George Bernard Shaw once defined cricket as a game played by 22 fools and watched by 22,000 fools. Of course, George Bernard Shaw has a right to voice his opinion. It does not matter whether he is right or wrong. However, if he had made the same statement in India, people could have roasted him or trolled him as they call it today.
To call cricket as a game in India is a gross understatement. It is also sacrilegious to say the least. Cricket is a religion and the Indian cricketers are no less than demigods. One must admit that cricket can unite people from all religions in India. People rejoice when the Indian team does well and become disappointed when they lose. Naturally, Indian cricketers have to face the music as well at times. No wonder, they make a huge amount of money on as well as off the field. No one grudges their earnings because it requires skill, sacrifice, hard work, and luck as well to succeed as a cricketer in India.
The IPL tournament has changed the dimensions of the earning graphs. There are people who are on this list purely because of their earnings in the IPL alone. Let us look at the top 10 richest cricketers in India 2018 (or it should be 11 because a cricket team should have 11 players on the field).
11. Suresh Raina – $14 million
We start out batting from No 11. Suresh Raina opens the batting at No 11 in this list. This left-handed batsman is a baby faced but mercurial player capable of playing the big shots whenever required. One of only three Indian players to have centuries in all forms of international cricket (Tests, One day internationals, and T-20), Suresh Raina is a treat to watch when in full flow. His main success came from the IPL tournament. He has been associated with the Chennai Super Kings team for the first eight years before captaining Gujarat Lions in the last two seasons. The highest run scorer in the IPL tournament until date, Suresh Raina has a total net worth of $14 million.
10. Rohit Sharma – $19 million
Rohit Sharma comes in at No 10 in the list. One of the most attractive batsmen to watch, Rohit Sharma is a precocious talent. The holder of the record for scoring the highest score in a one-day international innings (264* vs Sri Lanka), Rohit Sharma is the only player in the world to have scored two double centuries for India in the one-day format. Along with Suresh Raina and K L Rahul, Rohit Sharma is the one of the three Indian players to have hit centuries in all forms of international cricket. Presently, the captain of the Mumbai Indians franchisee, the holders of the IPL trophy, Rohit Sharma has a net worth of $19 million. Mind you, these figures could easily go up in the coming years because he is still a very active player for India in all forms of cricket.
9. Gautam Gambhir – $20 million
Gautam Gambhir used to open the batting for India. He has the practice of coming in at No 3 as well. However, he comes in at No 9 in this list. One of the most accomplished left-handed batsmen India has ever produced. Gautam Gambhir is a fearless cricketer. He is never afraid to take the bull by its horns in any form of cricket. People usually misunderstand this aggressive streak in him for being a short tempered personality. However, he is a philanthropist to the core having donated a huge part of his earnings to the underprivileged people in India. A person who is never afraid to call a spade a spade, Gautam Gambhir has a net worth of $20 million. Nowadays, he is playing the IPL alone as he has lost his place in the Indian international team.
8. Yuvraj Singh – $22 million
Here is a man who has hit six sixes in an over in an international match. Herschelle Gibbs is the only other player to do so. Gibbs had hit an unknown Netherlands spinner for six sixes in an over in the 2007 World Cup. However, Yuvraj Singh belted a frontline fast bowler from England, Stuart Broad all over the park in the 2007 inaugural T-20 world cup tournament. That feat alone fetched him a huge amount of prize money. That must have been the highest amount any cricket player has earned in the shortest span of around six minutes. Nevertheless, Yuvraj Singh is a great talent and one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball ever. He is a courageous man because he has overcome cancer and regained his place in the Indian side on pure merit. With a total net worth of $22 million, he is the No 8 player in this list.
7. Rahul Dravid – $23 million
Rahul Dravid is the most compact and technical player produced by India after the greatest of them all, Sunil Gavaskar. If there is any person in this list who you have to depend on to bat to save your life, it has to be the great Rahul Dravid. He is an absolute team man to the core. When the team balance was in disarray and did not have a regular wicket keeper, Rahul Dravid volunteered to do the job. Only a wicketkeeper knows how much pounding the hands take while keeping to the fast bowlers. In addition, Rahul Dravid had the extra responsibility to contribute with the bat as well. He has done admirably having scored more than 10000 runs in both Test matches and one-day internationals. Sachin Tendulkar is the only other Indian player who has done so. Having retired now, he is the coach cum mentor of the India under-19 team. These players cannot have a better teacher than Rahul Dravid. With a net worth of $23 million, Rahul lends stability to the middle order at No 7 in this list.
6. Yusuf Pathan – $27 million
The name at No 6 can surprise many people. Not many would have expected Yusuf Pathan to find a place in this list of great Indian players. He is the only player in this list not to have played a single Test match for India. He has not played much of one day internationals and T-20s for India as well. However, his IPL price tag can envy a lot of people. This mercurial all-rounder represents Kolkatta Knight Riders for the past seven to eight years. He is the most valuable player in their team having helped the team to win two IPL titles in recent times. Other than Rohit Sharma who has won 4 IPL titles, Yusuf Pathan is one of the few players who have won 3 IPL titles. Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga are the others who have done so three times. Capable of turning any T-20 match within a few minutes, Yusuf Pathan has a net worth of $27 million making him rank at No 6 in this list. This should be the apt number for him because of ability to huge sixes at will.
5. Virendra Sehwag – $40 million
At No 5 we have Virendra Sehwag, the most attacking opening batsman ever to have played the game of cricket. He can be so menacing that opponent bowlers would quiver in their pants while bowling to him. All good players can hit the bad balls for fours and sixes. Sehwag was one player who could hit any ball (good, bad, or stupendous) for fours and sixes. The only Indian played to have scored two triple centuries in Test cricket, Virendra Sehwag formed an excellent opening pair with the greatest batsman produced by India, Sachin Tendulkar. People used to say that Sehwag is one player who plays Test matches as if they were one day internationals. At the same time, he used to play one day internationals as if he were playing the T-20. As far as T-20s are concerned, Sehwag plays it as if he is playing the Super Over. This dominance of the bowling made him amass a fortune of $40 million making him rank at the No 5 spot.
4. Saurav Ganguly – $56 million
Saurav Ganguly might be the most attacking captain produced by India. He was the one who instilled the belief in the Indian team that they have the capability to beat the best in the world in their backyard. Saurav Ganguly is the true Maharaja of Indian cricket. He has the natural grace of a left hander. In his prime, he was a more than useful medium pace bowler as well. Making his Test debut alongside Rahul Dravid in England, Saurav Ganguly had a very long innings as a player and then as a captain. Talent wise, he was as good as the other champions in the Indian team. As a captain, he was way ahead of the rest. One of the most elegant players ever to have played for India, Saurav Ganguly has a net worth of $56 million from cricketing activities alone. He is fit for the No 4 spot in this list.
3. Virat Kohli – $83 million
At No 3 we have the present captain of the India cricket team, Virat Kohli. At present, he is the highest earning member of the India cricket team. It will just be a matter of time before he overtakes the two people above him in the list. No one can question their greatness but Virat Kohli is destined for greater things. Maybe, one day he will go on to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of scoring 49 international one-day hundreds. Today, Virat Kohli is in the form of his life. He is the captain of the Indian team in all the three formats today. He has had a very successful stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL as well. Today, he has a worth of $83 million making him rank No 3 in this list. However, if we were to compile the same list in say 2019 or 2020, he would easily be in the top position. We do not mean any disrespect to the top two players in this list. They are great icons but records are always meant to be broken. You cannot have a better bloke to break them other than Virat Kohli.
2. MS Dhoni – $129 million
At No 2 we have arguably the greatest captain India has ever produced. Maybe, the Saurav Ganguly fans might disagree but M S Dhoni has changed the face of Indian cricket in no mean manner. He is one of the coolest players in the Indian team. However, behind the cool and emotionless face, is a fantastic brain ticking over to surprise and overthrow the opponent. He has an excellent record as captain of India. He is the only India captain to have won the World Cup in both the one-day and the T-20 format. He has also led India to the top of the Test Team rankings as well. In addition, he has won 2 IPL tournaments for his franchise Chennai Super Kings. He is one player who you can depend on to play under pressure. In addition he is a wonderful human being. He is the reason why players from the smaller towns have started to believe that they can make it big in Indian cricket. M S Dhoni’s net worth of $129 million makes him rank at the No 2 spot in this list.
1. Sachin Tendulkar – $161 million
The No 1 spot has to belong to the God of cricket in India, Sachin Tendulkar. No words can be enough to describe the greatness of Sachin Tendulkar. He is the greatest batsman ever produced by India. The only player in the world to have scored 100 international centuries (49 in one-day internationals and 51 in Tests), Sachin Tendulkar held virtually every batting record in cricket. Gradually, Virat Kohli is breaking them one by one but no one can grudge the greatness of the Little Master in any way. In addition to his batting prowess, Sachin Tendulkar is the only player along with Rahul Dravid not to get involved in a single controversy both on and off the field. These two players are gentlemen personified in every way. Sachin is a wonderful husband and father as well. He has the distinction of being the only sportsperson to have been awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. No wonder, he is the shining jewel in India’s crown even today. Sachin Tendulkar tops this list of the top 11 richest Indian cricketers with a net worth of $161 million.
Now, you ask George Bernard Shaw to state that cricket is a game played by 22 fools and watched by 22000 more. If what he says is true, then I must say that these 11 players are very rich fools. Anyone who watches cricket in India (there must be around 125 crore people doing that) will agree that these 11 players deserve every bit of adulation and money they earn. After all, cricket is the only unifying factor in India.