CHENNAI: Creation of a new category for senior men, Mohammed Shami’s exclusion due to a harassment complaint filed by his wife, a sensational 1300% increment for Shikhar Dhawan and hike in general for all including those playing domestic cricket — the announcement of BCCI’s annual retainership amounts had many highlights.
“The CoA was of the view that the performance and position of Indian cricket needs to be recognised with the fee structure comparable to the best in the world,” read a statement. Considering that contracted men players in four categories will get Rs 7 crore, Rs 5crore, Rs 3crore and Rs 1 crore annually from Rs 2 crore, Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh, this is a substantial rise indeed.
However, a look at the revised pay reveals certain omissions. Nothing has been announced for domestic umpires and other match officials like match referees, scorers and video analysts, who have not had a raise since 2012. In a revised pay package drafted late last year by the erstwhile BCCI officials, they were due a hike.
There is also confusion over the remuneration for domestic players, who are getting a “200% hike” according to the statement. While Rs 35,000 per day from Rs 10,000 comes roughly to that, a vital piece of information is missing. In addition to Rs 10,000 a day, domestic players used to get a share of the BCCI’s profits from media rights. This was a variable amount depending on the number of internationals played in India. On an average, domestic players got around Rs 8 lakh each from this, which pushed their annual income to the region of Rs 12-13 lakh.
The statement is unclear on whether domestic players will continue to get a share of this. “The CoA recognises that the actual income of the BCCI fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the number of home matches... To insulate the player compensation, the CoA has sanctioned the creation of a fund to which the BCCI will contribute approximately Rs 125 cr per annum from its surplus.”
Players are of the view that without the share of media rights, which is 26% of what the BCCI gets, they don’t gain. “If there is nothing after Rs 35,000 per day, where is the increment? Ten thousand per day made it about Rs 3.5 lakh a season if you played all matches. But share of BCCI’s profits was added after the season, taking annual income up to Rs 12-13 lakh. At Rs 35,000 per day without a share of BCCI’s profits, we stand to earn almost the same. Without it there is no hike,” said a first-class player.
The CoA or CEO Rahul Johri were not available for clarification on this. Without confirming, other officials in the know hinted that Rs 35,000 is a fixed amount, which takes into account the share from media rights as well. If this is true, then effectively there is no hike for domestic players and a spectacular jump for India stars.
“The BCCI media tenders will be out in 20 days. It will be known how much the BCCI is getting from matches to be played in India over the next five years. The decision to increase pay should have been taken after that because we would have known exactly what is the amount that we are going to have,” said a BCCI member, who has dealt with these matters.
“If you look at the hike internationals are getting, it would seem that the rich are getting richer. The rise for domestic players is negligible compared to the India players, most of whom have IPL contracts. It seems domestic players don’t generate the kind of emotions in the CoA that Virat Kohli does,” said the member.