Take care of umpires, domestic cricketers

With the Ranji Trophy not being held last year, quite a few players looked at the prospect of going abroad to keep putting bread on the table and pay off EMIs.

Published: 31st August 2021 12:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2021 11:10 PM   |  A+A-

Vishnu Vinod’s 508 was the best run tally for Kerala in the last Vijay Hazare Trophy

The Board of Control for Cricket in India is a financial behemoth, a money-making gravy train that stops at nothing to maintain its sobriquet as the richest cricketing body in the world. Even as others tried to work around the pandemic and failed, the BCCI has, by and large, emerged unscathed. It has conducted international bilateral tours in India as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL), its flagship commercial product. Among Indian sports bodies, the BCCI’s bank balance is so vast that it can afford to give out big money to Olympic medallists without feeling the pinch even during a pandemic. Yet, what’s so galling about the Board is the non-payment of wages to their ‘other’ employees. Domestic umpires, analysts and scorers— the ecosystem that makes up the Indian domestic cricket system—haven’t been paid for more than a year. With the Ranji Trophy not being held last year, quite a few players looked at the prospect of going abroad to keep putting bread on the table and pay off EMIs. A compensation package for red-ball cricketers too is yet to be finalised. While some have got a few paychecks after the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s were held, the situation is still worrying.

It’s concerning because the BCCI’s working group, commissioned to look into the aspect of putting together a compensation package, is yet to meet even once. Worse, there are indications that their roles are not well defined. That none of the working group—comprising Rohan Jaitley (north zone), Yudhvir Singh (central), Jaydev Shah (west), Devajit Saikia (north-east), Avishek Dalmiya (east), and Santhosh Menon and Mohammed Azharuddin (south)—has received any communication whatsoever from the BCCI reflects poorly on the world’s richest cricketing body. The officials are willing to move heaven and earth to conduct the IPL— away from home, twice during a pandemic—but when it comes to putting together a package to take care of the ones who are not high in their priority, they are happy taking their own sweet time. One just hopes the Indian cricket board comes up with some kind of solution soon.


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