Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Chatter over what is justified, how much is good enough
seeking more; in the other, administrators handling this bouncer.
Highlights of the Player Mange More drama are as follows ....
With India capping an outstanding home season beating Australia 2-1 the BCCI promptly announced (graded) cash awards for players, coach and support staff.
The players welcomed the bonus, which was excellent PR from the BCCI. They were on the ball in the optics game, looking like a caring parent rewarding a child for acing an exam.
Then came a question – should bonuses/incentives for performances of professional athletes be reduced to random decisions depending on someone’s largesse? The present system is unscientific (like the ICC formula’s revenue distribution among members!) and whimsical (the Mogambo khush hua syndrome).
Old timers might draw a similarity with the scene from the epic Mughal-e-Azam where Shehzada Salim flings a pearl necklace at Anarkali, thrilled by her splendid dance performance in Emperor Akbar’s Sheesh Mahal.
In others cricketing countries these matters are properly structured. Team/individual performance bonuses and rewards are factored into player contracts.
The contracts are first discussed with players, agreed, documented and formally signed off. Bonus details of Australian/ English players are readily available on their Board websites.
India chooses another route. The BCCI has extensive guidelines over fees to players, umpires, scorers, video analysts, match referees, curators and selectors but player performance-linked bonuses are embedded in cricket’s grey market. This creates enormous potential of friction and misunderstanding. Also there was no basis for the earlier highest Rs 1 crore figure in the contract slabs, nor is there any for 2 crores -- these are numbers pulled from thin air.
Yes, Indian cricketers are seriously rich by Indian standards.
It’s also true that Virat’s BCCI earnings are half of what Steve Smith or Joe Root receive from their national boards and Indian players get a minor share of BCCI’s revenue/profits.
Nor is there an open, transparent method of evaluating players and slotting them into different contract slabs.
England, Australia and SA have a rating system with points based on performance in different formats to decide ‘value to team’. England has gone a step further and instituted separate red and white ball contracts.
India can look at global best practices and adjust them to Indian conditions.
Ad hoc raises and tweaks are the problem, not the solution for this ongoing dangal.
THE BCCI HAS EXTENSIVE GUIDELINES OVER FEES TO PLAYERS, UMPIRES, SCORERS, VIDEO ANALYSTS, MATCH REFEREES, CURATORS AND SELECTORS BUT PLAYER PERFORMANCELINKED BONUSES ARE EMBEDDED IN CRICKET’S GREY MARKET. THIS CREATES FRICTION AND MISUNDERSTANDING.