BCCI Conclave: Domestic coaches demand pay parity

At least four coaches from multiple zones raised the need to create a minimum annual pay for coaches of domestic teams.

All the associations supported the reversal to the home and away format and addition of neutral curators for Ranji Trophy.   -  R.V. Moorthy

While a wide range of issues related to domestic cricket were discussed during the BCCI's annual domestic captains and coaches conclave on Monday, it also saw a few interesting suggestions. The one that made heads turn was the one about advising State associations to set minimum wages for coaches of domestic teams.

Sportstar understands that at least four coaches from multiple zones raised the need to create a minimum annual pay for coaches of domestic teams. The BCCI biggies were not too responsive since the coaches are employed by the State associations, but the coaches made their case vociferously.

So varied are the domestic coaches' fees in Indian cricket that senior team coaches are paid anywhere between Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh per annum. The coaches pointed out that while those experts who enter into a professional contract by moving out of their respective State associations are paid well, the local coaches are underpaid most of the times.

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“When players, umpires, match referees and scorers are paid directly by the Board, why not set the basic standard for coaches? After all, coaches and other support staff are also indirectly paid by the Board since the State associations utilise the annual subsidy distributed by the Board,” said a coach supporting the demand, preferring anonymity.

Ranji format a big concern

While virtually all the associations who attended the meeting – barring Delhi, who went unrepresented for the second year in succession – supported the reversal to the home and away format and addition of neutral curators, the number of Ranji Trophy groups was a big point of discussion.

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Many teams voiced that the new policy of dividing the 28 teams into four groups of seven teams each didn't work on many counts: lesser number of matches per team on a top of a high possibility of at least one washed out game – which tends to happen in a few parts of India irrespective of the schedule – means a team's chances of advancing to the knockouts are severely dented.

A few captains and coaches demanded that the BCCI either returns to the three-group league stage or increases the number of qualifications to three or four, thus making it either a 12- or a 16-team knockout stage.

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The Board officials then pointed out that with the sword of Supreme Court-directed reforms lingering over the BCCI, the total number of teams for the next season is still undecided. So far, the apex court has directed Bihar's return to the first-class fold and at least a couple of north-eastern teams are likely to be inducted in the domestic circuit, so the issue was left unresloved.

Manage fast bowlers better, says Prasad

Chief national selector M.S.K. Prasad, who was a special invitee for the meeting, hoped that the workload management model of fast bowlers effectively adopted by the Indian team management in consultation with the selectors should be adopted by the State teams. However, multiple captains and coaches who attended the meeting confided later that the suggestion seemed “impractical” since it would dent a team's chances of winning the premier tournaments.
 

OTHER MAJOR TALKING POINTS

  • Quality of balls: Virtually all the teams opposed the use of SG Glace for white-ball tournaments, demanding Kookaburra to be used instead. However, Saba Karim, BCCI's general manager – cricket operations, cited data and stressed on the need to persist with SG white balls for another season.

  • Inconsistent umpiring: Quality of umpiring – or lack of it, for that matter – has been a big bane to Indian cricket for a long time now. And a majority of teams stressed that the umpiring standards are below-par and inconsistent. The BCCI assured it will take tough measures to improve the scenario.
  • Scheduling one-day games: Most teams opposed staging of six one-day games in eight days in the league stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The BCCI stated it will try and work out a slightly relaxed schedule the next season.

 

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