Why Can’t the BCCI Simply Pay Our Women Cricketers More?
(This article was first published on 10 March 2018. It has been re-posted from The Quint's archives after BCCI released their full list of the annually contracted cricketers for 2019-20 on 16 January 2020.)
Rs 7 crore a year for Virat Kohli but only Rs 50 lakh for Mithali Raj.
The BCCI announced new salaries for all its cricketers and this is the one major comparison being drawn by people.
While the board may have thought that they’ve done enough, considering women cricketers in the top category used to make Rs 15 lakh per annum till last year, there is still scope for a lot more.
Yes, I am aware that women cricketers don’t play as many matches as their male counterparts. I am aware they don’t sell as many tickets. I am also aware they don’t attract as many sponsors.
But the argument has to move ahead from what the players can’t do, and instead, be moulded into one big pertinent question: What is in the BCCI’s capacity to do for it’s women cricketers?
This is the same financial year in which the board made Rs 16,357 crore from the sale of IPL’s broadcast rights alone. There is also the Rs 2,600 they stand to make from the ICC’s revenue share model.
Granted, a big share of the money will go back into the system and rightly help grow the sport, but even then, the BCCI is expected to make upto Rs 2,000 crore in profits this year alone.
So, again, I ask, what is in BCCI’s capacity to do for the women’s cricket team in a year that they reached the ICC World Cup final and became household names. With Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj standing tall among their peers, India can boast of the top woman bowler and batter in world cricket.
However, all they get for their achievements is a salary of Rs 50 lakh. From an employer that stands to make Rs 2,000 crore in profit. The employer here is not a corporation or a business startup, but a ‘society’ that is registered as a ‘not for profit’ organisation.