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BCCI Announce Incentive Scheme for Men's Team Players to Play More Test Cricket

The BCCI has announced a new ‘Test Cricket Incentive Scheme’ for the senior men's team.

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Shortly after India thrashed England by an innings and 64 runs to win the fifth and final Test at HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala to clinch a 4-1 series win, the BCCI announced a new ‘Test Cricket Incentive Scheme’ for the senior men's team.

The incentive scheme serves as a financial boost for the players who prioritise playing Test cricket and comes on top of the existing match fee of Rs 15 lakh per match.

“I am pleased to announce the initiation of the 'Test Cricket Incentive Scheme' for Senior Men, a step aimed at providing financial growth and stability to our esteemed athletes.”

“Commencing from the 2022-23 season, the 'Test Cricket Incentive Scheme' will serve as an additional reward structure on top of the existing match fee for Test matches, set at Rs 15 lakh,” wrote BCCI Secretary Shah in a press statement.

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According to the incentive structure, players featuring in more than 50 per cent of Tests in a season since 2022/23, will benefit the most. A player who plays five to six Tests in a nine-match season, will receive Rs 30 lakh per match as a playing eleven incentive, while 15 lakh per match is kept as a non-playing eleven incentive.

Every player who features in at least 75 per cent of matches (which is seven or more matches in a nine-game season), will get a playing incentive of Rs 45 lakh per match, while the non-playing eleven incentive is fixed at Rs 22.5 lakh. The incentives’ structure does not apply to those who play less than four Tests in a season.

This move comes after Shah wrote a letter to the centrally-contracted players last month, asking them not to prioritise playing IPL over domestic cricket matches, calling the trend as a cause of concern. Later, it showed seriousness after the letter was dispatched, by omitting Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from the 2023/24 BCCI annual contracts list due to no regular participation of the duo in domestic cricket matches.

"It is essential to recognise that domestic cricket forms the backbone of Indian cricket and serves as the feeder line to Team India. Our vision for Indian cricket has been clear from the outset - every cricketer aspiring to play for India must prove themselves in domestic cricket. Performance in domestic tournaments remains a critical yardstick for selection, and non-participation in domestic cricket will carry severe implications," said Shah in the letter.

After India won the fourth Test against England by five wickets in Ranchi to take an unassailable 3-1 lead, captain Rohit Sharma did talk about selecting players who have the hunger to prioritise playing Test cricket.

"This (playing Test cricket) is the toughest format. If you want success and want to excel in this tough format then you need that hunger. It is very important. We will give opportunity only to players who have that hunger. You come to know (easily) the players who don't have that hunger, players who don't want to stay here (and play Test cricket). We come to know that."

"Players who have that hunger, players who want to stay here and perform, (and) play in tough conditions, we will give preference to them. Obviously, it is pretty simple: if you don't have hunger, there's no meaning playing such players," Rohit had said at that time.

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