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Which are some of the less exploited but promising avenues for practicing Chartered Accountants in India?

The following are a few promising fields that have opened up for CAs. Please remember that the CA qualification can be compared to an MBBS qualification and further specialisation is required akin to an MD specialisation to exploit the opportunities.GST Audit and Tax advisory services : Many entitities have to file their annual returns under GST with reconciliation as of 31st December of every year. Audit report either of a CA or CMA is required. This is one of the nascent areas recently opened up for practise along with GST advisory services.Valuation of Financial Assets : Valuation of Financial Instruments under IND AS and other valuations as required under the Companies Act 20123 requiring a valuers certificate. Practicing CAs are eligible subject to eligibility conditions as prescribed by Central GovernmentInsolvency Professional : A Chartered Accountant,who has enrolled as a member of ICAI and has ten years of experience [Regulation 5(c)(iv) of the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016], Successfully completed the National Insolvency Programme, as may be approved by the IBBI [Regulation 5(c)(i) of the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016], or Successfully completed the Graduate Insolvency Programme, as may approved by the IBBI [Regulation 5(c)(ii) of the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016].And Has passed the Limited Insolvency Examination within twelve months before the date of his application for enrolment with the insolvency professional agency [Regulation 5(a) of the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016].And Has completed a pre-registration educational course, as may be prescribed by the IBBI, from an IPA after his enrolment as professional member. [Regulation 5(b) of the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016].IT (Laws) and Compliance: Information technology has changed the way the world works. Things that used to take days are now completed within hours and minutes. A single person can now run an entire business thanks to IT. Information Technology is a technical domain that runs parallel to all modern industries and helps in making them more efficient. IT laws and regulations, and compliances under these laws have become extremely important especially under increased cyber threats and information distribution concerns. There are also areas like e-waste regulations and compliances regarding the same. Why do you need to know about it? IT has updated the entire process. Gone are the days when CAs were thought of in the same vein as a “munshi”. Today's CAs have access to an entire new world. CAs are now expected to recommend the best practices to management and reduce costs to aid savings while focusing on improving profits. They must also advice their clients on compliances under various information technology laws, such as data protection, having the right paperwork in place for online businesses and even policy issues at times. If you are looking to expand your expertise in a new area, then IT laws is definitely a great option. You can, for example, gain expertise in e-commerce & fintech regulations. You could also get a well-known certification in cyber law for increased credibility in this field. Also fields like Data analytics and Cyber security assurance are fields where a CA could thrive and use his logical and analytical skills.Labour and Employment laws compliance and advisory: All the laws regarding labour and employment come under the broad category of 'Employment Law'. It is responsible for protecting the rights of the labour force and with the help of amendments and judicial clarifications in the Industrial and labour laws, balance the interests of employers and employees. India is expected to rapidly reform its labour laws, and a lot has already been changing, to make India a competitive place to do business since its labour laws are often considered backdated and unfriendly to new age businesses. Still, India has hundreds of labour legislations that are complex to understand and follow. Labour laws enumerate the various rights and obligations of the employees and employers. It covers a range of issues from employment contracts, payment, procedures, settlement of dispute, statutory compliances, maternity benefits, leaves and holidays, workplace injury and compensation, gratuity and provident fund related issues, registrations and maintenance of various statutory registers and such other aspects. Why do you need to know about it? CAs are often expected by clients to take care of all the compliances. Clients automatically come to CAs for employment related compliances as well. There are definitely specialized firms that handle only employment law compliances. However, most SMEs and traditional business folks find it more comfortable to deal with their existing CA rather than roping in a new services provider. As a CA, with the necessary knowledge about labour laws and procedure, you can create an additional area of practice and revenue stream by taking care of these compliances and even advising clients on the same. Some of the areas to explore here are: Policy drafting - Various workplace policies such as whistle blower policy, conflict of interest policy, CSR policy, anti-sexual harassment policy etc. - you can make a suite of policies and provide the same to your clients with customization as required. Labour law audit - offer a labour law audit to your clients. Most of them are stuck at various degrees of non-compliance and have no idea Offer registration services - there are many registrations required under labour laws for both manufacturing and white-collar offices. Most of the time SMEs have no idea about these and big companies are happy to outsource what they consider to be drudge work. Maintaining various records, registers and displays - India has a plethora of labour laws under which many records, registers and displays are supposed to be maintained. You can help your clients to become compliant with these laws.Contract Management and Advisory: Commercial contracts include joint venture agreements, terms and conditions for services, vendor agreements, purchase and supply agreements, service level agreements, franchise agreements, shareholders' agreements and lease and rental agreements amongst others. Many business agreements are quite simple and does not require massive amount of legal knowledge to either draft or negotiate. A smart person, with minimal experience, can easily work with a good template and churn out a decent business contract in a large majority of business situations. While one could go to a law firm for expensive contract drafting services, which is often justified when stakes are high, for day-to-day matters simple standard form templates do just fine.Bigger accounting firms usually collaborate with legal teams to make templates for all the necessary contracts a company might need, from employment and founder agreements to vendor agreements. These need to be updated regularly keeping the latest laws and changing business scenarios in mind. Chartered Accountants are asked to advise on contractual matters once in a while because of their vast knowledge of compliances and regulations, but primarily because not every contract is worth hiring lawyers. To improve skills on contract drafting and even negotiation, one has to undergo a contract drafting and negotiation course or have an LLB degree as an added qualification. Clients often look at their CA as a friend, philosopher and guide. If you are able to advice clients on their contracts, or explain to them about the merits or demerits of a clause, it will only increase your value as a trusted business advisor.Government Procurement and Tendering :Organisations, institutes and governments send out formal structured invitations called ‘Request for Tender’ to prospective suppliers or publish in the newspapers or designated notice boards to submit a bid to supply particular products and/or services. There is an elaborate bidding process. Government being a big spender, clients can make a lot of money from a tender if they get it. However, the complexity of this bureaucratic process requires them often to get some expert help. As a CA you can be very useful to any supplier looking to secure a government contract. You already have much of the prerequisite knowledge regarding compliances, conditions and regulations to help in this process. However, a specific knowledge regarding how government contracting works, laws, regulations and important judgment related to tender and bidding process is necessary. The Government has come out with a lot of strategies to help SMEs especially to ensure that they get a good part of the government contracts available. Many tenders are reserved for SMEs and small companies. These SMEs, many of which may already be your client, may not have gotten started with government contracts. As a CA, you can open that door for them, guide them and as a result, help them to grow. You can learn more about managing government tenders from our certificate course on Government contracts, tender management and regulations. A lot of businesses can do better only if they have a more knowledgeable person guiding them through the process. As bigger consulting firms hardly ever consult smaller businesses, you can fill the void and manage the tender applications for these smaller suppliers.Due diligence: Due diligence refers to a comprehensive set of steps taken by a prospective buyer to appraise and get an accurate understanding of the assets, liabilities and commercial potential of the deemed product. Due diligence is very important as it enables you to understand and fully grasp the positive as well as negative outcomes of getting involved or investing in something. CAs have always been involved in financial and tax due diligence, which is part of every M&A, investment deal and any large finance round. However, CAs are not always comfortable with conducting a legal due diligence, nor is it appropriate for CAs to give legal opinion. However, with a lot of growth (and deals) coming from the startup market, there is a need of professionals who have a broader understanding of things and possibility of hiring multiple professionals is limited. Clients in this market prefer a professional who can look into all the sides. This gives CAs an opportunity to be more competitive if they understand the legal due diligence process apart from financial and tax due diligence.Chartered Accountants are very well aware of due diligence with years of experience starting right from articleship. If you want to succeed and advance in your career, you have to be very good with your due diligence. You need to be thorough and detail oriented. Every CA has had enough exposure to due diligence and yet you see some being better at it than others. Due diligence is a very hands on process and requires a lot of time and effort, but it also opens you up to bigger things since it is so obviously needed. A CA having additional knowledge on legal side due diligence can be very impressive.Intellectual Property :As IP is becoming increasingly important to a large number of businesses, in booming sectors like media, technology and pharma, the CAs who work with them are increasingly facing IP related issues. The work varies from valuation of intellectual property to licensing and assignment deals. Building and enforcing internal standards for managing IP portfolio is also a major area of work where CAs have natural proclivities and these fit nicely into existing responsibilities. CAs can benefit a lot by learning more about IP laws, regulations, IP contracts and best practices in the market related to IP. CAs can now file trademark and copyright .Corporate Governance :Corporate Governance refers to the system of rules, regulations and practices by which a company is directed and controlled. It basically involves balancing the interests of the company, its' investors, the shareholders, the workers, the suppliers, the vendors, government and the community. Good, stable and a well thought out corporate governance system is responsible for the smooth operation of any company. It identifies the rights and responsibilities among all of it's' participants. In fact, listed companies which are known to have amazing corporate governance receives a premium in the marketplace as investors consider the risk of investing in such companies to be much lower. Especially foreign investment flows mostly to only such companies, which makes every listed company very interested in corporate governance. CAs being the quintessential business advisors, can play a big role in corporate governance. In fact, many of the most prized independent directors, and even executive directors are well known CAs. Chartered Accountants need to apply fine principles of Corporate Governance when called upon. You have the potential to do a lot in this field. You can provide specialized guidance in designing the code of conduct, risk management framework and all the regulations associated with them. You can also work on things like whistleblowing policy and implementation, sexual harassment policy and implementation, conflict of interest policy etc. Managing finance of the company is another major area of work for CAs, but they can sometimes fall short on knowledge in certain specialized areas such as negotiation of term sheet for investment (for angel or VC investment), FDI or ECB regulations, or maybe corporate insolvency resolution. Corporate Governance is one of the more important tasks that come across an accountancy firm desk and it is not just plain corporate compliance. There is a strategic angle to corporate governance. So update your skills to match the demand.Special Economic Zone Laws :Special Economic Zones (SEZ), which are specially designated zones where export oriented units function under relatively easy laws and regulations have been attracting massive amount of Foreign Direct Investment and number of announced SEZs stand over 500 already. Out of these, according to the government, as of December 2017, 222 were operating. SEZ is serious business as most of export oriented manufacturing, services and trade is quickly shifting to various SEZs. Interestingly, SEZs have unique rules, regulations and compliances. This is an excellent area of practice to target.Corporate Social Responsibility : Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the role that corporations are expected to play in meeting the agenda of sustainable development by providing a balanced approach towards economic progress, social progress and environmental stewardship. Even though CSR in India tends to focus on what is done after the profits have been made, as per the Companies Act of 2013, India became the first country in the world to mandate and quantify CSR expenditure. It effectively requires certain big companies to give a minimum of two percent of its profit to charity.There has been a considerable increase in the CSR spending by companies. CAs are often called on to audit CSR projects, and even handle CSR committees that companies are required to set up. Shortlisting, approving and coordinating CSR projects also require qualified professionals with financial acumen. Concepts like “inclusive growth” and “responsible enterprise” are actually being used to bring about better corporate governance. You can make a positive change in the society by spearheading or advising on effective CSR projects.Foreign Direct Investment : Foreign Direct Investment refers to an investment or buying equity interest in a company by a foreign entity or investor or acquiring business assets of one country by an entity based out of another. FDI is a critical part of India's economic growth and is a major non-debt source of capital for India Inc. Foreign companies look forward to investing in India because of the lower cost of resources and wages as well as special investment privileges that the Government of India offers. Many accounting firms as well as independent accountants have already jumped on this bandwagon over the last 2 decades as FDI juggernaut has so far been unstoppable. FDI related work usually pays very well. If you have the knowledge about the regulations, compliances, documentation, usual negotiation points and restrictions about FDI in different sectors,External Commercial Borrowings : External Commercial Borrowing basically refers to a loan availed by an Indian entity from a non-resident lender. These loans are mostly provided by foreign commercial banks or financial institutions. ECB is one of the prominent forms of foreign funding. The Indian Government has a very comprehensive policy regarding ECB that regulates the flow and puts the necessary restrictions, interest rate ceilings, maturity period, ceiling on total amount borrowed et cetera. ECBs provide the opportunity to borrow a significantly large amount of money with a possibly longer terms and lower interest rates. As a CA with a substantial knowledge of corporate law and the regulations surrounding ECB, you can help corporations raise ECBs from internationally recognised sources like banks, international markets, etc. These deals help secure a substantial cash reserve which can be used to help the company jump leagues ahead of the competition if used well. There is tons of work for CAs to do in this, including project viability reports, RBI compliances, general advisory and preparation of documents.Foreign Contribution Regulation Act : Non-profit organisations and NGOs are supported by funds received from foreign donors/initiatives/groups. Just like companies, NGOs and not-for-profit societies, trusts and foundations also need a CA. Especially in this area, a CA with precise knowledge of the regulations and conditions, as well as experience of dealing with the government is critical. This is a good and undervalued niche with good potentials wherever there are many NGOs. As a CA, one can help clients to register under the required government regulations and follow all the prerequisite conditions in case they would like to continue to receive foreign contributionFinancial and Technological laws (Fintech):he fintech market is relatively new to India. It started as small mobile payments initially and has since grown into a vibrant and diverse market. Fintech generally refers to companies that use technology to provide financial services. Fintech-specific laws have still not been placed in the country although RBI has certain regulations in place. SEBI has formed a panel to oversee fintech's impact on the market. From cryptocurrencies changing how banking is done around the world to creating new asset classes, blockchain technology making headlines every day, digital goods in games like Second Life becoming a billion dollar economy, fintech is probably the fastest growing sunrise industry today. Many professionals would love to get a piece of this pie except that they have no idea how to. As India doesn't have up-to-date fintech laws, it is in the perfect situation. This has made India the hotspot for the global fintech market. Every major and minor player is coming to India also because of its massive market which is extremely cash heavy. Currently there are no major restrictions or prohibitions to the fintech market although stricter norm are rumoured to be put in place soon. This gives every CA a unique opportunity as a man with the know-how. You can utilise the pre-existing knowledge of corporate laws, acquire fintech specific knowledge and make good money by helping out the burgeoning bandwagon of companies starting up in this space or looking to enter the Indian marketplace.Mergers and Acquisitions (M &A): ergers and acquisitions - the inorganic processes through which businesses attempt to achieve exponential growth, new market entries, vertical expansion and a lot more - have always been a special area of interest of lawyers, bankers and CAs. As the stakes involved are usually very high, this work pays extremely well. M&A has been a tough practice to break into where the big 5 have a stranglehold. However, in India the M&A industry is growing quite fast, with ever expanding and formalizing economy combined with the national push towards a digital India working its way with the startup culture. There is a lot more M&A work than ever. However, trained professionals are few. You have to understand that the startup boom of the last few years have created a new window of opportunity in the M&A market in India which never ever existed, and it seems that the window is growing bigger with the startup ecosystem maturing. There are fewer frivolous startups, but funding and acquiring activity is really frenetic. Apart from full acquisitions, acquihires are quite in vogue. As a CA, you are already likely to have quite a bit of knowledge on the subject matter. However, M&A are complicated processes that require a lot of legwork, and new practices are always evolving in this high speed high stakes market. Most of the big companies in the world, employ one of the Big Four alongside their legal firm to handle and oversee M&A. However, currently, a lot more than just fortune 500 companies have started to engage in M&A deals. In fact, M&A is quite hot right now in private companies' space, apart from mid-cap and small cap. Even SMEs are looking and M&A with technology companies leading the pack. Not all acquirers are comfortable with paying big firm fees. If you have a look at some of the most successful companies in the last decade, they have grown from small startups in somebody's basement to multinational conglomerates by always expanding. Even relatively smaller startups are always considering acquisitions and acquihires. As a CA, you have a clear opportunity to help yourself and your firm by learning as much as you can about M&A. Accountancy firms generate a lot of revenue through M&A.Import Export Laws : India's import and export processes are regulated under the Foreign Trade Act of 1992 and the EXIM (Export Import) Policy. These laws regulate both the processes while simultaneously categorising and classifying all the goods involved. As import-export dynamics dictate a significant part of the national finances, these laws are very judiciously implemented and enforced. Import-Export is one of the most profitable commercial avenues that exist in the world now. A lot of this money-making operation depends on the knowledge of the people that undertake them about trade barriers, taxation rules, customs regulations, et cetera. These laws are changed internationally on a regular basis depending on financial stability or diplomatic relationships. As a CA, if you are well-versed in import and export laws of the country and can make the effort to learn about others, you can find yourself a very good position as counsel to companies and organisations that are involved in this business.Startup Advisory : There is a lot of opportunity for this market to grow in coming years, and CAs who specialize in startup related work have a great demand in the market. At the lower end the work is very simple and competition is steep, but as one goes to the higher end of the market, work is sophisticated, competition is few and pay is good. Focusing solely on venture funded companies is probably a bad idea, though they can make excellent clients too. Those who are new in this area should start with sustainable but small startups working hard to claw their way up the value chain. Long term bets are likely to pay off better at this point of time in the startup market. Also, noticing new and important trends are important. At the moment, machine learning, blockchain and AR/VR are the major trends in the startup world. The next trend could be adaptive security architectures, or voice command solutions. There are many possibilities, but a startup advisor has to identify trends early so that they can be at the right place and the right time.Risk Management Professional ( CRO) : Organisations with a dynamic business environment require a professional with expertise to map the risks and lay out strategies to manage risk. A CA with a risk management certification gets an edge since he has the knowhow to better handle emerging situations and isolate risk factors and handle the outcomes in a better and planned manner

Why is cricket the most followed sport in India?

Thank you Visali Krishnan for the A2A!The answer is simple:Visibility/Eyeballs/MarketingIn the days of the British Raj, schools and colleges only patronised the sports that the British handed down to them as “elite/high class”. So in schools you played only what the school promoted - typically football or cricket in the “Elite” convent institutions, or kho-kho, Kabaddi or hockey in other institutions. (Yes there WAS classism and uppityness over what sport the school encouraged!) Therefore that is what the school kids picked up, and the public spoke about. It was the rage in the local maidans, radio and newspapers.That is why most sports enjoyed quite a lot of popularity in those days. The Brit induced crazes of football plus the local craze for hockey dominated the headlines! These games were all broadcast on the radio which aided to continued popularity. Also, there was a lot of elitism involved. Just Take a look at Wimbledon. Those uppity snobs have so much by way of protocol and dress codes for a simple tennis tournament. That way, tennis was painted as “aspirational” in the minds of the masses. Ditto for badminton, along with tennis, two sports that only the officers and managers of old indulged in. The common folk indulged in more easily accessible sports, like cricket, football and hockey.Case in point? Look at your FB feed at around the time of a popular tennis tournament - like a Grand Slam, Masters, or the Davis Cup. The posts are all mostly in English, far less excitable and more of the “intellectually curated” variety. There is very very little chance you will find an Indian post in vernacular, on tennis! That, in a snapshot is the average Indian tennis fan - urbane, Anglophone, and almost always very conversant with the game at TV-pundit-levels. Contrast this with the average football or cricket fan - cuts across classes from lower to upper, languages and regions, posts ate invariably more hot-blooded and raw, and as for knowledgeable, only Chennai knows their cricket in and out, and Kerala, Bengal and Goa, their football. The rest are just armchair pundits :) (Ok now don’t gang up on me for this, all in good faith!) That is because these are the sports easily accessible to a lower to middle class public (narrow gullies are more than ok for cricket or football!)So how did cricket break away from this group, when hockey and football enjoyed equal footing?The lazy answer many give you, is that of the 1983 World Cup. Kapil’s Devils against odds of 66 to 1 won more matches in one week of the 1983 World cup than they did in the previous two editions combined. They went on to win the cup after two superlative wins against Australia and England, and the upset against West Indies in the final. They became overnight sensations, and that tilted it in their favour. With that momentum behind them, the BCCI succesfully lobbied to have the 1987 world cup shifted to India, changing the face of the game immeasurably. Parallell to this, India’s hockey team had some seriously poor results in the Asian Games (1–7 in the final to Pakistan), Hockey World Cup (out before the semis) and Asia cup of 1982. Is that really the reason why cricket pulled ahead? With due respect to Kapil Dev and the other thirteen, I must disagree.If that is the case, what of THIS?In 1975, eight years before the cricketers, India won the Hockey World Cup. It remains the previous generation’s where-were-you-when moment. Every single old-timer remembers where they were and what they were doing, as they listened intently, and anxiously to the shortwave Akashvani broadcast that brought home the story live,of how they turned a tight game in their favour to ultimately win against Pakistan in the final. Captain Ajitpal Singh and his band were deservedly overnight heroes! India went on to host the World Cup after the next, in 1982. From the example of the cricket above, that should have been the catalyst for hockey to monopolise the public mindset. (Again, parallel to a seriously poor 1975 World Cup and some equally terrible results around it for the Cricket team) Why did they not?The answer lies in visibilityBy the Asian Games of 1982, the Soviet-style PR-plus-vikaas machine of the Indira Government had mobilised swanky new phone lines, better communication and colour television for the Games. That proved to be a roaring success for a public starved of instant entertainment. The TV being a status symbol in those days, many would crowd around the drawing halls of the one big shot in the village who had a TV. Live television coverage gave Kapil Dev and his team visibility and the mindspace, that the Hockey team was unlucky to miss out on. This continued through the 1985 world championship of cricket that India won, the thrilling tied finish to the 1986 Chennai Test that literally stopped India’s trains because passengers, guards and drivers all glued to the station TVs didn’t bother to board the train until the game finished, through to the 1987 World cup hosted by India.Cricket has always been lucky to cash in on the best of economic and technological advancement. And smart too! Why do I call it smart?This man.Jagmohan Damiya, the man who singlehandedly altered India’s sporting preferences permanently in one stroke. It was the singe biggest masterstroke, before the IPL came along.As part of the Diamond Jubilee of the Cricket Association of Bengal, they organised a pentangular Hero Cup in 1993. Dalmiya was the CAB president at that time. Remember, this was just two years after India’s economy was opened up. Dalmiya realised that this presented a golden opportunity to market the game. Until now, the haughty babus at Doordarshan demanded a fee to telecast matches, as if they were doing the BCCI a favour. Dalmiya, the best possible man to learn self reliance from, decided that this was nonsense, and that it was in fact Doordarshan that benefited from telecasting Indian cricket. He inverted the system, and decided that people would have to bid for the right to telecast Indian cricket. His confidence stemmed from the belief that India’s cricketers were marketable and anyone who wanted to use their name should pay up fair money or take a walk! Dordarshan took refuge in an archaic 1894 British-era law that said all communication was at the sole discretion of the government. Dalmiya of course, sued and won in no time, and the rights were sold to a British company by the name of Trans World International.The Hero Cup of 1993 was the first Indian tournament broadcast to world standards, with world class commentators.This set in motion a trend of the BCCI setting high benchmarks for their broadcast rights (which in turn meant team sponsorship rights were also high, due to the visibility), and invariably making HUGE money! This money was what was cascaded down to the cricketers, which is why the cricketers got hefty salaries from the BCCI, let alone ad-money. Dalmiya was the man who fought for more money from the Board’s coffers to be devolved to the players, down to even the first class level. To my mind, since 1993 only one test (1998) and ODI (1997) each v Zimbabwe has NOT been telecast live at home in India.This set in motion the cycle where visibility meant more people watching, more people wanting to be the next Gavaskar, one of them becoming a Tendulkar, people wanting to be the next superstar like Tendulkar, and one of them becoming a Virat Kohli.So why didn’t other sports take the cue?The BCCI is NOT a government body and does NOT depend on the government for any grants. If anybody in the eighties had the right to wail about no money and no support, it was the BCCI. Hockey and Football were under the Sports Authority of India. Did Dalmiya wail about being orphaned without government support? He did not. He charted his own path, and laid down a template for Indian sports federations. Other sports lacked that visionary like Dalmiya. Could they have taken a cue from Dalmiya and batted for better telecast? Sure as hell. Other than cricket what occupied airtime on our sports channels until recently? English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and German league football, not India matches. Grand Slam Tennis, not Indian Davis cup matches. Hockey was once in a blue moon, Ten sports doing the cursory duties of the Champions Trophy and World Cup, and DD taking over for the olympics - That’s three tournaments in four years! How will hockey stay in the public mind then?This has only undergone a pleasant change in the recent past. Thank the IPL for it. Thankfully, many federations that missed the telecast bus, didnt miss the Premier League bus! The Hockey India League (modelled exactly on the IPL, with drafts and team franchises) exposed for all and sundry the nonsense that there is no money in other sports. The 2016 edition had viewership higher than that of football! The Pro Kabaddi League is a roaring success. The result? The Kabaddi world cup was broadcast for THE FIRST TIME IN INDIA, on the same top-notch platform of Star Sports (India had won five times before that but who knew or recalled names?)That is why it is nauseating to hear this nonsense that cricket is gobbling up other sports. They spotted an opportunity and took it! Please do not grudge the cricketers their fair share of money and a right to a better livelihood just because there was a visionary administrator backing them! That is just Indian crab mentality and our jealousy and heartburn at seeing rich/flashy people. (Reminds me o the line: Everyone is a communist until they get rich!) Do we care about the back story behind them?Let me leave you with this example, from Rahul Dravid’s Donald Bradman Memorial Oration in 2011As the earnings from Indian cricket have grown in the past 2 decades, mainly through television, the BCCI has spread revenues to various pockets in the country and improved where we play. The field is now spread wider than it ever has been, the ground covered by Indian cricket, has shifted.Twenty seven teams compete in our national championship, the Ranji Trophy. Last season Rajasthan, a state best known for its palaces, fortresses and tourism won the Ranji Trophy title for the first time in its history. The national one-day championship also had a first-time winner in the newly formed state of Jharkand, where our captain MS Dhoni comes from.The growth and scale of cricket on our television was the engine of this population shift. Like Bradman was the boy from Bowral, a stream of Indian cricketers now come from what you could call India's outback.Zaheer Khan belongs to the Maharashtra heartland, from a town that didn't have even one proper turf wicket. He could have been an instrumentation engineer but was drawn to cricket through TV and modelled his bowling by practising in front of the mirror on his cupboard at home, and first bowled with a proper cricket ball at the age of 17.One day out of nowhere, a boy from a village in Gujarat turned up as India's fastest bowler. After Munaf Patel made his debut for India, the road from the nearest railway station to his village had to be improved because journalists and TV crews from the cities kept landing up there.We are delighted that Umesh Yadav didn't become a policeman like he was planning and turned to cricket instead. He is the first cricketer from the central Indian first-class team of Vidarbha to play Test cricket.Virender Sehwag, it shouldn't surprise you, belongs to the wild west just outside Delhi. He had to be enrolled in a college which had a good cricket programme and travelled 84kms every day by bus to get to practice and matches.Every player in this room wearing an India blazer has a story like this. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the heart and soul of Indian cricket.Playing for India completely changes our lives. The game has given us a chance to pay back our debt to all those who gave their time, energy and resources for us to be better cricketers: we can build new homes for our parents, get our siblings married off in style, give our families very comfortable lives.

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