Generally, those called to bowl at the nets are promising players who are on the verge of selection for their state teams or are playing for them at some junior level.
A lot of practice bowlers at the Royals nets here, however, are discards of their respective state associations. And had it not been for such opportunities, one or two might even struggle to make both ends meet.
Sukhbir Singh, a 24-year-old paceman from Punjab, won a cricket reality show five or six years back. He shot into limelight and even played a county game for Leicestershire, where he also played some league cricket games. But he is now left to search for opportunities like these.
"His father is a bus driver. The little bit of money he is getting here is worth quite a bit for him," says Romi Bhinder, co-owner of a private academy in Nagpur that is linked with Royals for providing net bowlers.
The academy charges quite a bit from the players who wish to train there but Sukhbir has been spared the fees. Another of his colleague and statemate spent four years at the MRF pace academy. But once out, he found there was hardly any opening in the top echelons of the game. He is also now looking for chances like these.
"You see a lot of talented kids come with high hopes. But cricket cannot employ all of them," says Bhinder.
Edward is a leg spinner from Chennai who had played for the MRF team in the Chennai league for a while. But that was it. And what is his claim to fame? "I reminded Sreesanth here that I was the 12th man for MRF where he was the 13th man."
Cricket, it seems, isn't a goldmine for everyone.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.