BCCI hikes match fees for domestic cricketers
- Raised fees will be part of a graded plan, compensation also announced for cancelled season.
Indian domestic cricketers who don’t have IPL contracts - there are roughly 700 of them - will now take home a greater share of domestic match fees.
This was one of the decisions green-lit by the BCCI at their Apex Council meeting on Monday, where they introduced a graded pay-hike mechanism for domestic cricketers and announced a much-delayed compensation package for the domestic season cancelled by the pandemic.
In the virtual meet, BCCI raised the per-day fees from the existing R 35,000 paid to all cricketers to R 40,000, R 50,000 and R 60,000 based on the seniority of the player. A male cricketer who has played above 40 matches will fall in the highest pay bracket. The senior-most cricketers whose teams qualify for the knockout rounds will be the biggest beneficiaries. For example, a senior pro like Aditya Tare can take home around R25 lakhs for the season - up from R 15-16 lakhs earlier - if Mumbai qualifies for the finals of all domestic tournaments - the Ranji trophy, Vijay Hazare and Mushtaq Ali. A newcomer from a plate division side whose team gets knocked out in the early rounds will have to be content with around R 11 lakh per year. “The increase of match fee for our domestic cricketers will ensure that professional cricketers can solely focus on playing cricket and are appropriately rewarded,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said.
This also brings the highest paid domestic cricketer a notch above the lowest paid IPL cricketer (base contract for IPL is worth R 20 lakh), a symbolic statement, if nothing else. The revised match-fees also take care of the pay-deficit arising out of the change in domestic format where the minimum matches per tournament have been reduced from 8 to 5.
WOMEN’S MATCH FEES RAISEDMatch fees of women domestic players has also been revised from the existing R12,500 to R20,000 per day. A compensation package for cricketers who lost out due to cancellation of Ranji trophy and women’s T20 action last year was also announced. Players will get 50 per cent match fees (for the cancelled 2019-20 season). However, there was no word on compensation for other participants – umpires, scorers, analysts who also lost out on earnings last year.
With the current pay hike, the idea of awarding annual retainership contracts to domestic cricketers has been shelved, citing practical difficulties over implementation across a wide domestic pool of 38 state sides.
14 T20Is AT HOME
The Indian cricket team will be on a heavy dose of T20 action with 14 matches at home between November 2021 and June 2022. The international home season will see New Zealand on tour followed by West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
The New Zealand tour of India starting November 17 will mark the resumption of big-ticket cricket at home after the IPL was suspended in April due to the pandemic. For now, cricket will continue to be played in bio-bubbles.
“In a country as vast as India, even with the vaccination speed being achieved, total vaccinations will take time,” another BCCI official said. “On the positive front, we are confident that we can plan for matches across the country now.”
This schedule would serve the Indian white-ball team well in preparations for the next T20 World Cup (Oct-Nov 22) in Australia. But only four Test matches in the season - two each against New Zealand and Sri Lanka - also reflect the market reality where India will only play the bare minimum matches at home against smaller cricket boards as mandated by the World Test Championship cycle.
To make up for the abandoned South Africa tour of India of March 2020, the BCCI has scheduled a five-match T20I series in June to be played at Chennai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Rajkot and Delhi.
The only away tour for India during the eight-month span after the T20 World Cup will be the all-format tour of South Africa in December-January.
EFFORTS ON TO RESOLVE MATTERS WITH ECB
India is scheduled to tour England for six limited overs matches in July. There remains a strong possibility of two more T20I’s or a Test match being added to the schedule to help make up for the cancelled Manchester Test match. BCCI is confident “either of those proposals will be enough to resolve matters with the English Cricket Board”.
“We have good relations with the ECB and will work together to avoid going to ICC’s dispute resolution committee,” a senior BCCI official said.