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Azharuddin part of BCCI's working group to oversee 2021-22 domestic season

Formulating a compensation plan for domestic players the top priority

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Mohammad Azharuddin after a court lifted his life ban, Delhi, November 8, 2012

Mohammad Azharuddin and co. will also be responsible for feasibility of bio-bubbles across the country for the conduct of the domestic season  •  Associated Press

Mohammad Azharuddin, the former India captain, and Jaydev Shah, former Saurashtra captain and current president of the SCA (Saurashtra Cricket Association), are part of a seven-member working group formed by the BCCI to oversee the conduct of the upcoming 2021-22 domestic season.
The other members include Rohan Jaitley, (DDCA president), Yudhvir Singh (UPCA secretary), Devajit Saikia (ACA secretary) Avishek Dalmiya (CAB secretary) and Santosh Menon (KSCA secretary). The working group's immediate task is to formalise a compensation package for BCCI's domestic players for the pandemic-induced, truncated 2020-21 domestic season.
India's rising Covid-19 cases and a small available window made even smaller by the staging of IPL 2020 in the UAE between September and November meant the BCCI couldn't conduct their premier men's domestic tournament, the Ranji Trophy, last year. In the women's circuit, the domestic T20 competition was called off, while none of the age-group tournaments were possible.
The absence of the Ranji Trophy, the biggest source of income for domestic male cricketers in India, led to a significant decrease in player earnings, leaving many layers without government jobs looking for opportunities elsewhere. A domestic male player on an average takes home INR 12-14 lakh per season. This amount decreased to INR 3-4 lakhs for the 2020-21 season.
Earlier this month, the BCCI announced a full domestic season beginning September with the women's one-day tournament. As many as 2127 matches - men's, women's and age-group - are slated to be conducted across the country. The men's season is set to kick off with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, which will begin five days after the IPL final in the UAE, on October 20. The Ranji Trophy has been slotted into a three-month window, from November 16, 2021 to February 19, 2022.
The seven-member committee will also be responsible for feasibility of bio-bubbles across the country for the conduct of the domestic season, apart from finalising venues and logistics. Board president Sourav Ganguly has already underlined the importance of creating bio-bubbles for the season.
"We will create bio-bubbles," he told reporters last week. "We created bubbles for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy last time. We will have to do the same. Without the bubble, cricket cannot happen even for this season."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo