RCA has become the first cricket association to bring into play the grading system like the one BCCI follows in context with international players
Of late there has been a growing cacophony surrounding pay packages of cricketers. If in India commentator and former player Ravi Shastri scoffs at the recent hike in the retainers fee for all contracted players terming it as ‘peanuts’, former Australian cricketer Shane Watson rebukes Cricket Australia’s initiative of financial incentive to the performers, calling it ‘insulting’. In the entire talk pertaining to international cricketers and the initiatives undertaken by the boards to ensure these players are well paid, what has gone unnoticed is the fact that players in the domestic circuit remain completely ignored.
Till 2003-2004 a domestic player use to earn around 1 lakh and things changed for better after Indian Premier League (IPL) came into play. In 2008 BCCI started gross revenue system in which certain per cent of profit use to be given to domestic players. This system is still in place. The players are all praise for what BCCI did then and expect the apex body to reconsider the pay packages.
Throwing light on the issue Team Rajasthan skipper says, “It was a great move by BCCI. But, it has been almost 10 years now and there has been no change in our fee structure. BCCI’s fee is fixed and we get according to the set standard.” He makes a case that every other organization has appraisal system that comes into play every year and employees get paid according to what they have contributed. “Even a domestic player devotes everything to give his best and in his career of 10-15 years he at least expects to be paid appropriately. 10 lakh approximately we make yearly (from a domestic season) and then what are we left with?” he pointed out.
Concurring with the skipper, the team’s ‘keeper Dishant Yagnik believes, “If we compare from what we use to get and what we are paid now then definitely there is a stark difference in the pay package. But given the fact that changes were made almost a decade ago, it’s time for standards to change.” He adds that it’s not possible for BCCI to take up the entire onus of a large number of domestic players and the state cricket associations must step in to improve the situation.
Echoing the same emotion, left-arm pacer Aniket Choudhary who is busy rendering services to his Indian Premier League (IPL) team RCB says, “Couldn’t agree more with what seniors are saying. Fee pattern should be restructured by BCCI. A player has to spend on gym, training and several other things pertaining to his cricket practice and in that context and given the time we live in where every service comes with a huge cost attached, it’s time things must alter.”
The sum is minuscule if we go by how much change the world has seen in the last decade. Importantly, BCCI is the richest board and the sum mentioned by the players can only help make ends meet. Terming themselves as an ‘underpaid’ tribe, all players want the apex body to consider renewal of Ranji Trophy fee.
RCA THE PIONEER
‘In a first, to boost the standards, Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) has brought into play a contract system for the players on the lines of what BCCI follows. The idea has been in the pipeline from past 4-5 years now. “One important aspect of this contract system is that even if a player will get injured, he won’t be left with zero earning, there will be security that will come along with it,” points out Pankaj.
With this major leap, RCA president Lalit Modi will be signing off in a spectacular fashion with the association sending across a big message to other states. “It is a great gesture by RCA and it shows how much worth they on their players,” feels Yagnik.
“With this we have gone one step ahead of BCCI. The association has introduced grading system for the junior teams as well like under-23, under-19, under-15, women junior etc.,” informed RCA secretary Sumendra Tiwary
With RCA elections round the corner, players have just one demand- bringing in the competitive and professional environment in the academy. They expect the person at the helm to overhaul the services in the academy by getting more competitive staff in terms of physio and trainers. As they say- cricket thrives if players are well facilitated.
DETAILS ON GRADING SYSTEM
The grading system will be applicable from 2017-18 and it includes 29 cricketers who represented the state in Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy during 2016-17 season.
Grade A includes (3.5 lakh anually)- Pankaj Singh, Vineet Saxena, Ashok Menaria, Puneet Yadav, Dishant Yagnik, Deepak Chahar, Rajesh Bishnoi (Sr) and Aniket Choudhary.
Grade B includes (2.5 lakh anually)- Ajay Singh Kookna, Ankit Lamba, Arjit Gupta, Chetan Bist, Divyapratap Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Maninder Singh, Nathu Singh, Pranay Sharma, Rajesh Bishnoi (Jr), Tanvir-Ul-Haq.
Grade C includes (1.5 lakh anually)- Amit Gautam, Chandrapal Singh, Ashok Kumar Budaniya, Kamlesh Singh Nagarkoti, Rahul Chahar, Salman Khan, Siddharth Dobal, Suryaprakash, Syed Ahmed, Tejinder Singh Dhillon.
Moreover, there is incentive for junior teams and female cricketers as well.