Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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India's centrally-contracted women cricketers are set to earn the same match fees as their male counterparts for appearances in international matches, according to BCCI secretary Jay Shah, in accordance with the board's new pay equity policy.
Under this policy, the women - like the men - will earn INR 15 lakh for a Test, 6 lakh for an ODI and 3 lakh for a T20I. These amounts are significantly higher than the flat INR 1 lakh that India women players currently earn for an ODI or T20I appearance, and 2.5 lakh for a Test match.
While describing the move as "the first step towards tackling discrimination", Shah thanked the BCCI's Apex Council for its support in implementing the move, which he said was a "commitment to our women cricketers."
As things stand, there are no changes to the BCCI's annual retainers for women players. Currently, those in the highest retainer bracket take home INR 50 lakh, while Grade B and Grade C are valued at INR 30 lakh and INR 10 lakh respectively. In comparison, the male cricketers are divided into four categories with Grade A+ players taking home INR 7 crore, and those in Grades A, B and C collecting INR 5 crore, 3 crore and 1 crore respectively.
ESPNcricinfo understands the BCCI has been engaging with the country's top women cricketers to work out changes to the annual retainers. Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain, is believed to have attended a meeting held at the board's Mumbai headquarters.
Contracts and match fees aside, the inaugural women's IPL, which the BCCI formally announced at the Annual General Meeting earlier this month, is also understood to have been on the agenda with the board putting together a process for TV rights and franchise ownership. There are also discussions ongoing over whether the league will follow a draft process or an auction for the players.
India women have had significant success in recent months. They followed their silver-medal finish at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in August with a record 3-0 ODI series sweep of England in England in September. Earlier this month, India beat Sri Lanka to clinch a record seventh Asia Cup crown in Bangladesh. They are set to host Australia next for five T20Is in November and December.