CHENNAI: The pay-hike that Indian domestic cricketers have been waiting for nearly two years is finally here. The Apex Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met virtually on Monday, approved a substantial increase in match fees for men and women beginning with the domestic season. The hike is across all age-groups, and in the absence of a centralised contract system, the board has introduced different slabs for senior men alone. Going by percentage, a senior men’s player who has played more than 40 matches (irrespective of format) has been handed a 41.6 per cent hike, while a senior women’s player has been handed 37.5 per cent hike.
The BCCI also rolled out a compensation package for the curtailed 2020-21 domestic season which did not include the Ranji Trophy. Those who played the 2019-20 season are eligible for this and 50 per cent of their earnings will be counted as compensation fee. For example, if a player earned Rs 10 lakh in 2019-20 season, he/she would get Rs 5 lakh.
Curiously, the BCCI has not made any decision regarding the compensation package for umpires, match officials, video-analysts and scorers. Sans a professional contract and a full domestic season, not all of them got game time and as highlighted by this newspaper before, some are without any income since March 2020. There are indications that the board will take up the matter at the annual general meeting, but sources indicated that a compensation package is highly unlikely for match officials at this stage.
With regards to the pay hike, the BCCI has introduced three slabs based on the number of matches — upto 20 matches, 21-40 matches and 41 matches and above. This means a player featuring in the XI, depending on his experience will get Rs 40,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively. Those who are on the bench will get half of it. Earlier, there was only one pay bracket under which those who were part of playing XI, pocketed Rs 35,000 per day and reserves half of it.
“If a central contract system was in place, it would have had different slabs depending on the seniority. We have tried to do the same here, where we have tried to honour those who are consistent. The more you play, higher is the pay and it is with this in mind that we have not included any format restrictions,” a board official told.This means even if a player is making his Ranji Trophy debut, but has played more than 40 matches in white-ball cricket, he would earn Rs 60,000 per day.
Gender pay gap remains
The disparity in pay continues to remain. For example, an U-23 male (U-25 for this season) will get Rs 25,000 per day, but a senior women cricketer will get only Rs 20,000 even if she happens to be an India international.