India's umpires to receive higher match fees than domestic players

The BCCI logo on the Indians' kit Cricket Australia

The top 20 umpires in India will earn more money for a day's work than domestic cricketers according to a revised pay structure that was approved by the BCCI's Committee of Administrators in April. The board's cricket operations manager Saba Karim had recommended that their per-day match fees be increased from INR 20,000 to INR 40,000 for all matches apart from T20s. A domestic player receives INR 35,000 per day but, unlike match officials, they are also awarded a share of the BCCI's profits.

A few months ago the BCCI had revised the match fee for the domestic players. Previously they received INR 10,000 per day but the CoA approved a hike to INR 35,000 per day.

The money paid to domestic players is in the form of two components: the match fee and a percentage of gross revenue from the media rights income the BCCI earns annually from the home season. The match fee is not standard and depends on the media rights income. The BCCI allots 13% of the media rights income to domestic players and junior cricketers. Domestic players get 10.40% and the rest goes to the junior cricketers.

A senior BCCI official indicated that the domestic players stand to earn more overall than match officials considering they also get a component of the gross revenue. "Last year (2016-17) the BCCI had allocated close to INR 120 crore from the gross revenue to all Indian players - both international and domestic - in all categories," the official said. "Now this year (2017-18) if the gross revenue goes up their match fee will once again grow and that would easily work out to more than INR 35,000 per day."

The pay structure for India's selectors, however remains the same. "It was discussed," a CoA paper said, "that increasing the remuneration for those who are sitting at home and not rendering any services on account of the directions issued by the Hon'ble Justice Lodha Committee in January 2017 is not appropriate. It was suggested that remuneration of at least those selectors who are continuing to render services may be increased and made effective from 1st October 2017."

Justice Lodha had suggested the panel be trimmed to three members who have had experience of playing Test cricket. Accordingly, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda were removed, leaving only MSK Prasad, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh.

Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah was taken aback by these developments. "Though it is welcomed to have raised in in match fees of umpires and other match officials, it is indeed shocking and surprising that recommended match fees of umpires would be higher than domestic senior player, which has been INR 35,000 per day. I fail to understand that how can match fee of umpires be more than players?"

In 2017-18, the top 20 umpires were active in a total of 281 matches involving the senior men's teams while the remaining 85 officiated in 809 games including women's and men's junior tournaments.

There was good news for State Associations with the BCCI reintroducing a prize for the best pitches in Ranji Trophy cricket. They had shelved this scheme in 2016-17, since the matches were played in neutral venues, but with the home-and-away system back in action in 2017-18, the CoA approved payment of INR 10 lakh to five venues: Punjab (North Zone) Karnataka (South Zone), Bengal (East Zone), Mumbai (West Zone) and Chhattisgarh (Central Zone). Additionally, the salaries of the five zonal curators will be doubled from INR 6 lakh per year to INR 12 lakh. Assistant curators received the same treatment, their pay increasing from INR 4.2 lakh to INR 8.4 lakh.