'Two crore is peanuts'; Shastri calls for steep pay hike for cricketers

Last month the BCCI doubled the retainers for all contracted players to two crore, one crore and 50 lakh respectively for A, B, and C graded categories.

“It’s (what they are getting) nothing, (Rs) 2 crore is peanuts. How much is an Australian (cricketer) getting?” said Ravi Shastri of the revised pay structure.   -  K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Former team director of the Indian team, Ravi Shastri, made a strong case for India's Test players in Grade A to be paid the highest retainer fee.

Shastri, who was declared as mentor and advisor for Greycells Education, said, "Rs. 2 crore is nothing... it’s peanuts. The Grade A Central Contract of a Test player should be the highest. It has to be massive."

"I know it has been doubled (Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore). Pujara should get the highest... on par with the top players in the world. Then he will not be bothered if he’s playing the IPL or not. He will be happy to play two months of County cricket. We played six months of County cricket."

Cricket Australia has 20 players on the Central Contracts list and captain Steve Smith receives Australian $1.12 million (Rs. 5.53 crore) and the other 19 get $900,000 (Rs. 4.45 crore). They also receive $14,000 for a Test match, $ 7000 for an ODI and $5000 for a Twenty20 match.

The Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) have already received a central contracts proposal from head coach Anil Kumble. The CoA is likely to discuss the matter with Kumble.

Here's an excerpt of Shastri discussing many aspects of IPL with the media:

IPL10: I thought it was the biggest last year, and I won’t be surprised if No. 10 isn’t the biggest. The way India has played the last season will be a big boost to the IPL. Being the No. 1 Test team in the world and No. 2 in Twenty20 makes a big difference.

IPL being a gateway for Indian cricketers: You need India to be a very strong team. One should not forget that a lot of players have come through the IPL. They have got the opportunity, a platform in the form of the IPL where they have honed their skills and showcased their talent. People want to criticise it (IPL) across the globe, and hence I would like to tell them (Indian players) to focus on the cricket aspect of it. The quality of cricket is outstanding...fielding, running between the wickets, power hitting. The emphasis is on the bucks... the bucks will be there, and who's paying the bucks... the market forces. End of the day it's the quality of cricket and the franchise.

New things he expects to happen in IPL:
The IPL is a big, massive stage and you don’t know what these guys are practising. The new talent would take all of us by storm. Suddenly they may become India material in a year’s time. (Ravindra) Jadeja did well in the IPL to come back into the focus when he was not doing well.

IPL being an integral part of BCCI structure: The IPL is a big feature of BCCI’s programmes. India should have two corridors for that, why one? It should be four months or six months. The IPL is part of the domestic structure. There is the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy and for the Twenty20 format, it’s the IPL. If the BCCI wants to cut down on tournaments, there is the opportunity (to remove the Mushtaq Ali Trophy). Or let the Mushtaq Ali stay there as long as it's not much. Seven Indians play in each of the IPL matches, so, 56 players get a chance (in each of the 14 league matches). When you do that, playing with four overseas players, the complex disappears. The IPL is firmly and squarely part of the domestic structure.

Injuries to many Indian players: I am not surprised by the injuries, we are human beings. It’s not like putting 97octane fuel to run vehicles.

Cricket South Africa and ECB set to start Twenty20: Twenty20 is the future. If you want Test cricket to survive, you need one cash cow. I have always maintained that. There will be very little 50 over cricket five years down the line. There are too many ICC events. Which sport has so many world championships ? There is the ICC Champions Trophy. World Cup and Twenty20 World Cup. Just have the World Cup and Twenty20 and Test cricket. What else do you need? Why does one need the Champions Trophy?

Players getting carried away by IPL money: I will tell a player, should he get carried away, that the bottom line is that he’s getting the money only because of his game. If you mess around with your game, the money is not going to come to you and they would drop you like hot potatoes. You have to be smart; it (money) should inspire you to do even better.