BCCI’s Domestic Compensation: Players Suggest How to Divide Funds
BCCI has decided to compensate players for the cancelled Ranji season in 2020-21, but how will the money be divided?
On 24 December 2020, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), in its Annual General Meeting (AGM), announced that it would compensate domestic players and other staff for the curtailed 2019-20 season due to COVID-19. The cancellation of Ranji Trophy, the premier domestic tournament, for the first time in its 87-year-long history and other events largely impacted the cricket fraternity in India. However, the BCCI's promise of compensation has somehow kept the boat afloat.
President Sourav Ganguly last month reaffirmed that all the domestic cricketers will be compensated in June-July. But the question that still awaits an answer is: How will BCCI process the compensation?
The board was expected to find a solution to that question in its Special General Meeting on 30 May but the topic wasn’t even brought up in the discussion! While there is a lot of speculation on the topic, The Quint spoke to a few players to know what they think the BCCI should do.
Aditya Tare: 2019-20 Ranji Trophy Squad Should Be Considered
Aditya Tare, the experienced Mumbai cricketer, said it would be a 'chaotic' exercise, considering the uncertainty around who would have played last season and who wouldn't have.
"It is going to be a tough and chaotic job but hopefully, a lot of players will benefit from it," he told The Quint.
“The 2019-20 Ranji Trophy squad should be considered (for the compensation) and maybe 4 or 5 white-ball players who selectors think could have played Ranji Trophy last season (2020-21). It should be the average of previous season’s squad and potential picks of this year,” he added.
Tare said that BCCI being the employer of domestic cricketers must come to their rescue in these challenging conditions.
"Compensation is a must. A lot of cricketers depend on domestic cricket for their income. We know the entire world has suffered because of the pandemic, but there are people in other sectors who are receiving their salary from their employers. BCCI is a kind of employer to domestic players, so if they do it, a lot of families will be positively affected," he explained.
He also suggested that the BCCI should come up with a solitary procedure for all state bodies.
“It (compensation) should be standardised by the BCCI and not left to the state bodies because in my opinion, then each state will have a different set of rules regarding who would get what,” Tare, the former Mumbai captain, said.
"The compensation should be a flat amount where everyone receives the average and not a certain player gets an extra amount of money. All should be paid equally because you don't know who would have played, who would have been injured and all that."
Mandeep Singh: Compensate According to Matches Played in 2019-20
Punjab captain Mandeep Singh, too, said he feels those who played Ranji Trophy in 2019-20 season should receive the reimbursement amount.
“I am sure BCCI is working out on something. In my opinion, they can give compensation money to those who have played in the 2019-20 Ranji season according to the number of matches,” he opined.
The 29-year-old said compensation is specifically more important for the players who don't play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"It is very important to give compensation money to domestic players, especially those who don't play IPL because their livelihoods depend on it," Mandeep said.
Shubham Khajuria: Count Number of Matches
Shubham Khajuria, J&K's vice-captain, seconded Mandeep's thoughts, saying he also felt number of matches played by a player in previous Ranji Trophy would be the deciding factor.
“Say if I played 10 first-class matches last year, so the BCCI will pay me as per that only because there’s no other way to do it. How will the BCCI or state bodies decide who would have played last year?” he remarked.
"I think only those players who played last year will be given compensation. I have heard from somewhere that they will play from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1,00,000 per match to a player."
Central Contracts – The Way Forward
A contract system – where players are categorised performance-wise and paid accordingly, irrespective of the number of events played in a season – is in place for Indian national cricketers. However, the domestic players, on the other hand, are solely dependent on the amount of cricket they play every year. Since this puts the livelihood of a lot of cricketers across India in danger, players feel that it's vital to introduce contracts in the domestic set-up as well.
"Going forward, the BCCI should start central contracts for domestic players. You look at ECB (England Cricket Board), BCCI, and Cricket Australia (CA), these are top boards of ICC and if you see the domestic structure of Australian or English cricket, it's all contract-based and the players are handsomely paid. They can make a living out of it and it's certain," Tare said.
"They get a contract for a year or two and then depending on the performance, it's renewed. I think it's the right way to go about it and it's high time to introduce this system in Indian cricket. That will help us in a way that there will be a lot of stability among domestic cricketers. They wouldn't need to rely on IPL or Ranji Trophy to happen."
Mandeep Singh said the contract set-up is quite fair as it also benefits players in case they get injured mid-season.
"They (BCCI) should introduce the contract system because it benefits the players greatly. For example, if a player gets injured and doesn't play Ranji Trophy, then with the contract system, they won't lose out on their earnings. It's a fair system for players and ensures their livelihood remains unaffected," he said.
Khajuria also said the contracts should be introduced soon.
"The BCCI had prepared a proposal to put a contract system in place for domestic cricketers but it is yet to be implemented. I hope it happens soon," he said.
('A cricket nut' would be how Mohsin Kamal would best describe himself. A keen fan and follower of the game, his days start and end with reading, researching and penning down stories on topics that resonate with him.)
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