J&K coaching staff await payment for 2019-20 domestic season

The players received their payments late last year. The coaching staff - including the head coach, mentor, physio, trainers, video analysts - are still awaiting their season payments.

Irfan Pathan during a J&K Ranji Trophy match in February 2020.   -  FILE PHOTO/R.V. MOORTHY

It has been almost a year-and-a-half since the Jammu and Kashmir team played the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals against Karnataka in February 2020. But the coaches and the support staff are yet to receive their payments for the 2019-20 season.

The players received their payments late last year. The coaching staff - including the head coach, mentor, physio, trainers, video analysts - are still awaiting their season payments.

Many in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) feel the delay could be from the state unit. The coaches, however, claim that they have heard nothing from either the state unit or the Board, despite several emails and letters.

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Ashiq Ali Bukhari, who was the CEO of the JKCA until recently, told Sportstar that the association had sent the invoices to the BCCI soon after the quarterfinal. There was no response. "We had written emails to the Board seeking clarity, but we heard nothing. In March last year, the country went into a lockdown. And with the COVID pandemic, things have only got delayed," Bukhari claimed.

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In the 2019-20 season, the Jammu and Kashmir team was coached by Milap Mewada, while former India international Irfan Pathan was the mentor. Former India strength and conditioning coach Sudarshan V.P. was the fitness trainer. A few local former cricketers were appointed as video analysts, physio and other support staff.

But ahead of the curtailed 2020-21 season, most of the contracts were not renewed. The state unit hired local coaches for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. While Pathan was not available for comment, multiple people confirmed to this publication that the coaching staff and the selectors did not receive anything for the 2019-20 season except the daily allowances. The accumulative due is Rs 1.5 crore approximately.

BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal indicated that the process could take time as it concerns the state unit. This publication understands that the Board will verify the details and see the terms and conditions of the agreement between the coaching staff and the state unit before taking a call on disbursement.

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As per the protocol, the state units need to raise the invoices after the season. The BCCI then processes the payment post verification.

In March, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed the BCCI to look into the cricketing affairs of the JKCA. During its apex council meeting in April, the Board set up a committee - spearheaded by Rajeev Shukla and Dhumal - to start the operations.

The JKCA was previously run by a committee under administrator Justice (retd) CK Prasad, with Bukhari acting as the CEO.  In the 2018-19 season, when Pathan joined as player-mentor, 50 per cent of the support staff salaries was paid by the Board mid-season. The remaining amount was cleared at the end of the season.

But there has been no communication this time around. "Even if there are legal or other issues, the state unit and the BCCI should ensure that the coaching staff is communicated better. There has to be clarity," a former office-bearer, aware of the development, said.

Last week, UK’s The Telegraph reported that members of the Indian women's cricket team had not received their prize money for the T20 World Cup last year, following which the Board asked the players to raise an invoice.

Several players from various state units are yet to hear from the Board about the compensation package – proposed by the BCCI during its Annual General Meeting in Ahmedabad last year –  for the curtailed 2020-21 season. It could be addressed in the Special General Meeting on Saturday.

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