The BCCI's apex council has said it will form a committee to formulate a plan to compensate "at the earliest" India's senior male domestic players for the 2020-21 season, which was heavily truncated because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Domestic cricketers across the 38 BCCI-affiliated state associations have suffered a substantial loss of income because of the pandemic. On an average, a domestic male cricketer who features in every game for his state across formats earns approximately INR 15-16 lakh a season. That has dipped to around INR 3-4 lakh in 2020-21, since the BCCI could organise only the national T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy - among the many men's tournaments - in a small timeframe. For the women, only the 50-over competition was held.
The situation has been particularly bad for players without IPL contracts and/or sports-quota government jobs. Several such players have attempted to land club cricket contracts in the UK for contracts ranging around £4000-5000 for five months to "have some sort of a guaranteed income", as a player told ESPNcricinfo.
The task in front of the yet-to-be-formed committee is a big one, considering there are around 750-800 players who participate in a single domestic season in India.
The announcement could be seen as the first major step towards ensuring that a payment plan is in place in the absence of any form of long-form cricket in the country since March 2020.
"My biggest priority will be to look after first-class cricketers," Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, had said when he took charge in late 2019. "I have been requesting that to the CoA [the Committee of Administrators, appointed by the Supreme Court of India] for three years. That's the first thing I will do, look after the financial health of our first-class cricketers."
Nearly 18 months on, no state association has implemented player contracts for domestic cricketers, even though Punjab and Uttarakhand had announced plans to put in a system that would take care of their players.
Separately, the BCCI has pledged INR 10 crore to the Indian Olympic Association to help "support Indian athletes in every form and manner" possible as they prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo