Decision to increase top players’ money may eat into IPL revenues or state bodies’ share

Grade A+ (Rs.7 crore) includes players like skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah, who played all formats in South Africa.

cricket Updated: Mar 08, 2018 09:38 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Virat Kohli,Rohit Sharma,IPL
New contracts were announced for the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team on Wednesday.(Reuters)

The India team skipper Virat Kohli and other top players got their long-standing demand of an increase in their central contract money as the Committee of Administrators (CoA)-led BCCI decided to give them a massive hike. The central contracts list, however, doesn’t include Mohammed Shami, whose wife has made allegations of infidelity against him.

The Board created a new grade – A+, with five players in it. These players will get Rs.7 crore as their annual retainership. Then, there are seven player in Grade A who will get Rs.5 crore.

READ | First-class Indian cricketers must get annual retainers now

While Grade A+ includes players like skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah, who played all formats in South Africa, Grade A includes senior pro MS Dhoni, who plays ODIs and T20s along with Test players like R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha.

It should be noted that retainership amount for the top Grade – ‘A’ earlier was Rs.2 crore.

CoA head Vinod Rai said, “In any corporate structure, the pyramid is sharp at the top with only a handful getting huge money. But what we wanted was that the pyramid should be flat at the top with as many players. So, now we have two top grades – A+ and A, with both including 12 players together. I was impressed by India captain Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Ravi Shastri with whom I met twice in Delhi. They wanted an increment mainly for mid-level players as they don’t have sponsorship etc.”

The deliberations between players and the CoA have been going on since last year with former coach Anil Kumble too having met Rai once.

READ | ICC World Cup Qualifiers: Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad suspended for two matches

Rai added that the state associations used to corner 70 percent of the revenues and it was time the top players, the real stakeholders, got a bigger share.

The money required to pay out these top stars, however, could be either taken out of IPL revenues or the handout to state bodies. The Board had been thinking of creating a Players’ Payment Fund, a Rs.122-crore corpus from out of IPL revenues.

Rai says, “This is one of the models that was discussed but ideally we wouldn’t want to touch IPL revenues.”

The decision to increase retainership amount (from Rs.31 crore in last contract to Rs.98 crore now) has upset the Board officials, who feel it is ill-timed and more of public relations exercise. They say that the media rights auction is just 20 days away and the Board would have known soon what kind of revenue it’ll get for the next four years.

READ | Mohammed Shami’s wife files police complaint, alleges cricketer had dirty chats with many women

“If they would have waited for 20 days and known what kind of money BCCI will get through media rights, the true picture of revenues would have emerged and then they could have proceeded accordingly. Ultimately, the increment could also put a strain on the fees of domestic cricketers,” said an official who is not authorised to speak on behalf of BCCI. “We have no issues in giving extra money to players who have no IPL contracts like Cheteshwar Pujara.”

Meanwhile, Board officials have confirmed that they wanted to keep Shami out as it would have sent out a wrong message on a day serious allegations were made against him. “He was kept out as the Board thought it’ll be like rewarding him despite him facing allegations,” said an official who did not want to be named.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 09:03 IST