‘Just compensation won’t do’: Calls growing for central contracts in domestic cricket

NEW DELHI: As the BCCI works out a compensation package and a formula to distribute it for the COVID-19 hit domestic cricketers, voices demanding central contracts for such players are getting louder with seasoned names like Jaydev Unadkat, Sheldon Jackson and Harpreet Singh Bhatia leading the chorus.
Last month, former India player and domestic veteran Rohan Gavaskar had also called for state associations to introduce contracts for players over and above their match fees, just like it is for the national team.
Majority of domestic players don’t get to play IPL, don’t have job security and rely heavily on match fees, which took a beating last season with Ranji Trophy being cancelled due to the pandemic.
Saurashtra captain and India player Jaydev Unadkat doesn’t need the security of a contract but he feels it should be introduced for the top 30 cricketers of the state.
“Talks over central contracts were happening even before the pandemic. Even cricketers at the age group level should be compensated for the lack of cricket, it will keep them motivated and then hand contracts to senior players.
“You can’t give contracts to all but you can pick top-30 players for contracts. A pool of 30 players sounds feasible to me,” Unadkat, who led Saurashtra to their maiden Ranji Title in 2020, told PTI.
If it is a full season, a domestic player earns Rs 15-16 lakh which was not the case last season with the Ranji Trophy being cancelled for the first time in 87 years.
Chhattisgarh captain Harpeet Singh Bhatia is among the bunch of domestic cricketers who have gone to play club cricket in the UK amid the pandemic. He has been playing for Barnsley Woolley Miners since 2017.
“I played all of 10 white ball games last season. It wasn’t enough clearly. I had to come to the UK to make extra money. Since I don’t have a job back in India, I come to England anyway to supplement my income.
“If I had a central contract back home, it wouldn’t be a compulsion for me to play in the UK. The BCCI has been supportive in the past and I expect it will support us in these tough times with a good compensation package and hopefully contracts from the state associations,” Bhatia told PTI.
—PTI

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