New Delhi : Time away from national team has given Harbhajan Singh a fresh perspective about the condition of an average domestic cricketer, prompting him to request chief national coach Anil Kumble to raise the issue of their match fees with the COA.
Kumble is set to give a presentation to the Committee of Administrators (COA) on May 21 about the revised pay structure of the contracted Indian cricketers with an eye on substantial hike on current central contract. The grades are Rs 2 crore, Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh.
While the elite Indian cricketers are a sorted lot along with a handful of first-class players, who have IPL contracts, an average domestic cricketer still gets a match fee of Rs 1.5 lakh (first XI player) for a first-class game (Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy) compared to the Rs 15 lakh for a Test match.
One of India’s finest spinners, Harbhajan has recently written to Kumble about the financial insecurities of domestic cricketers.
The letter, accessed by PTI, has Harbhajan making an emotional plea to Kumble.
“I request you to please take this up with the top brass of BCCI and players like Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Viru to ensure that a change is brought about in the pay structure, in the amounts they get paid,” Harbhajan wrote.
Harbhajan finds it difficult to digest that the Ranji pay structure has not undergone revision for a long time.
India’s third highest wicket-taker in Tests felt that an average domestic cricketer can’t plan his life and investments.
“The guys can’t even plan their future because they don’t know whether they would earn Rs 1 lakh or Rs 10 lakh in that year and it leads to huge issues in their lives and families and (affects) state of mind. Anyway, let’s try and gently make a change for our brothers,” he concluded the letter.
When asked about the letter, Harbhajan told PTI: “If I wouldn’t have played domestic cricket during last four-five years, I wouldn’t have known what an average domestic cricketer goes through. Not everyone has a job. By God’s grace, if they get an IPL contract their lives improve.”
Harbhajan pointed that only a few domestic players get IPL contracts.