BCCI announces new contracts; Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma get Grade A+https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/players-get-a-security-virat-kohli-shikhar-dhawan-5090061/

BCCI announces new contracts; Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma get Grade A+

BCCI announces new A+ category of cricketers, including Virat Kohli, to get Rs 7 crore annually; MS Dhoni, R Ashwin in Rs 5 crore bracket.

Indian cricket team, BCCI, BCCI anual pay, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, sports news, cricket, Indian Express
Shikhar Dhawan was included in A+ bracket. (Source: AP)

The BCCI new annual contracts for the period October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, have brought in a windfall for the Indian team cricketers. The new contract system and compensation packages announced on Wednesday saw the introduction of the A+ category at the top. Virat Kohli walked into the top tier, along with Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan.

Their annual retainer fee would be Rs 7 crore each.Kohli was at Rs 2 crore per annum in the previous contract that expired on September 30 last year. Rohit, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah were previously in Grade B, at Rs 1 crore each. Their respective pay hike is 600 per cent.

Dhawan, meanwhile, moved from Grade C, Rs 50 lakh annually, to the A+ category, with a 1,300 per cent increase in his salary.The introduction of the new category meant that MS Dhoni, despite retaining his Grade A contract, dropped down in the order. But the former captain still got a substantial hike, from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.

All Grade A players will be getting Rs 5 crore each annually, while Grade B and Grade C players have been handed an annual package of Rs 3 crore each and Rs 1 crore each respectively. The cricket board has pruned the contract list from 32 to 26 – five in A+ category and seven each in the other three segments. Grade B and Grade C players were at Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh each in the previous contract. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is the new kid on the block, with a Grade B contract alongside his spin-bowling partner Yuzvendra Chahal.

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This year’s compensation structure is also a departure from keeping the Test specialists in the top tier, which is why the likes of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha featured in the second rung.

Fund for players
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has sanctioned the creation of a “Players Revenue/Compensation Equalization Fund” that would “insulate” the player compensation, fluctuations in the cricket board’s actual income notwithstanding. Simply put, the players’ annual retainer fee is secured irrespective of the number of home matches India play per year. “The A+ category has been introduced for those who are playing in all three formats. Their ICC rankings were also taken into consideration,” CoA head Vinod Rai told The Indian Express, adding: “We gave this to the Finance Committee sometime in September if I remember correctly. They had two meetings… At present the players are playing without contracts. So we thought it would be unfair to wait any further and that’s why we have put it out now.”

With the player contract pending from October last year, the BCCI also couldn’t get the insurance done for the Indian team cricketers.The erstwhile Indian team head coach Anil Kumble had set the ball rolling for a better compensation package for the Indian team players, giving a presentation to the CoA ahead of the IPL final last year.

A few months later skipper Virat Kohli, along with the current Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri and former captain Dhoni met the CoA to discuss the new compensation structure. The Indian players, even the top stars, were getting significantly less than their English and Australian counterparts in the previous annual retainer package.

The idea was to put the Kohli and company on a par with the Roots and the Smiths.

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) for BCCI on Wednesday announced the Annual Player Contracts for the period from October 2017 to September 2018. The CoA was of the view that the performance and position of Indian Cricket needs to be recognised with the fee structure comparable to the best in the world,” a cricket board release said.

Bonanza for women
For the first time since 2015, the women’s pay scale has been revised. Grade A retainer fee has been increased from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 50 lakh each, Grade B from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh each, while Grade C has been introduced for Rs 10 lakh each.

The CoA has also given a 200 per cent hike to the domestic cricketers in each category. Match fee for each player in the playing XI in first-class cricket has been increased to Rs 35,000 per day, while the reserves will get Rs 17,500 per day. The structure for U-23, U-19 and U-16 levels reads: Rs 17,500, Rs 10,500 and Rs 3,500 (all per day) for first team players and Rs 8,750, Rs 5,250 and Rs 1,750 for the reserves.

Dhawan gets 1300% hike, windfall for others
The BCCI has introduced a new A+ category in the retainer fee structure for its top players, who will receive a substantial pay hike under the new annual contracts for the 2017-18 season.

Shikhar Dhawan is the biggest gainer, his salary swelling by an astronomical 1300% compared to last year, when he was slotted in Grade C, earning just Rs 50 lakh.

This list includes captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The players in this category are those who feature in all formats.

Grade A: Rs 5 crore
Last year: Rs 2 crore
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, R Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane are among the players in this category.

Dhoni, who doesn’t feature in Tests, retains his spot in this category. Similarly, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, who feature only in the longest format, too find a place. The move is seen as an attempt to keep Test specialists, like Pujara, who went unsold at the IPL auction, among the top-tier earners.

Grade B: Rs 3 crore
Last year: Rs 1 crore
Kuldeep Yadav, the young chinaman bowler, is the new entrant in this category, while his wrist-spinning partner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was in Grade C last year, too makes a move up. Consequently, his salary sees a six-fold hike.

Grade C: Rs 1 crore
Last year: Rs 50 lakh
Suresh Raina, who had gone without a contract last year, finds a place in this category, while Jayant Yadav, with just five internationals (4 Tests and 1 ODI), has surprisingly managed to retain his spot .

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The board also increased the match fee for domestic cricketers, giving them a 200% hike across categories. A player will now earn Rs 35,000 per day for first-class and List A games, while those on the bench would earn Rs 17,500.

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