Huge pay hike for India cricketers


BOMBAY — The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has introduced a new A+ category in the retainer fee structure for it’s top players, who will receive a huge pay increase under the new Annual Contracts for the 2017-18 season.

The retainer structure now features four categories — Grade A+, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C — compared to three in previous years.

The uppermost category features five players — skipper Virat Kohli, opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, pacemen Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah — who have been put on a retainer worth 70 million Indian rupees ($1.1 million).

The amount is a significant increase from last year, where players in the uppermost ‘A’ category were handed retainers of 20 million Indian rupees.

“The CoA (Committee of Administrators) was of the view that the performance and position of Indian cricket needs to be recognized with the fee structure comparable to the best in the world,” the BCCI said in a statement Wednesday.

Last year, senior players expressed dissatisfaction with the pay rises they received, leading Vinod Rai, head of the Supreme Court-appointed CoA, to announce that a further hike would be considered for the current season.

The world’s richest cricket board handed seven players Grade A contracts this season, including former captain M.S. Dhoni, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who will receive 50 million Indian rupees each.

Top Indian cricketers also receive a match fee for each international appearance and many benefit from playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

Grade B players, including fast bowler Ishant Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya, will earn 30 million Indian rupees each while Grade C players will receive 10 million Indian rupees each.

The CoA, which supervises the operations of the BCCI, said that it had sanctioned the creation of a Players Revenue/ Compensation Equalization Fund (PR/CEF) to insulate player compensation.

The BCCI will contribute approximately 1.25 billion Indian rupees per annum to the fund.

Afghan keeper Shahzad

banned for two matches

Big-hitting Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad has been suspended for two matches, just three months after returning from a one-year doping ban, the ICC announced Wednesday.

The 30-year-old slammed his bat against the pitch next to the main wicket after being dismissed for 24 in Afghanistan’s two-run defeat by Zimbabwe in World Cup qualifying Tuesday.

Shahzad reached four demerit points over the last two years after being found guilty of “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings” by cricket’s governing body.

The opening batsman will now miss Afghanistan’s next two Group B matches against Hong Kong Thursday and Nepal Saturday.

It is a big blow for the Rashid Khan-led side, which was expected to qualify for next year’s tournament in England and Wales, but now look set to miss out after consecutive losses to Scotland and host Zimbabwe.

Shahzad only returned to action last December after serving a ban for taking a weight-loss product.

Teenage leg-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was fined 50 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points for throwing the ball “in a dangerous manner” toward Zimbabwe batsman Brendan Taylorn in Tuesday’s game.

The 16-year-old contested the charge, but was found guilty Wednesday morning.

Wicketkeeper Taylor, who made a crucial 89 in Zimbabwe’s total of 196, was also fined 15 percent of his match fee for dissent after complaining about an lbw appeal that wasn’t given late on in the tense encounter.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong batsman Nizakat Khan was fined and handed three demerit points for barging into Scotland bowler Alasdair Evans during his side’s four-wicket defeat. — Agencies