India’s top cricketers are set to finally be paid the incremental retainers which was awarded to them by the BCCI’s CoA (Committee of Administrators) three months ago.
The CoA had introduced a new A+ grade contract in addition to the previously existing grades in March this year. The new A+ grade contracts were awarded to five players – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. According to the contract, the five players will receive an annual retainer of $1million.
The new grading system was meant to come into effect for the 2017-18 season. However, according to a report by India Today, the new contracts were yet to be endorsed by the board secretary as late as Friday despite the players signing it much earlier.
The players had reportedly approached the board for clarity on the situation and their pending payments.
The state units of the BCCI met in New Delhi on Friday for a Special General Meeting (SGM) where the matter was taken up for discussion and finally passed.
The Supreme Court appointed CoA ,which was set up to oversee the day-to-day workings of the BCCI, was the brains behind the new grading system and had warned the BCCI that they would enforce the contracts if they were not ratified by Friday.
“The players have signed new contracts and it has been sent to the secretary in person and multiple reminders given. We will wait till Friday. If the secretary still does not sign it, COA will ensure the players get their money,” CoA member Diana Edulji had told India Today earlier.
Friday’s SGM had did not have the required go ahead from the CoA and as such, it remains to be seen if the committee implements the resolutions passed by the board in the meet.
“Despite doubts, the SGM has taken place. All resolutions have been passed by the General Body unanimously,” BCCI acting secretary Amithabh Choudhary was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India after the SGM.
“The General Body of the BCCI has authorised me to sign the players’ contracts. It has also resolved to consider proportionate increase in the remuneration of the domestic players, both and men and women. Not only the absolute amounts but also related to the gross revenue of the BCCI,” he added.
India coach Ravi Shastri said Indian players need to get used to the Yo-Yo test, reiterating ‘it is here to stay’.
Mohammed Shami, Sanju Samson and Ambati Rayudu all failed the fitness test in the last month while Suresh Raina, who didn’t reach the prescribed mark last year, cleared it this time around ahead of the England tour.
Former India selector and coach Sandeep Patil has previously questioned the BCCI’s policy of cricketers needing to pass the test but Shastri put his weight behind the fitness-related selection policy.
“I think it’s a combination of both ability and fitness. If you are fit, you can enhance that ability. That is one thing that has been emphasised on while designing the Yo-Yo test. And it is here to stay. Whoever thinks it’s a one off thing, he is sadly mistaken and that person can take a walk,” Shastri told media.
“The philosophy is simple. You pass the test, you play. You don’t, you sit. So this is not going to go anywhere. The captain leads from the front, the selectors the management are on the same page. And the boys have responded extremely well.”
On the eve of the Indian team’s departure for Dublin for their tour of Ireland and England, skipper Virat Kohli has announced that he has completely recovered from the neck injury he sustained while leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL this year.
“I’m 100 per cent ready to go. The neck is fine now. I’ve had six to seven sessions in Mumbai and I’m absolutely ready to go. I went through the fitness test as well and the body is feeling fine. I’m actually very excited to get back onto the field, which is a very rare feeling when you play so much cricket. But in hindsight, these breaks really help. It freshens you up and gets you pumped to get back out there again,” Kohli said at a press conference in New Delhi.
The India batting sensation has struggled in English conditions in the past where he averages a dismal 13.40 in five Tests. In order to better acclimatise himself to the conditions, the India skipper had lined up a maiden county stint with Surrey in the month of June. However, the neck injury meant that Kohli begins the tour without a county stint under his belt. The 29-year-old though stated that the break can be a blessing in disguise.
“In hindsight when I look at it, I think what has happened was in my best interest. Yes, I wanted to go and experience the conditions in England; that’s a place we haven’t played to our potential. It’s been four years since we last went there and one tends to forget how the scenario is like there. I wanted to witness the difficult phase of those conditions, like which (Cheteshwar) Pujara and Ishant (Sharma) played in,” Kohli stated.
“But if I was 90 per cent with my body and used to the conditions as compared to being 110 now and going in fresh, I would much rather be in this position. More than anything, you need to be fresh and attain 100 per cent fitness before a long tour such as this,” he added.
India’s batsmen will be thoroughly tested by England pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the five-match Test series but Kohli believes playing the limited-overs clashes before the five-day games will hold India in good stead.
“The swinging ball has the tendency to trouble the best of batsmen. But then that helps our fast bowlers as well. As a batting unit, it will be a challenge to square off against the swinging ball, but by the time the Test series arrive we won’t feel like we are playing an away series because by then, we would have already played plenty of limited-overs cricket already,” he explained.
“As a captain of the team, I would like to put in performances myself. I think a lot of people have been thinking about the 2014 tour for too long now. We played the Champions Trophy in England last year, not in Bangladesh. And after what happened during the Tests in South Africa, we are looking to play difficult cricket because that is the only way we can improve.”