Almost two years after Sourav Ganguly had announced that the financial health of domestic cricketers would be his "biggest priority" as BCCI president, the board on Monday announced sizeable hikes in match fees for men and women at the end of its apex council meeting. The new pay slabs, which will be in place 2021-22 onwards, will have the senior men earning between INR 40,000 and 60,000 [USD 540 to 810 approx] per day while senior women will earn up to INR 20,000 [USD 270 approx.] per day.

In another major update, the BCCI has also decided to allot 50% match fees "as compensation" for the Covid-19-affected 2019-20 season where the board could organise just the Syed Mushtaq Ali (T20) Trophy and the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy for the senior men.

That hike is a small one for the players in the first category (under 20 matches), but an almost 100% hike for more experienced hands (40-plus games), while those who have played between 21 and 40 matches will earn INR 50,000 [USD 680 approx.]. Earlier, senior men's cricketers earned INR 35,000 [USD 470 approx.] per day for first-class and one-day games, and INR 17,500 [USD 240 approx.] per game for T20s.

The new pay slabs will apply to both first-class and limited-overs cricket.

For the senior women, who earlier earned INR 12,500 [USD 170 approx.] per one-day match and INR 6250 [USD 85 approx.] per T20 match - there isn't, currently, a first-class competition for women in India - the pay has been raised to INR 20,000 for playing XI members and INR 10,000 [USD 135 approx.] for those on the bench.

There were upgrades for the age-group cricketers, both male and female, too.

Men's Under-23 players will now earn INR 25,000 [USD 340 approx.] per day (earlier INR 17,500) if they are in the playing XIs, and INR 12,500 (earlier INR 8750) if in the reserves, while Under-19s in the playing XIs will get INR 20,000 (earlier INR 10,500) and INR 10,000 (earlier INR 5250) will go to reserve players. For the Under-16s, the corresponding amounts are INR 7000 (earlier INR 3500) and INR 3500 (INR 1750).

For women, the daily fees for Under-23s, Under-19s and Under-16s have been raised from INR 5500 to INR 10,000 for those in the playing XIs and from INR 2750 to INR 5000 for those in the reserves.

Till 2017-18, domestic players were paid in two instalments: a flat match fee and a bonus calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the BCCI's gross revenue share (GRS) - its non-IPL earnings from media rights, team sponsorship rights, apparel sponsorship rights, series sponsorship rights, etc. This would be paid the following year after the accounts were ratified at the annual general meetings.

Since 2018, though, the GRS component has been added to the match fees, leading to a near 200% hike for players. However, in the absence of AGMs in the past two years, the GRS component has not been ratified by the BCCI, which had left domestic players disgruntled. The pandemic then made things worse.

But a few months ago, the BCCI formed a sub-committee to work out a new payment structure, including ways to compensate players who had taken a hit financially during the pandemic since March 2020.