a former NSW all-rounder now managing Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie, as saying, “With Brett, we treat India as a completely separate entity and we have our own marketing plan for opportunities there.”

“We think there’s great potential there for Brett with the series coming up, because he can transcend cultural differences, he’s affable, good-looking, plays music and is successful at what he does on the field.” “It’s fair to say Steve Waugh was probably the first (Australian player) to accept India for what it was and embrace it. They embraced him back. Brett has learned to speak Hindi off his own bat – I didn’t push it. It’s about making an effort to embrace the culture,” Maxwell added.

Chasing opportunities

Warne’s agent and brother Jason has commissioned an Indian firm to chase commercial opportunities ahead of the October series, claims the report. “In the past most players, including ourselves, would wait for the market to come to us. We’re taking a pro-active approach this time,” said Jason Warne.

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting too sounded impressed with the popularity of the game in India. “There’s nowhere in the world like it, going to the game with people lined up along the streets, or standing 10-deep to watch a TV in a shop window… players are on billboards on every street corner. They were talking about this series then. It’s fair to say the opportunities are significant.” he said. — UNI

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