BCCI Mulls Substantial Pay Hike For Red-Ball Players, Considers Matching Fee With IPL Earnings: Report

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Indian cricketers may soon be in for a substantial increase in their earnings thanks to the Indian cricket board (BCCI). According to a Times of India report, the BCCI is currently considering revising the annual retainership contracts, particularly aiming to elevate the compensation for red-ball cricketers.

In its press statement on Wednesday, while unveiling the central contracts for 2024-25, the board refrained from disclosing the revised values for the different contract grades. However, the report stated that discussions have been ongoing between the BCCI and key figures like Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, captain Rohit Sharma, and chief selector Ajit Agarkar to explore ways to rekindle interest in red-ball cricket among players.

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According to the report quoting insiders, there's a proposal on the table to boost match fees and overall remuneration for players, both at the Test level and in domestic cricket, aiming to align them more closely with the earnings from mid-level IPL contracts.

In the past three seasons, there has reportedly been a notable decline in the quality of the Ranji Trophy, with numerous players attributing their absence to minor injuries and excessive workload during the red-ball season. The Indian cricket board has acknowledged this trend and noted a significant decrease in interest towards the Ranji Trophy once the IPL auctions conclude. Consequently, there has been a considerable reduction in the available resource pool for domestic cricket.

"The board has asked for recommendations from the Indian team management. They are taking a very aggressive approach towards maintaining the sanctity of the longest format of the game. It is imperative that players, who are committed to first-class cricket, are rewarded at a similar level as IPL cricket. That would mean that existing remuneration has to be multiplied," a BCCI source was quoted as saying in the TOI report.

The source added, "The recommendations are on the lines of increasing the Test match and first-class fees by three times. The idea is that if a player plays the entire Ranji Trophy, he should be able to make around Rs 75 lakhs which matches an average IPL contract. It has also been suggested that if a player plays all Test matches in a year, he should be able to make Rs 15 crores which is at par for any marquee IPL contract."

Based on the current match fees structure, a player stands to earn approximately Rs 25 lakhs if they participate in all 10 Ranji matches throughout the season. Comparatively, the base price for a player in the IPL auctions is set at Rs 20 lakhs. It has been observed that many players, especially fast bowlers, are hesitant to subject themselves to the demands of first-class cricket for an amount equivalent to the base price at IPL auctions.

The BCCI's four grades in retainership contracts were previously valued at Rs 7 crore, Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore, and Rs 1 crore respectively. While recommendations from team management and selectors are under review, the report stated that the board is contemplating a significant increase in player remuneration.

"The board may not agree to increasing the remuneration by three times at one go but they are considering meeting the players at mid-point. Even that should be a hefty raise. This is why the board has not announced the value of contracts. The board will have to decide if it wants to raise the match fees or make specified contracts accordingly," the source was quoted as saying.

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While the BCCI has announced fast bowling contracts for five bowlers, sources indicate that the selectors are actively working to establish a pool of bowlers specifically for red-ball cricket. Additionally, efforts are underway to identify and nurture a group of wicketkeepers and spinners capable of enduring the challenges of first-class cricket.

Ajit Agarkar's committee has been traversing the country to handpick promising bowlers. For instance, Khaleel Ahmed, who has been absent from first-class cricket for several years, was encouraged to participate in the Ranji Trophy for Rajasthan this season. Mayank Yadav from Delhi was also identified, although he missed the Ranji Trophy due to a side strain sustained after the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Moreover, discussions have taken place with Arshdeep Singh to increase his involvement in red-ball cricket.


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