BCCI introduces Rs 45 lakh incentive for Test cricket players

A Test cricketer, who appears in a possible 10 Tests in a season, will be richer by a whopping Rs 4.50 crore

Representative image of BCCI logo (photo: IANS)
Representative image of BCCI logo (photo: IANS)


Living up to its promise of giving the highest priority to Test cricket, the BCCI has decided to give an incentive of Rs 45 lakh per game to all those who would play 75 per cent or more of the scheduled red-ball games in a particular season, board secretary Jay Shah said on Saturday, 9 March.

A Test player, who appears in a possible 10 Tests in a season, will be richer by a whopping Rs 4.50 crore as an incentive apart from a possible Rs 1.5 crore (15 lakh per game) in the usual match fee.

The top cricketers also get an assured retainer fee from their annual central contracts.

"I am pleased to announce the initiation of the 'Test Cricket Incentive Scheme' for Senior Men, a step aimed at providing financial growth and stability to our esteemed athletes," Shah stated on 'X'.

"Commencing from the 2022-23 season, the 'Test Cricket Incentive Scheme' will serve as an additional reward structure on top of the existing match fee for Test matches, set at Rs 15 lakh," he further stated.

The incentives will be retrospective and would factor in players, who were part of Test cricket during the 2022-23 season.

How the math works

To put things in perspective, one can take the example of Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, who has appeared in all 10 Tests (World Test Championship final, 2 vs West Indies, 2 vs SA, 5 vs England) during the 2023-24 season.

Rohit will get Rs 1.5 core (Rs 15 lakhx10) in usual match fee and for giving priority to Test cricket, he will get another Rs 4.5 crore (RS 45 lakhx10).

Hence, his earnings from Test cricket alone would stand at Rs six crore.

Add to it, he has an annual retainership of Rs seven crore per season, which takes his earnings to Rs 13 crore.

This obviously excludes his match fees for playing ODIs (Rs 8 lakh per game) and T20Is (Rs 4 lakh per game) in a season.

The BCCI, in its explainer, has taken an average of nine Tests in a season. If someone has played less than 50 per cent of the games (4 or less in this case), then he will only get a standard match fee of Rs 15 lakh (for being in playing XI) and half that amount for reserves.

However, the moment he plays between 50 to 75 per cent of the games (five to six in case the base figure is nine), then there would be an additional match fee incentive of Rs 30 lakh per game.

So a player, who has played six Tests in a season, would get Rs 90 lakh as existing match fee (Rs 15x6) and incentive of Rs 1.8 crore (Rs 30x6), which takes his match fee plus incentives to Rs 2.70 crore.

Dravid calls it "reward" not "incentive"

Head coach Rahul Dravid welcomed the move from BCCI and termed it as a reward for playing the toughest format.

"Hope money is not going to be the incentive to play Test cricket. It is nice to see that it is a recognition that it is a hard format. Nice that BCCI is recognising that. It is a reward not an incentive," Dravid said at the end of the 4-1 Test triumph over England in Dharamsala.

The decision was taken after some players like Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar snubbed Ranji Trophy cricket to continue training with their IPL teams despite the Board's diktat to prioritise red-ball cricket.

"Rohit and I select playing 11. Sometimes I don't even know who is contracted and who is not. No one is out of the mix," Dravid said when asked about the Test future of Iyer and Kishan.

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