Cricketers, more so with the advent of the IPL, are now affluent. Some turn crorepatis overnight and then look for investment that increases their wealth. The Indian legends like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and few more have not been exceptions to this rule. They have invested their hard-earned money in other businesses. Sometimes their attempts have failed and at times they have reaped benefits from new ventures. But the hospitality industry hasn’t really been kind to the Indian cricketers. Orissa POST takes a look.
Sourav Ganguly: The former Indian captain and for whom Rahul Dravid once said ‘after God, there is Sourav Ganguly on the off-side’ (meaning his elegant strokes in the region between point and mid-off) ventured into the hospitality business by opening ‘Sourav’s – the Food Pavilion’ in Kolkata. Initially the restaurant did well, but once Sourav’s form slumped, the footfalls decreased. Then came the Sourav Ganguly-Greg Chappell controversy and for a period of time, Sourav was out of the Indian team. Strangely in a city where he is probably one of the most popular personalities around, the restaurant failed to take off and ultimately it was closed down in 2011. Sourav’s elder brother Snehasis, while commenting on the reason why they were forced to bring down the shutters attributed it to ‘lack of time’.
Sachin Tendulkar: The name sells was once the motto of most advertisers across the country and some beyond India’s borders. Sachin may have been successful in different other ventures, but when he ventured into the hospitality sector he went for a six. Sachin first opened up a fine dining joint named ‘Tendulkar’s’ in association with hotelier Sanjay Narang in 2002. Then a few years later he set up the boutique restaurant ‘Sachin’s’ in the northern side of Mumbai and opened up a branch in Bangalore. The iconic cricketer was keenly involved in running the day-to-day affairs. Recounting a story to a business magazine, Narang once said, “He even recommended how the chef’s apron should look. ‘Why don’t we do a piping along the edge of the apron and make it about a quarter inch thick?’, Sachin had once recommended. I hadn’t thought of this, but it looked really great. That gives you a thought of how he (Tendulkar) considered everything in detail.” But in spite of all his efforts, the ventures fizzled out in 2007. It was one field where Tendulkar did not score a century.
Virender Sehwag: Public memory is fickle-minded, this dashing opening batsman would certainly guarantee. Sehwag opened up a vegetarian restaurant ‘Sehwag’s Favourites’ at Delhi’s Moti Nagar in 2006. The first few months were all hunky-dory – the moment Sehwag’s form dipped, footfalls vanished. The venture also ran into legal trouble as Sehwag moved court against his partner and the case is still pending.
Zaheer Khan: The Sultan of Swing, as Zaheer was popularly called by his mates, however, had better luck than some of his more illustrious colleagues. Zaheer has opened up a chain of restaurants and most of them are doing well. ZK’s was first launched in Pune and has branches now in Mumbai and Bangalore. ZK’s is a mixture of fine dining and sports lounge bar. The former India pacer then launched the ‘Banquet Foyer’ in Pune and the place is renowned for hosting corporate events. With both the ventures doing well, Zaheer then launched ‘Toss’ – another sports bar in Pune which was also an instant hit.
Ravindra Jadeja: Currently a member of India’s World Cup team, the all-rounder ventured into the hospitality business with his restaurant ‘Jaddu’s Food Field’ in 2012. Most of his Indian teammates were present during the inauguration of the joint on – 12.12.2012 which Jadeja considered a significant date. Explaining the significance of the date, Jadeja had then said. “Obviously it was a numerically special day — 12.12.12. I consider 12 as my lucky number. I was also born in the 12th month of the year — December 6, 1988. I always wear No 12 jersey. And I also made my Test debut in the 12th month of 2012.”
Kapil Dev: He was probably the first Indian cricketer to realise into different other ventures off the cricket field. Within a few months of winning the World Cup, Dev and his family members opened up ‘Hotel Kapil’ in Chandigarh. Now the name has been changed to ‘Kaptain’s Retreat’ and it does very good business. Dev is one of the few Indian cricketers who have succeeded in the hospitality business.