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BCCI mulls matching red-ball fee with IPL remuneration

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Board consulting Team India captain, coach, selectors to revive players’ interest in Tests and first-class cricket
NEW DELHI: Indian

cricketers

could well be celebrating a windfall in remuneration from the Indian cricket board (BCCI) shortly. TOI understands that

BCCI

is deliberating the value of annual retainership contracts and it will be revised with an eye on raising the value for

red-ball

cricketers.

In Wednesday’s press statement, while announcing the central contracts for 2024-25, the board didn’t mention the value of the various grades.
TOI has learnt that the BCCI has been in discussion with Team India head coach

Rahul Dravid

, captain

Rohit Sharma

and chief selector Ajit Agarkar on ways to revive interest in red-ball cricket amongst players. According to sources, the board has got a proposal to raise match fees/remuneration of players – both at Test and domestic level – so that it matches the remuneration of lower mid-level IPL contracts.
It has been identified that the quality of the

Ranji Trophy

has dropped substantially in the past three seasons with a host of players citing niggles and workload during the red-ball season. The board has also realized that the interest in

Ranji

Trophy diminishes once the IPL auctions are done. It has resulted in the resource pool drying up significantly.

“The board has asked for recommendations from the Indian team management. They are taking a very aggressive approach towards maintaining the sanctity of the longest format of the game. It is imperative that players, who are committed to first-class cricket, are rewarded at a similar level as IPL cricket. That would mean that existing remuneration has to be multiplied,” a BCCI source told TOI.

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“The recommendations are on the lines of increasing the Test match and first-class fees by three times. The idea is that if a player plays the entire Ranji Trophy, he should be able to make around Rs 75 lakhs which matches an average IPL contract. It has also been suggested that if a player plays all Test matches in a year, he should be able to make Rs 15 crores which is at par for any marquee IPL contract,” the source added.

Going by the existing match fees, a player can make about Rs 25 lakhs if he plays all 10 Ranji matches in a season. The base price of a player in IPL auctions is pegged at Rs 20 lakhs. It has been observed that players, particularly fast bowlers, don’t want to put their bodies through the rigours of first-class cricket for an amount which equals to the base price at IPL auctions.
BCCI’s four grades in retainership contracts were valued at Rs 7 crore, Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore. While the recommendations from the team management and selectors are being dissected, it is learnt that the board is deliberating to allow a considerable raise in remuneration.
“The board may not agree to increasing the remuneration by three times at one go but they are considering meeting the players at mid-point. Even that should be a hefty raise. This is why the board has not announced the value of contracts. The board will have to decide if it wants to raise the match fees or make specified contracts accordingly,” the source said.

batsman in form blaze hit

AI generated image

Selectors aim to create red-ball pool
While the BCCI has announced fast bowling contracts for five bowlers, TOI understands the selectors are working towards creating a pool of bowlers in red ball cricket. It will also work towards a set of wicketkeepers and spinners who can endure the rigours of first-class cricket.
Agarkar’s committee has been going around the country to hand pick bowlers. For example, Khaleel Ahmed, who has been missing first-class cricket for years, was pushed to play Ranji Trophy for Rajasthan this season. Delhi’s Mayank Yadav was identified but he missed the Ranji Trophy due to a side strain after the Vijay Hazare Trophy. They have also spoken to Arshdeep Singh on increasing his game time with the red ball.

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