Sports management firms bat for young cricket talents like Prithvi Shaw

22 Nov,2013

By Ravi Teja Sharma


Prithvi Shaw, Indian cricket’s latest boy wonder, is a hot commodity among sports management firms. In his short career, the 14-year-old batsman has already been represented by two sports management firms – first by former spinner Nilesh Kulkarni-run- firm, NSE, and now by Professional Management Group.


Prithvi is not the only one. Firms like Rhiti Sports and Gaames Unlimited, in addition to the Professional Management Group, are signing up a bunch of cricketers as young as 14 to nurture them and up their game, with an eventual eye on an India cap and the commercials that usually follow.


“It’s like a venture capital fund investing in a bunch of ambitious startups not knowing which one will succeed but even if one makes it big, their returns are made,” says Indranil Das Blah, CEO of sports management company Kwan.


Rhiti Sports, which manages India captain MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha and Suresh Raina, is close to signing up 17-year-old wicketkeeper-batsmen Ankush Bains, who has played for the India Under-19 team and also works with 17-year-old Mohammad Saif from Varanasi. It also represents KL Rahul, 21, who plays for Karnataka and IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore and is also vice-captain of the India Under-23 side.


“We build their brand for the future, training them on media interface, public relations and also helping them connect with the right kind of people,” says Arun Pandey, owner of Rhiti Sports, and a close friend of Dhoni. Rhiti Sports aims to sign up at least five talented players in their teens and nurture them. Gaames Unlimited which manages R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav, works with 17-year-old all-rounder Tanay Tyagarajan from Hyderabad, 20-year-old Siddhesh Lad from Mumbai and 19-year-old Baba Indrajith from Chennai as well as his twin brother Baba Aparajith who played a big part in the India Under-19 team’s World Cup victory in 2012.


PMG’s Chief Operating Officer Melroy D’Souza says the idea is to identify the next big thing in Indian cricket and hope that the player can one day represent the country. In the deal with Shaw, PMG gives him a monthly stipend and puts in certain amount of money in a separate savings account that the 14-year-old can access for his future when he turns 18. Alongside Shaw, the company is currently in talks with a host of other players.


Atul Srivastava, managing partner at Gaames Unlimited says for his players, his agency is like a troubleshooter for everything, be it personal or professional. “We help them with everything on the personal front as well so that they are stress free. We are also their personal wealth managers,” says Mr Srivastava.


Gaames Unlimited assigns a manager to each player who takes care of all their needs and over the years gives him media exposure and the right kind of advice and treatments that will help the player move to the next level.


Internationally, there is a concept of scouts in many games and sports management companies have strong ties with these scouts. As more and more professional companies emerge on the scene, the concept with emerge in India as well. The job of the scout at the moment is fulfilled by coaches and managers across the country with whom these companies have close ties.


Source:The Economic Times

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