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BCCI affirms pay parity for India Women cricketers’ match fees; Big gap still in contract payouts

BCCI secretary Jay Shah announce pay parity for India Women cricketers' match fees across the formats; No change in BCCI’s annual retainers.

BCCI announce equal match fees for Women Cricketers as their male counterparts _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
BCCI announce equal pay for Women Cricketers as their male counterparts (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah on Thursday announced that India’s centrally-contracted women cricketers are set to receive the same match fees as their male counterparts for their appearances in international matches across formats.

The India Women team has scaled varied milestones in the last quite a few years in both T20Is and ODIs; they played the final of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 against Australia, before participating in the final of the Commonwealth Games Women’s Cricket Completion 2022 (CWG) against the same opponents. They also clinched their seventh Asia Cup title beating Sri Lanka comfortably in the final in its 2022 edition.

Big gap still present in Annual Retainers

On the flipside of the coin, there is no change in BCCI’s annual retainers for the women players. Currently, those in the highest retainer grade (Grade A) take INR 50 lakh, while Grade B and Grade C are paid INR 30 lakh and INR 10 lakh, respectively.

In comparison the male cricketers’ earnings fly sky high. The centrally contracted male cricketers are slotted in four grades - Grade A+ players bag INR 7 crore, while Grade A, B and C pocket INR 5 crore, 3 crore and 1 crore, respectively.

This is a historic decision for women’s cricket in India: Mithali Raj

BCCI secretary Jay Shah has described the move towards pay parity for match fees as ‘the first step towards tackling discrimination’ as they look forward to give full support to all women cricketers in India.

“It was my commitment to our women cricketers and pay equity is an important step towards tackling discrimination,” Shah stated in a press release. “This is a landmark decision as we enter a new era in Indian cricket; I would like to thank my colleagues in the BCCI Apex Council.”

Under this new policy now, like the men, the women will earn INR 15 lakh for a Test match, INR 6 lakh for a One Day International (ODI) game and INR 3 lakh for a T20I. These amounts are significantly higher than their previous earnings where women cricketers used to be paid INR 2.5 lakh for a Test and INR 1 lakh for ODI and T20I appearances.

“This is a historical decision for women’s cricket in India!” former India Women captain Mithali Raj tweeted. “The pay equity policy along with the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) next year, we are ushering into a new era for women’s cricket in India.”

“Truly a red-letter day for women’s cricket in India with pay parity announced for women and men,” current India Women captain Harmanpreet Kaur thanked the BCCI.

Sachin Tendulkar too expressed happiness towards this decision to promote gender equality in the game.

India tread the New Zealand path

In the middle of this year, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the players’ association signed a five-year deal that saw male and female cricketers receiving equal pay. The agreement confirmed that women players at both the international and domestic circuit would receive the same match fees as the men across all formats and competitions.

Watching these two boards, the other boards too are expected to walk on the same track to provide quality facilities to women for the same amount of work accomplished with the same intensity in their training.

This is a huge decision for India which will push many girls from all the corners of the country to select the game of cricket as their profession. The sports ecosystem will be developed in a much more holistic way as India will make huge strides in guaranteeing professional success for hard-working cricketers. This will also help to stabilise the future of Indian cricket along with the introduction of Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) in 2023.

AT MCG, 86,174 people showed up to watch Australia vs India in the final of the Women's T20 World Cup 2021 (Source: ©Getty Images)
AT MCG, 86,174 people showed up to watch Australia vs India (Source: ©Getty Images)

Voice of fans could be a probable reason behind this decision

The way fans enjoy and follow women’s cricket in India of late has been second to none. When the final of the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup was held between India and hosts Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), 86,174 fans turned up to enjoy the game. With the steady rise of women T20 cricket, fans have started to engage themselves with the game much more now.

Also keeping contracts and match fees besides, the BCCI is also trying its best to put together a process for the TV rights and franchise ownership arrangements for the inaugural edition of WIPL. The decision will be taken later whether there will be auction for the players or a draft process will be set in motion.

India are set to host Australia next for a five-match T20I series in November-December 2022.

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