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Cricketers Who Have Careers Away From the Pitch

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
©Reuters
 

In most professional sports today, athletes can earn eye-watering sums of money, sometimes making more in a year than many other people make in a lifetime. According to Forbes, the top three earners last year were Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, each taking home more than $100 million.

 

In the cricket world, the highest earner in 2020 was Virat Kohli, who made $28 million from his salary and several endorsement deals. 

For Kohli, and most other professional cricketers, businesses and other work can make up a larger proportion of their income than what they earn directly from playing the sports that made them famous. This has resulted in most having several different careers. Here are some of them.

 

MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni is one of India’s most famous cricketers. He’s spent most of his career playing for the Chennai Super Kings but became a household name through his role in the Indian national cricket team. 

Although he’s retired from international cricket, Dhoni continues to play in the Indian Premier League and is kept busy by his myriad of business interests. 

In 2020, MSD signed a deal with PokerStars India to become an ambassador for the company. As part of this, he recently featured in a video ad that shows Dhoni playing poker against people of all ages and backgrounds from his smartphone. 

That’s not all he’s up to though. Dhoni has invested in several sports teams in and around his hometown, including the Ranchi Rays, his local hockey team, and Chennaiyin FC, a football club that Dhoni founded in 2014 and which has won the Indian Super League twice. 

Aside from interests in different sports, he has founded SEVEN, a casual clothing brand that sells footwear and sportswear online, and Dhoni Entertainment, a production company that produces films and TV shows. A documentary series called Road of The Lion was its first production, chronicling the journey of Dhoni and the Chennai Super Kings on their way to victory in the Indian Premier League in 2018. 

 

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff

Freddie Flintoff is one of the most famous cricketers to play for the England national team in recent years. After retiring from international cricket in 2009, Flintoff actually moved to India to play alongside MS Dhoni for a single season.

However, Flintoff has had more success off the pitch than on it in recent years. In 2010, he became a team captain in a British sports panel show called A League of Their Own and then began commentating on darts tournaments.

Like Dhoni, he’s been featured in documentaries about his career, including one for the BBC in which he shone a light on the difficulties of being a professional athlete. 

As well as a number of ad hoc presenting roles for one-off shows, Flintoff hosts a regular podcast where he discusses contemporary sporting topics and has become a permanent presenter of the hit TV show Top Gear, alongside Chris Harris and Paddy McGuiness. 

Away from the media, Flintoff is also involved in property development and has been working on a development in Manchester, England that’s been nicknamed Flintoff Towers.

 

Joginder Sharma

Joginder Sharma has taken a different path to most after retiring from cricket. He made his international debut for India back in 2004, but only played with the squad for three years despite helping the team to its first Twenty20 World Cup. 

He continued playing domestically until 2017 though, playing for both the Chennai Super Kings and Haryana between 2008 and 2012, and continuing with the latter until the end of the 2016/17 season. 

Since then, Sharma hasn’t gone to have a career in the media like Flintoff or invested in several different ventures like MS Dhoni. Instead, the 37-year-old currently serves as the Deputy Superintendent of Police for the Haryana Police Department, making him the seventh-most senior person in the organisation. 

While this may be an unusual career move and may not earn him the same amount of money or attention as the paths chosen by other cricketers, it’s certainly a noble choice.

©Cricket World 2021