The Indian domestic season has finally got underway with the U-19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy in several centers across the country on Tuesday (September 28), marking the end of a year-long hiatus. In the 2020-21 season, the governing body could only host Vijay Hazare Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Senior Women’s One-day Championship but there couldn’t be any age-group cricket or Ranji Trophy.
While the return of cricket has ensured a lot of domestic cricketers rejoicing on getting back their primary source of income, the decision at the 9th Apex Council Meeting has further come as a bundle of happiness for players without a lucrative IPL contract. BCCI Secretary Jay Shah announced that cricketers, who had participated in the 2019-20 domestic season, will get a 50 percent additional match fee as compensation for season 2020-21 lost due to the COVID-19 situation along with a raise in match-fees, proportionate to their experience.
According to the salary revision, Ranji cricketers, who have played more than 40 matches, will be receiving ₹60,000 per day while those who have played 21 to 40 matches will be paid ₹50,000. Players with experience less than that will be entitled to a remuneration of ₹40,000 per day. It was a change eagerly awaited.
How the current model is different from the previous one?
For the last five years, a senior domestic cricketer used to earn INR 1,40,000 from a four-day Ranji Trophy game if he is in the playing XI and exactly half the amount if on the bench. This structure was brought forward by the Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators and players were given a hike of 250% from the previous match-fees model that was in operation for 10 years between 2007 to 2016.
The current model has been designed as an equitable force. Players with 40-plus caps to their name stand to gain a 71% hike and players with less than 20 games on their resume gaining just a 14.28% raise. Once a player bags 20 caps, they will receive 50,000 rupees per day before jumping to the next bracket.
Where is equality?
Apart from the senior men’s cricketers, women’s and age-group cricketers have also been granted a pay hike. For a domestic one-day game, senior women’s players will now be paid ₹20,000 per match instead of ₹12,500 earlier. Given there is no first-class women’s competition in India, the overall income of a domestic women’s cricketer in a year is approximately similar to what a men’s first-class cricketer would earn in a match. Therein lies the complexity and a question regarding BCCI’s motives for promoting women’s cricket in India. Could things have been better in that regard? Well, the answer lies in the question itself.
Good news for the age-group cricketers
Men's Under-23 players will now earn 25,000 rupees per day from 17,500 earlier while Under-19s in the playing XIs will get 20,000 rupees per day. The youngest members in the system - the under-16 players - are set to receive 7000 rupees per day. This structure is applicable only for players in the playing XIs, with the reserve players receiving the 50% of match fees. For the women’s age-group category, Under-23s, Under-19s, and Under-16s will be the same. All of these players will get 10,000 rupees per day, with the reserves earning 5000 rupees.
GRS drought to go on
Brought to the force by former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2004, GRS or Gross Revenue Share is a component of BCCI’s annual profit from international matches hosted in India. In that time, it was decided that 26% of BCCI’s annual profit will be disbursed to the players - among which 13% will go to international players, 10.6% to domestic players, with the remaining 2.4% being credited to junior and women players.
A cumulative percentage of profit is calculated at the end of every fiscal year, thus adding the amount on the top of players’ match fees. Normally, GRS is disbursed to individual players after getting ratified at the Annual General Body Meeting. However, in reality, that was only on paper. According to a 2017 Times of India report, instead of disbursing 26% of the gross profit, the BCCI sets aside 70% of the amount for other purposes. 26% of the remaining 30% is distributed among the players as GRS while it should have been 26% of the entire profit amount.
The board processed the amount for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons in August 2020, but there hasn’t been any further discussion on that. Players are happy about the current hike but state associations are not ready to take the matter up with the national body. “The state board doesn’t want to get into any problem with the BCCI, thus they are remaining silent on the matter. Repeated requests to state associations have fallen on deaf ears,” a senior domestic cricketer told Cricket.com.
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