Merit must always be the criteria for when it comes to pay-structures in sport or business. But the cricketing authorities in India think otherwise.
The new pay structure unveiled by them a few days ago, has this strange list called A+. They have come up with a clever plan to reward players who play all three formats and do well in them.
Virat Kohli deserves it. He is the best player in the world and all the riches should be laid at his feet. But are Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the other elite players deserve a salary of seven crore rupees?
This absolutely atrocious and it reflects the Indian cricket authorities focus is only on money, quality be damned. International cricket is not the Indian Premier League (IPL) where money is the name of the game. Many of the successful Test players have put in hours and hours of practise and play to reach where they are.
Spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have won so many series by themselves on a regular basis. No wonder they are prominently there in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings. Batsmen like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and others have also put done their bit to make India the top-ranked Test nation in the world.
Now look at the contribution of Rohit Sharma for instance. He has never been really consistent. A string of good scores have always been followed long barren patches. He should have never got into the Test side in South Africa and he finished with an average of seven in the Tests. He was included at the cost of Rahane who has a far better record and is the vice-captain.
Dhawan was in sizzling form throughout the season. He performed at all levels and yet after playing only one Test was dumped unceremoniously. Why? The selectors won’t have an answer for that one. Dhawan rubbed it in with a great run of form in the shorter versions which followed.
So if the authorities think that Dhawan is not fit enough to play, why put him the elite list. Similarly, Kumar bowled beautifully against the South Africans in the First Test and was dropped for the next where the pitch would have suited him. So now, he has become an elite player for the authorities.
Bumrah is just a new entrant in Tests and one series cannot make him an elite player. Only the authorities can answer that. Players like Ashwin, Jadeja, Rahane and others have also done well in the shorter versions.
It seems that this new pay structure has rewarded quantity instead of quality. It’s like paying the executive more because he has spent extra time in the office than the chief executive officer.
Sadly, Indian cricket is all about money. The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has always been a greedy body which has thrown its weight around in world cricket. It is self-centred and is only bothered in dominating cricket through its wealth.
This type of pay structure just undermines players and makes them angry. Performances must be rewarded not volume of matches.
#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.