BCCI kitty swells, pay hike likely for domestic players

In these days of mass exodus — moving to greener pastures of the breakaway Indian Cricket League — by domestic cricketers, the country's official cricket body flexed its financial muscle to prove a point or two. At the financial committee meeting today, the BCCI showed a surplus revenue of Rs 232 crore for the year 2006-07.

And this meant a big salary hike on cards for the domestic cricketers, most of whom are presently in a Catch-22 situation: to join or not to join the deep-pocketed breakaway Twenty20 league, promoted by the Zee Group. It is learnt that for a four-day Ranji Trophy game, a player could earn up to Rs 25,000 for the 2006-07 season — about Rs 10,000 more than what he got for the 2005-06 season.

As the committee estimated BCCI's net revenue for the next year, the calculation was that a hike of about Rs 10,000 would be in order. Going by the estimate, those who take part in all domestic tournaments are expected to earn in the Rs 10 lakh plus bracket.

Take for example, Rohit Sharma — a regular member of the Ranji Trophy-winning team Mumbai — who has also played the Duleep, Deodhar, Irani and Twenty20 tournaments. A rough estimate after the proposed hike shows that his domestic cricket earnings for the 2006-07 season would cross Rs 15 lakh. This figure includes his share from Mumbai's team sponsorship deal.

A senior BCCI official, on the condition of anonymity, informed that these figures just show how ICL's short-term benefits wouldn't be able to match the earnings of the players, who haven't jumped the fence. "Next year even a player who plays for a modest team can expect to earn about Rs 15 lakh plus. And with the pension scheme in place, there wouldn't be any regrets for the players who stick around with the board," he said.

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