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The Rediff Special/Ashish Magotra
No big raise for cricketers!
May 10, 2004
Last week it was reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India had announced a ten-fold pay hike, up to Rs 52,000, for a player for every match played in domestic cricket.
The fact is those reports are incorrect though BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya, who is said to have declared the bonanza, is silent on the matter.
A domestic player, who did not wish to be named, said he had heard about the reports, but is yet to be informed about the raise by the Board.
"Last year we were getting around Rs 10,000 for each match in the league. For the semi-final and final the amount went up to Rs 15,000," he said.
BCCI Joint Secretary Ratnakar Shetty confirmed that domestic cricketers would indeed get a raise, but said it would not be as much as reports suggest.
Shetty said players will now get Rs 4,000 per day for Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy games as against the Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000 they were getting in the league and knock-out stages respectively, in the coming season.
Instead of Rs 15,000 in the knock-out stages, he said they would now get Rs 20,000, and not as reported.
"So, for a four-day game, they get Rs 16,000; for a five-day match, they get Rs 20,000 and for a one-day match they get Rs 4,000. An equal amount is added to their benevolent fund," he said.
"The amount that the cricketers receive each day remains the same. There is no increase for the knock-out stages of the domestic competition," he added, reiterating that the reports about a windfall for domestic cricketers are "false."
In comparison to the domestic cricketers' income, international cricketers get Rs 25,000 as match fees for each Limited Overs International and Rs 40,000 for a Test.
This amount is given directly to the cricketers by the BCCI and is buffered up by team sponsors Sahara.
International cricketers end up earning as much as Rs 225,000 per LOI and Rs 250,000 a Test. But unlike domestic players, they are given the entire amount. Not a paise is kept aside for the benevolent fund.
Former BCCI treasurer Kishore Rungta, who was in office when plans for the hike were being formulated, said the huge difference in the form of payment is "because the players at the domestic level are less mature."
"They can spend the money on trivial matters like bikes, shopping and girls," Rungta added. "The Board wants to make sure that the domestic cricketers do not blow up the money."
"But with Test cricketers, the amount of money involved is so much bigger. They invest wisely because they have their chartered accountants and agents to help them," Rungta pointed out.
In case a domestic cricketer needs more money to buy a house or get his sister married, what does he do? Who does he turn to?
"The BCCI," declared Rungta.
"The cricketers can ask for a loan. If the Board thinks the application is genuine, they will give the loan, which, of course, comes out of the benevolent fund."
Do the domestic cricketers know about this?
"None of this is on paper. It is all word of mouth. We don't want to encourage people to come to us and ask for loans," Rungta said.
One may ask why have the facility if you don't want your players to take advantage of it?
Strange are the ways of the BCCI. Isn't it the richest cricket board in the world?
Rungta says "no."
He insists that despite having a net worth of about Rs 220 crores (Rs 2.2 billion), the BCCI comes second to Cricket Australia and the England Cricket Board.
"Cricket Australia's outgoings are nothing compared to the BCCI. There are over 180 to 190 matches in the domestic circuit and the BCCI has to organise for that every year. The BCCI, with a net worth of approximately Rs 220 crores, has to spend all that money in five years to develop the game or pay income tax," he said.
All these facts add up to the question: Shouldn't the governing body of the game of the masses in the country be more transparent when dealing with its domestic cricketers?