Ranjitsinhji was the first over a century ago. Anil Kumble, Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath are the latest. Indian cricketers have long desired to play abroad to seek, if not exactly fame and fortune, at least some extra pocket money. Of course, Kumble's reported fee of 25,000-30,000 pound sterling (Rs 12.5-Rs 15 lakh ) for his one year stint with Northamptonshire is more than just loose change. But while the focus may still be on the glamour boys, a number of sportsmen from across the spectrum have begun looking beyond the horizon as Indian sport takes on an increasingly high profile.
No longer is the average Indian sportsman satisfied with a cushy bank job.
Table tennis, athletics, hockey, volleyball, squash and tennis are among the sports that have seen a recent migration of players to greener pastures abroad. And what with the cash returns on the national circuit in these disciplines being not much more than peanuts, even contracts worth a couple of lakhs look substantial.
A case in point is table tennis....