Rahul Dravid delivers as coach but BCCI’s largesse raises queries

BCCI’s disproportionate financial rewards announced after the U-19 team victory is bound to raise eyebrows.

Ever the team man, Rahul Dravid credited the support staff for the junior team's success.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Ever since he took over as the India Under-19 team coach in 2015, Rahul Dravid – just like during his playing days – preferred to be in the background. It was evident when the former India captain tried to be away from the limelight as his wards celebrated India's Under-19 World Cup win at the Bay Oval in New Zealand on Saturday.

Ever the team man, Dravid credited the support staff for the junior team's success. “We have had a few injuries,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “The way they've managed these injuries and handled players has been thoroughly professional. These Under-19 boys got the best professional help from the current team of physios and trainers here and at the NCA.”

Being lauded by a legendary cricketer is a huge complement for each member of the support staff. While a modest Dravid believes in team work, when it comes to acknowledging their efforts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seems to have adopted different yardsticks.

Read - Prithvi Shaw: 'Going back with great memories'

Minutes after Prithvi Shaw lifted the glittering trophy, the BCCI announced the financial rewards and it was mentioned: “Mr Rahul Dravid, Head Coach India U19 – INR 50 lakh; Members of India U19 team – INR 30 lakh each; Members of the Support Staff, India U19 – INR 20 lakh each.”

Special treatment?

The statement is bound to raise eyebrows since rewards for players should usually to be higher than that for the backroom staff. It is remarkable that Dravid has chosen to shape young players rather than seek the comfort of the commentary box but does that mean he should be treated differently?

In the past, the BCCI has put the players ahead. In 2012, after Unmukt Chand-led India emerged triumphant in the Under-19 World Cup, each player received Rs. 20 lakh while every support staff member, including head coach B. Arun, was awarded Rs. 15 lakh each. In 2011, when M. S. Dhoni’s men seized the World Cup, the BCCI announced a prize of Rs. 1 crore each – later revised to Rs. 2 crore – to all the players while members of the support staff got richer by Rs. 50 lakh each.

So what may have been the reasons behind treating Dravid differently? Does his contract with the BCCI specify a higher performance incentive? Or is the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) starting a new trend of coaches getting more preference? Or is the BCCI being star-struck?

When Sportstar reached out to C. K. Khanna, the BCCI acting secretary, he put the onus on CoA and said: “It is a CoA decision, so I cannot comment.”

Meanwhile, CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Eulji and the BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri were incommunicado.