Former India captain and president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, Sourav Ganguly, has been asked to prepare a white paper on Test cricket; and one of the recommendations in it would be a manifold increase in emoluments for the senior team members. Reliable sources, who spoke in confidence to Sportstar, said players and managers initially used a handful of BCCI officials as sounding boards before conveying to the president (even when Shashank Manohar was at the helm) the need to review the emoluments of the national team players. This is because there is a big disparity in salaries between some Test cricketers, who do not feature in the IPL, and the uncapped/other players, who make the big bucks by playing IPL alone.
One instance is that of the Delhi left-arm spinner, Pawan Negi, who was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs.8.5 crore at the auction. He has neither played a Test match nor an ODI — he’s played just one T20 match.
The case of Cheteshwar Pujara was pointed out as an example at the BCCI Working Committee meeting last Sunday. Pujara did not figure in the ongoing IPL. The Saurashtra middle-order batsman is considered a Test specialist and receives Rs. 7 lakh per Test match. Pujara also receives Rs. 50 lakh annually as a contracted player in Group ‘B’ category. This is in contrast to a few Group ‘A’ players who receive Rs. 1 crore. The Group ‘C’ contracted players receive Rs. 25 lakh. The fee for an ODI is Rs. 4 lakh and slightly less for a T20 international.
At the Working Committee meeting, the newly-elected president, Anurag Thakur, raised the issue of Test match emoluments and after a discussion among the members, Ganguly, who is the chairman of the BCCI’s Technical Committee, was asked to look into the issue. A West Zone member said that Ganguly talked of "Meeting of the minds” to take cricket to the next level.
In his short interaction with the media, Ganguly said that Test cricket is the ultimate test for any cricketer — a view that was reiterated by Thakur in his first press conference. “The England players receive big money to play for their country and so is the case with most countries. What motivation will Pujara have in the circumstances? Those who play for the country should get many times more than what they get now,” said an official privy to the discussions at BCCI meetings.
India is scheduled to play 18 Test matches, from July to March, and there is every possibility of Ganguly presenting the white paper before the Indian team embarks on the tour of the West Indies where it will play four Test matches.