Relief for players & match officials after BCCI confirms Ranji Trophy

With the BCCI striking off the premier domestic tournament last season, the players received 50 per cent of their match fees for the 2020/21 season.

Published: 29th January 2022 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2022 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

Ranji trophy, domestic cricket

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Express News Service

CHENNAI:  In the end, there was a collective sigh of relief. The news that hundreds of domestic cricketers, umpires, match-officials, scorers and analysts were waiting to hear with bated breath for the last three weeks arrived on Friday morning as BCCI secretary Jay Shah announced that the Ranji Trophy for 2021/22 season will be held in two phases sandwiched between the IPL. Ever since the board suspended the domestic season on January 4 citing the third Covid wave, there were concerns among the stakeholders whether the Ranji Trophy will go ahead this season.

And last week, it emerged that the BCCI was looking to call off the Ranji Trophy for a second successive season citing the short window. Ever since this daily reported the development, the pressure has been growing from several quarters with few state units, former and current cricketers asking the board to host the Ranji Trophy. And a day after the meeting of the top brass of the board ended without any clear-cut decision on resuming the domestic season, Shah said the BCCI will host the tournament.

“Board has decided to conduct the Ranji this season in two phases. In the first phase, we plan to complete all matches of the league stage while the knockouts will be held in June. My team is working closely to mitigate any kind of health risk caused by the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest. Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event,” Shah said in a statement.

In a letter sent to state units soon after, Shah said, the board is ready to host the tournament as the Covid situation is improving. With several states reopening schools, it is safe to say the BCCI could also no longer use the short-window as a reason to host the Ranji Trophy.

“The daily positivity rate has now begun to decline while the recovery rate has been encouraging across India. We are now in a much better position to conduct the tournament than earlier. We will continue to have bio-secure bubbles to mitigate any potential risk. The Board is committed to providing a healthy and secure environment and seeks your support in ensuring a safe tournament for all our key stakeholders,” Shah wrote in the letter accessed by this daily.

With this, hundreds of players who don’t have an IPL contract will benefit monetarily. With the BCCI striking off the premier domestic tournament last season, the players received 50 per cent of their match fees for the 2020/21 season. But with a revised pay structure in place, those playing the Ranji Trophy will get Rs 40,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 per day based on their match slab.

With each team set to play a minimum of five league matches, any player who is part of the XI will get between Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. Those who are part of the squad will earn Rs 20,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 depending on the match slab.

Similarly, umpires, match-referees who were earning around Rs 18 lakh in 2019/20 season received only around Rs 3-4 lakhs last domestic season. However, with the return of Ranji Trophy Grade A umpires will get Rs 40,000 per day and those in Grade B, C and D will be paid Rs 30,000. It is a big relief for several of these umpires, who had quit their professional jobs to take up umpiring and depend totally on this income to run their livelihood.

The BCCI is looking to start the Ranji Trophy by February 13-15 and finish the group stages by March 18. The teams will need to serve a three-day quarantine before the start. With regards to venues, the BCCI is likely to drop Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram from its original list.


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