Faf’s pay load in the pipe­line

CityPress - - Sport - Stu­art Long­bot­tom @Long­bot­tom_69 is an arm­chair cricket critic. He’s try­ing to re­sist the urge to con­stantly check Twit­ter be­cause, as they say, self-pro­mo­tion is the thief of time

tempt­ing the cash in­cen­tives and en­dorse­ments must have been.

Fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives in South African sports no doubt pale in com­par­i­son with those on the pro­fes­sional ten­nis cir­cuit. Not too long ago, this pa­per re­ported on how Proteas play­ers get almost R47 000 for play­ing a test match, as well as a R35 000 win bonus.

Shara­pova net­ted about R10.5 mil­lion for her vic­tory in China. Her cash prize for win­ning that one tour­na­ment was prob­a­bly a lot more than what most mid­ca­reer South African crick­eters play­ing lo­cally have earned since they turned pro.

In the same week as Shara­pova’s tri­umph, we watched Faf help his IPL team, the Chen­nai Su­per Kings, to vic­tory in the glitzy Cham­pi­ons League T20.

The Su­per Kings amassed more than R27 mil­lion for claim­ing the ti­tle.

If my new (and I might add, over­flow­ing) in­box is any­thing to go by, Faf has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of some de­ri­sion for tak­ing time off while the rest of the boys slog it out for their coun­try next month in the an­tipodes.

After the news broke, some read­ers were left ask­ing why he was avail­able for his IPL fran­chise but not for his coun­try. Surely, they in­ti­mated, rep­re­sent­ing one’s coun­try should be pri­ori­tised over – to put it bluntly – mak­ing money on the sub­con­ti­nent.

What we fail to un­der­stand, per­haps, is that Faf’s Proteas stipend alone is hardly ad­e­quate to cover all the spa treat­ments and fa­cials he needs to main­tain that nat­u­ral win­ning glow.

The hard, cold truth of the mat­ter – as much as cricket purists like some read­ers and my­self find it dif­fi­cult to swal­low – is that play­ing cricket full time is a ca­reer choice and, like any pro­fes­sion, it’s driven by fi­nan­cial gain, cou­pled with some sort of pas­sion. (Un­less, of course, you find your­self on a ca­reer path in­volv­ing jour­nal­ism, where the pay is noth­ing more than okay and the pas­sion wanes with ev­ery sip of cheap whiskey.)

So it seems the time has fi­nally come for guys like Faf to get in on the same com­mer­cial ac­tion ten­nis play­ers, foot­ballers, golfers and just about any pro­fes­sional ath­lete other than crick­eters have been en­joy­ing for decades.

Some­times it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter which

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.