Gavaskar on need for hike in Ranji Trophy fees: Around Rs 15 lakh for all Ranji games… while tennis-ball league gets you almost twice | Cricket News


On the heels of the BCCI announcing an improved remuneration package for Test cricketers, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said domestic players would be well served by a similar hike in their package, along with a central contract in place which made it obligatory for them to play for their domestic team, if fit.

Of late, there have been several instances of players with IPL contracts skipping Ranji Trophy games just a few days before the franchise league, presumably to avoid injury or staying in the best possible shape for the T20 league.

“Yes,” Gavaskar said when asked if a domestic contract system is the need of the hour. “If the state association has a contract system, not only will the player be obliged to play but the association also can withhold the NOC (no-objection certificate) – to allow them to appear in the IPL – for the player breaching the contract. The remuneration for playing Ranji Trophy also should be increased with a slab system where players who have played a minimum of 10 matches get more and the next slabs come after every 10 more matches. This way there will be an incentive to play Ranji Trophy too.”

Greater financial incentives

Gavaskar feels apart from financial incentives and a contract system, scheduling tweaks are needed to encourage more cricketers to turn up for domestic first-class cricket. This comes on the heels of Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan being denied central contracts after they missed Ranji Trophy games despite not being part of the India squad.

Gavaskar thinks a domestic contract system should be put in place to guarantee a minimum financial return for the players. This would be in addition to the enhanced remuneration package that the board is working on.

Festive offer

The former India captain isn’t surprised that some players are turning their backs on the Ranji Trophy. “Today the players from Mumbai and Vidarbha who played every single (Ranji) game, including the final, will end up getting around 15 lakh for about 40 days of cricket. When you see that a player playing a tennis-ball league is getting almost twice that amount for less than a week’s work, you can see why the Ranji Trophy is not attractive for some players,” Gavaskar told The Indian Express.

Akshay Wadkar, who captained Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai, received Rs 25,80,000 for playing 43 days of the premier domestic tournament. At the 2024 IPL player auction, the lowest base price for a player was Rs 20 lakh. Mumbai’s Bhupen Lalwani got Rs 17,20,000 for playing only 10 Ranji matches this season.

Key players skipping Ranji matches ahead of the IPL – by pro

ducing medical certificates from franchises to not informing the state units about their unavailability – is a common occurrence. Some teams have even noticed a decrease in intensity level among certain players towards the later stages of the Ranji campaign.

Calls for introducing domestic contracts have been made for a long time. When former India captain Sourav Ganguly took charge as BCCI president in 2019, he announced that it was his pet project. But he vacated the chair after three years, during which time the BCCI could not even host the Ranji Trophy in 2020/21 because of Covid. It led to around 600 players suffering huge income losses. Though the BCCI has since increased the domestic match fee, it is nowhere close to an IPL contract.

Now, state associations say they have no leverage with players having IPL contracts when they don’t appear for domestic tournaments. This season, Kishan didn’t turn up for Jharkhand and according to the state unit, he didn’t give any reason either. Similarly, Deepak Chahar didn’t turn up for Rajasthan. “This has been happening since the second season of the IPL,” Gavaskar said. “While nobody can be forced to play, if a player is good enough to be picked for his state Ranji Trophy team and does not have an injury certified by the state association physios and doctors, the state association should withhold the NOC to play IPL.”

A tweak in the domestic cricketing calendar would also be useful in providing an incentive to play first-class cricket. The chorus among state team coaches and administrators is to slot the Ranji Trophy before the IPL auction. They say it will encourage players to take the field, especially with IPL scouts keeping a close tab.

Earlier window for Ranji Trophy

Over the last few seasons, the BCCI has been staging the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in October, before the IPL auction, so that they could showcase their abilities before the franchises, with the Ranji Trophy pushed to a December-January start. Gavaskar, who has been part of the BCCI’s technical committee in the past, believes the time has come to tweak the schedule.

“The domestic schedule can be changed so that the Ranji Trophy starts first in early October and finishes by mid- December. This way the farcical situation of teams losing out on points with games in the north of India getting abandoned because of fog and bad light will be avoided. Give the Ranji players a feeling that they are wanted and not poor cousins of the IPL players and ensure every player earns at least 25 lakh per season. You will have fewer absentees then,” Gavaskar said.

There is also a strong argument on the domestic circuit that state associations should field specialist players in white-ball and red-ball cricket. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, on the back of having their own T20 leagues, are now picking players according to the format, with the likes of Varun Chakravarthy, Shahrukh Khan, T Natarajan, K Gowtham, Abhinav Manohar and Manoj Bhandage not picked for the Ranji Trophy.
Though there is a fear that more and more players will specialise in shorter formats leading to the domestic first-class game getting weaker, Gavaskar believes it won’t have a huge bearing.

“India has got massive depth as far as talent goes so it won’t be much of a difference if some players opt out of Ranji Trophy cricket totally.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *