With the ongoing vaccination drive helping to flatten India's COVID-19 curve, BCCI secretary Jay Shah is optimistic about fans returning to the venues in large numbers in the upcoming international home season. The Indian cricket team is scheduled to play four Tests, 14 T20 Internationals and three ODIs at home between November 2021 to June 2022.
"The 2021-22 home season holds a lot of promise, and Team India will play in all major centres of India. Vaccination has ensured that the pandemic curve is beginning to flatten, and I am very optimistic that we will have the fans back for the home season," Shah said on Monday (September 20) after the apex council meeting.
The four Tests are part of the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. The teams that will visit India during the eight-month period are New Zealand (in November-December), West Indies (in February 2022), Sri Lanka (February-March 2022) and South Africa (in June 2022).
The BCCI also announced that domestic cricketers affected by the COVID-curtailed 2020-21 season will be paid 50 percent additional match fee as compensation for the disruption and also hiked their remuneration for the upcoming season. Many Indian cricketers struggled financially after the Ranji Trophy was not held last year for the first time in its history due to the pandemic.
"I am really pleased with the outcome of the 9th apex council Meeting of the BCCI. The primary agenda was to compensate our domestic cricketers and we have put out a well-structured remuneration plan for them. As you have seen, we will be allotting 50 % match fees for the truncated 2020-21 Ranji season," Shah said.
The move will likely benefit more than 2,000 male cricketers from the under-16 to the senior level. Shah said strengthening the country's domestic cricket set-up is one of their top priorities. "The increase of match fee for domestic cricketers is another welcome step and this move will ensure that professional cricketers can solely focus on playing cricket and are appropriately rewarded.
"Domestic cricket is our backbone and we will make every effort to keep it strong and healthy so that our bench strength always remains superior," Shah said.
According to the announcement, the cricketers in under-23 and under-19 categories will get Rs 25,000 and 20,000 per day respectively. The U-16s will now get Rs 7000 per day instead of Rs 3,500 during earlier seasons.
Before Monday's decision, a first XI player in a Ranji Trophy game was entitled to Rs 35,000 per day. For Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the BCCI pays Rs. 17,500 per game. The BCCI also announced remuneration for women cricketers and the senior players will now be paid Rs 20,000 per match instead of Rs 12,500 in previous seasons.
The U-23 and U-19 girls will receive an increased match fee of Rs 10,000. The recommendations to increase the payout were made by a working committee comprising former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin, Yudhvir Singh, Santosh Menon, Jaydev Shah, Avishek Dalmiya, Rohan Jaitley and Devajit Saikia.