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March 23, 2018
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BCCI player contracts: Kohli & Co. receive pay hikesI have had no role to play in this decision: BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary

In a bid to strike a balance between players’ demands and BCCI’s coffers, the CoA has arrived at a compromise formula while finalising the much-delayed player retainers for 2017-18.

While announcing the revised player contracts for the period from October 2017 to September 2018, the Vinod Rai-led CoA created a new provision to ensure that the international men, women and domestic cricketers’ annual retainer does not suffer even if India plays fewer matches at home.

“The CoA recognises that the actual income of the BCCI fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the number of home matches Team India (senior men) plays. Hence, to insulate the player compensation, the CoA has sanctioned the creation of a Players Revenue / Compensation Equalization Fund” (PR/CEF) to which the BCCI will contribute approximately ₹125 cr per annum from its surplus,” Rai said in a statement.

During his year-long stint as India head coach, Anil Kumble in consultation with captain Virat Kohli had demanded that the BCCI’s income through other sources, primarily broadcast and sponsorship money for the Indian Premier League, be factored in while calculating player income. The additional provision of ₹125 crore annually could well strike a balance between the two parties.

BCCI stumped again

However, BCCI office-bearers and members are surprised with the CoA bypassing them yet again while taking a major decision. The convention while finalising player contracts is: the board secretary first convenes a selection committee for the same and it is followed by a meeting between the president, the secretary and the chief selector to finalise the contract list.

“I have had no role to play in this decision. And I can confirm that none in the BCCI have been involved in this decision. As for the selection committee, being the acting secretary, I am supposed to convene the selection meetings, and I confirm the committee did not meet once for this purpose,” acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Bumrah, Karthik beneficiaries

The CoA may be complemented for creating a new category — A+ — of players who are supposedly part of the squad, if not the team, across all three formats. The choice of players is interesting, if not intriguing, in a category that will fetch a maximum retainer of ₹7 crore.

While Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar deserve to be in the top five players, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan’s inclusion in the category is debatable since they are not certainties in the starting line-up in Tests.

Jasprit Bumrah’s selection in the top brass is slightly baffling, considering he was never considered for the Test squad before the start of the ongoing cycle. The contracts for 2017-18 are supposed to be based on the players’ performance in 2016-17. Bumrah justified his selection in the Test squad in South Africa recently, but the fact that he wasn’t even on the Test radar for the previous year seems to have been overlooked.

Similarly baffling is wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik’s inclusion in Grade B. The Tamil Nadu cricketer was recalled towards the end of the 2016-17 cycle in limited overs’ teams and has still not cemented a place, but has still been included with a retainer of ₹3 crore.