As the curtains come down on the 2017-18 Ranji season, cricketers across the country, for the second successive season, still await their BCCI-disbursed domestic cricket match fees. While most players have received part payment from state units, none of them have received the lion’s share of their annual earning drawn from 10.6 per cent of the BCCI’s total gross revenue. This pro-rata payment depends on BCCI’s variable annual income but on an average a Ranji Trophy regular, who also plays shorter-version domestic competitions, earns Rs 12-15 lakh a year as match fees.
The delayed payment stems from the impasse between the Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators (CoA) and state units over implementing the Supreme Court-ordered Justice RM Lodha reforms. Another reason for the delay is the new payment plan that the CoA is working on. “There has been no general body meeting since the time CoA took charge. So the accounts have not been cleared and thus there is no clarity about what the players should be getting,” said an official.
The BCCI’s income distribution formula ensures that 26 per cent of the revenue goes to players. This is further broken into 13 per cent for international stars, 10.6 per cent for domestic players and the rest is allocated to women and junior cricketers. The Indian Express spoke to 25 teams across India and none of them had received the BCCI payment.
The state units are in dark about the issue. “The players have not received money from the Board. I have been told players will receive their full payment once the AGM (annual general meeting) takes place. But we don’t know when the AGM will happen. As far as MCA is concerned we have paid our players what we owe them but we are yet to receive the Board’s money,” Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar said.
The issue has left players — there are at least 500 first-class cricketers — restless. Mumbai captain Aditya Tare confirmed he had not received domestic match fees that he gets from the BCCI, for two years now. “As professional cricketers, we should get what we deserve at the right time. Domestic cricketers are often forgotten when it comes to payments. Very few players bag IPL contracts, which is normally sufficient for that particular season. But many who work equally hard are just playing in the domestic circuit without knowing when and what amount they will make that year,” he said.
In some state units, like Jammu and Kashmir, things are worse. Former India player and J&K’s senior-most cricketer Parvez Rasool said his team has not received money from the home association and BCCI, for the last three years.
“We stay in five-star hotels across India for our domestic games. But the players have to spend their own money for food. We haven’t even got daily allowance over the last three years. Forget the BCCI revenue money,” Rasool said. He felt it was high time the Board increased the money for state players.
Niranjan Shah, chairman of the National Cricket Academy, said, “The COA must use their powers and pay domestic cricketers,” he said.