BCCI begins clearing longstanding match fees for COVID-affected 2020-21 domestic season

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The BCCI has begun to disburse the long-standing dues of the hundreds of domestic cricketers – male and female – for tournaments that had to be shelved due to COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020-21 season.

The Ranji Trophy was cancelled for the first time in its 85-year history in 2020-21 for the senior men and many players struggled financially. In the women’s category, the T20 tournament was shelved due to the pandemic.

Taking note of their concern, the BCCI had formed a Mohammad Azharuddin-led seven-member committee to find a suitable compensation mechanism for domestic cricketers. And, now the compensation payments are in line with the formula worked out by the group.

Players from those associations, who have duly sent in the filled in invoices have begun to be compensated 50 per cent of their regular earnings, an Espncricinfo report stated.

While the process has begun, a number of players are yet to receive payments because of procedural delays with regards to invoices raised. The delays are understood to be due to issues at the state association’s end.

A player who featured in eight games in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy, for example, received INR 11.20 lakh (USD 15,000 approx.), the match fee per day for the four-day tournament being INR 35,000 (USD 470 approx.). For 2020-21, under the compensation structures drawn up, the same player will receive INR 5.10 lakh (USD 6,800 approx.).

Players who didn’t make the XI for certain games in 2019-20 will be compensated for 2020-21 on a pro-rata basis. For example, if a player was part of a team’s XI for four games and on the bench for four games in the 2019-20 season, for 2020-21, he will be compensated with 50 per cent of the match fees for four games and 50 per cent of the corresponding fees for players outside the starting XI for the remainder of the games.

The clearing of payments comes ahead of the start of the new Ranji Trophy season from January 13 to March 17 across seven venues. However, there is some confusion among certain players over further tweaks to the scheduling owing to the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, accelerated by the Omicron variant.

The board had earlier announced a significant increase in match fees for domestic players regarding their payments for 2021-22.

The new pay slabs, which will be in place from this season, will have the senior men earning between INR 40,000 and 60,000 (USD 540 to 810 approx.) per day of cricket while senior women will earn up to INR 20,000 (USD 270 approx.) per day.

That hike is a small one for the players in the first category (under 20 matches) but an almost 100 per cent hike for more experienced players (40-plus games), while those who have played between 21 and 40 matches will earn INR 50,000 (USD 680 approx.). Earlier, senior men’s cricketers earned INR 35,000 (USD 470 approx.) per day for first-class and one-day games regardless of how many caps they had, and INR 17,500 (USD 240 approx.) per game for T20s.

For the senior women players, who earlier earned INR 12,500 (USD 170 approx.) per one-day match and INR 6,250 (USD 85 approx.) per T20 match, the pay has been raised to INR 20,000 for playing XI members and INR 10,000 (USD 135 approx.) for those on the bench in both limited-overs formats.

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