Mumbai Cricket Association proposes senior men’s and women’s team retention contracts

Domestic contracts, one of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s first promises upon the takeover in November 2019, could soon become a reality for at least Mumbai’s cricketers.

A proposal by Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) President Vijay Patil, in response to Mumbai’s outstanding performance in the 2021-22 domestic season, was approved in principle at the association’s top council meeting earlier this week. This will have to be ratified at the AGM, which is likely to be held in August.

“Mumbai has performed extremely well this year and there has always been a question of providing security for our domestic players and ensuring we maintain the talent pool we have in cricket in Mumbai,” Patil told ESPNcricinfo. “I think the graduation contracts give us the opportunity to invest in our young talent. I am very pleased that the apex council has unanimously approved this.”

Retainers for senior men’s and women’s teams have been proposed, similar to BCCI’s grading system for its national players. The number of contracts up for grabs has yet to be determined. However, it is likely that those who have a central BCCI contract could be excluded from the list, as the aim is to bring as many players as possible under the umbrella.

MCA’s Cricket Improvement Committee, made up of former players Jatin Paranjape, Nilesh Kulkarni and Vinod Kambli, is likely to work out the technical details. The aim is therefore to finalize the contracts for the start of the 2022-2023 season in September.

“Once we have the ground rules in place, we’re good to go,” Patil said. “I know there will be issues and that will take some time. I think it’s important that we roll it out and then it can be refined as we go along.

“Nothing is more perfect than a perfect system, but we have to get started. Once that’s started, I think everything else will fall into place. This is the association’s commitment to the players. Given the achievements of our different teams are different age groups, everyone thought this should be done. I’m glad this proposal has been approved and I’m looking forward to it.”

Talks over player contracts have been gaining momentum since hundreds of domestic cricketers across the country were stripped of their earnings during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the BCCI shortening its domestic season. In fact, in 2020-21, it was the first time that the Ranji trophy had to be suspended due to the pandemic situation in the country.

The players have welcomed the news, even if there is some concern about how and when it would eventually come to fruition.

Last September, the BCCI increased match fees for domestic cricketers, with the senior men earning between INR 40,000 and 60,000 a day, while senior women took home up to INR 20,000 a day. But the spin-off effect was barely felt as the BCCI’s domestic season was shortened in 2021-22.

For example, the Ranji Trophy was shrunk to just three league games followed by the knockouts. The players hope that the board will return to its original format, which would guarantee a team at least eight or nine group matches. This would then significantly help to increase revenue.

INR 1 crore prize money for Ranji Trophy runners-up
Even when Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) announced an INR 2 crore reward in addition to the INR 2 crore allocated by the BCCI to the first winner MP, the MCA has announced a prize pool of INR 1 crore for the team that finished as runners -up at the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy under Prithvi Shaw captaincy. The MCA also matched the prize money announced by the BCCI for the age group teams.

Mumbai has had an excellent domestic season. The senior team reached the Ranji final after six years, the Under-25s were crowned champions of the CK Nayudu Trophy and the Under-19s finished second in the Cooch Behar Trophy.

The MCA also awarded retired umpires a one-time payment of INR 50,000, while also announcing a prize pool of INR 25 lakh for the ground staff for their work during the IPL, which was held at three locations in the city.

In May, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah had announced a reward of INR 1.25 crores combined for the ground staff and trustees of six sites – including two practice facilities – for IPL 2022.

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