Former Indian cricketer Nikhil Chopra has hailed BCCI’s decision to also introduce an annual centralized contract system in domestic cricket. Currently, National Tour players are paid based on the number of days they play in the calendar year.
With a structure similar to the national team also entering the state associations, contract tiers are expected to be formed. The BCCI recently compensated national players by paying them 50% of their match fees for competitions that were not played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nikhil Chopra believes the new contract system will provide financial security for players. Speaking on the Khelneeti podcast on YouTube, he said:
“Offering a contract to national players is a great initiative, secures the player financially. Unfortunately, in the last two years, national players have lost because of the pandemic. This contract system will benefit the players a lot, just like in the county system in England.”
Former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim felt that the contract system protects a player and also serves as an incentive at the same time. He said:
“The contract initiative should have been started by the cricketers in the state themselves. It was an initiative that Ganguly considered in 2019. But, I think it is time they were given a contract. First, it protects a player’s interest, if a player gets injured and misses the season, the match fee system does not provide it Second, it is also a motivating factor, because there are several grades associated with the system.
National Tour players have been hit hard due to the pandemic which saw the Ranji Trophy canceled entirely last year. Meanwhile, the BCCI slowly reintroduced white ball cricket in the form of the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The 2022 Ranji Trophy has been rescheduled and will take place in two stages starting in February.
“State associations will determine the level of contract compensation” – Nikhil Chopra
Chopra notes that more money can be diverted to state associations given BCCI’s financial stature. BCCI received a significant increase in revenue following the sale of two new IPL franchises. Chopra added:
“State associations will determine the level of contract remuneration. The BCCI purse is expanding, each state association will receive more money now. They can now take care of stadiums, renovation and the maintenance and also manage the cricket.The centralized system that is in place in the national team, will also be put in place for the young players, who can use it to support their homes and at the same time, climb the rungs.”
While the contract tier system will soon come to prominence in national cricket, the level of pay for each tier will be different from that of the national team.