India cricket stars cut to size after Cup debacle

Published: Saturday, April 7, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) working committee, in a review meeting, on Saturday introduced performance-linked payments to the national team, saying wins will earn them more money but defeats will hurt the pockets.

BCCI also scrapped gradation in the annual contracts for players following the team's first round exit from the ongoing World Cup in the Caribbean.

"There will be no A, B, or C grades in contracts as it was till now. All players will have the same grades," BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan told reporters at the end of a two-day review of the World Cup debacle. Winning a series will be rewarded with bonuses."

Srinivasan, however, did not reveal what the new fees for international matches will be. This effectively means that seniors and juniors all get the uniform pay.

Indian cricketers were previously paid 1.6 lakh (US$3,400) for a one-day international and 2.5 lakh (US$4,500) for Test matches, in addition to annual contracts based on graded system with a retainers ranging from 50 lakh to 20 lakh (US$110,000 to US$45,000).

Only three endorsments: Players will not be allowed to endorse more than three sponsors, a move that had been recommended by a group of former captains on Friday.

Also, players will not be allowed to shoot any commercials a fortnight prior to any series and not more than two players can endorse the same product.

"There was a unanimous view by the ex-captains that some cap should be present, even while they were not against players earning money," said Srinivasan.

Indian players are much sought after by companies for endorsing their products in a country where cricket is the most popular sport.

Superstar Sachin Tendulkar, widely regarded as one of the world's richest cricketers, reportedly has sponsorships worth US$400 million.

Full-time paid selectors: The system of having five honorary selectors will also be abolished. Srinivasan said the Board had also decided to do away with the zonal system of selection in a year's time and they will be replaced by fulltime selectors chosen on the basis of their elgibility based on factors including stature as a player.

The domestic system will also be made stronger with the international calendar being adjusted so that the players play six to eight weeks of domestic matches every year. The Ranji Trophy Elite group would be reduced from 15 teams to 10 by 2008-09.

The captains' recommendation that sporting pitches be prepared around the country so that batsmen do not struggle when confronted by fast wickets abroad was also accepted.

The second-string 'A' teams will tour Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies on a regular basis so that younger players get a chance to play on good wickets before being drafted into the national side.

Dravid retained as captain: Rahul Dravid was retained as team captain for the next three tours, to Bangladesh, Ireland and England and asked the selectors to pick a 'young side' for the first of those tours.

The board acting on Dravid's suggestions on coaching personnel for the upcoming Bangladesh tour. The vaccum left by Greg Chappell's exit will be filled by specialists for each department-Robin Singh, the former all-rounder, has been appointed fielding coach, while Venkatesh Prasad, the former fast bowler, will take over as the bowling coach. Ravi Shastri, one of the former captains invited to the meeting on Friday, was appointed as manager for Bangla tour.

Salient Features:

*Dravid retained as captain for next three tours-Bangla, Ireland and England.

*Performance-linked pay structure replaces graded contract system-juniors will receive the match fee on par with seniors. However players would be rewarded with incentives for series wins.

*Players will not be allowed to do more than three endorsements.

*Ravi Shastri appointed coach-cum-manager and Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh (Sr) will travel with Indian team as bowling and fielding coach respectively (only for Bangla tour).

*Board has instructed the selection committee to send a 'young team' for Bangla tour.

*Sporting wickets will be laid thro' the length and breadth of the country.

*State associations to have academies to tap and develop young talent by Apr 2009

*Second string teams to have overseas tours on regular basis.

*Zonal selectors in selection committee will be replaced by full-time paid selectors chosen on merit grounds from the vast pool of former players.

ThatsCricket (with inputs from Agencies)

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