The Board of Control for Cricket in India has bowled a googly in the New Year by making public the earnings of its top cricketers and those who earn big moolah in the high profile Indian Premier League.
For a long time, there has been intense speculation over what the big names earn in the most lucrative cricketing league in the world. None minded their earnings but it was quite common for cricket fans and the media to speculate what marquee cricketers were actually raking in.
There was a belief that players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Chris Gayle were actually getting a few crores more than what was in the tripartite agreement between the stakeholders.
One is not sure why the BCCI made these details public a few days before former chief justice RM Lodha is set to present to the Supreme Court a "reforms report" on Indian cricket.
To be sure, news of Virat Kohli getting a salary of Rs 15 crore from Royal Challengers Bangalore, which is Rs 2.5 crore more than what Dhoni was getting from Chennai Super Kings does make news. Dhoni will get the same purse from his new Pune franchise, which, in a way, ends the speculation on CSK having paid him more in the last eight years.
There is an interesting bit of information on the BCCI website where Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir is said to be getting Rs 10 crore and not Rs 12.5 crore as mentioned in his "purse deduction".
Other big earners from India are Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Among overseas stars, Gayle gets more than what is mentioned in "purse deduction" than what was mutually agreed upon by his team RCB.
The transparency which the BCCI is showing since the time the change at the helm is good. If one goes through the data on the website, it mentions payments for first-class cricketers at Rs 20,000 per day.
It means for a four-day match, a cricketer earns Rs 80,000. Even if one plays the whole first-class season and compares it what the IPL pays for a window of less than two months, there is a big difference. And that could well explain the reason for Indian cricketers clamouring to get on to the IPL bandwagon, knowing very well that it is at the expense of their technique. Possibly, they are not so keen on representing India as well.
The club-versus-country debate has raged for a long time, but ultimately the players have a right to earn money as professionals.
What is important is that young Indian cricketers (under-19) do not get trapped by the lure of the lucre and focus on sharpening their skills by playing all formats of cricket.
After all, a player like Ajinkya Rahane has come through this grind and has become such a huge asset for Indian cricket.
It would be interesting to see if this transparency which the BCCI is now showing can be enlarged. For example, it is well known that the board spent a lot of money on a battery of lawyers and probing the sleaze in the IPL.
From a public point of view, it will be of interest to know how much the Board incurred on legal expenses.
There are some who say the BCCI balance sheet reflects this on the expenditure side, but the best people who can give the details are the board officials.
Then again, it would be fair to expect the BCCI to make public how much it spends on its various office-bearers for meetings round the year. The common man knows about a working committee meeting or a selection committee meeting, but crores of rupees are spent on officials travel, five-star accommodation and allowances on a regular basis.
Once this is made public, we will know the real intention of those "serving" Indian cricket.
In fact, the BCCI should also ensure the state cricket associations make public what grants they receive from the apex body and how this money is utilised.
With the DDCA in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last one month, it would be interesting to know where the crores received from the board went.
News of Delhi cricketers and umpires not being paid is well known but more important is the utilisation of funds. Good cricket associations spend money on the venue, development of cricket and procuring equipment like super soppers.
Indeed, the BCCI would be doing a great deal of service to cricket by asking state associations to adopt more transparency so that people view the sport and the way it is run with more clarity.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)