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Key officials to meet seniors
-Kapil to work with pacers in Bangalore

Calcutta, Aug. 30: The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) move to introduce annual contracts will gain momentum when key officials meet the senior pros in Bangalore early next week.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, secretary S.K. Nair and former India manager Prof. Ratnakar Shetty (incidentally, a frontrunner for the joint secretaryship) are scheduled to interact with captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.

As of now, that is expected to take place on Tuesday, Day-II of the conditioning camp’s second phase.

While the BCCI has been talking about contracts for years, the idea was taken forward only in the summer of 2001 when the then president, Dr A.C.Muthiah, assigned top officials to start a dialogue with the Souravs and Sachins.

That exchange of views, too, was in Bangalore — during the camp ahead of our tour to Zimbabwe — and Prof. Shetty was one of Dr Muthiah’s emissaries. So, there’s certainly some continuity on the Establishment front.

After that, there was some “progress” last year, in England, but the Player Terms row put a stop to the BCCI’s interaction with the senior pros. Now, Jagmohan Dalmiya (who is about to complete two years as president) has revived the process.

Should the Bangalore-dialogue be fruitful, it’s possible that the contracts will be introduced from October 1 itself, prior to the start of international commitments in the 2003-2004 season.

The up-coming season, which features multiple clashes with world champions Australia, gets underway with the two-Test home series against New Zealand.

While it’s to be seen what exactly is agreed upon, the contracts may be three-tiered with the category A players earning a retainership of Rs 60 lakh. Those in category B and C will probably receive Rs 30 lakh and Rs 15 lakh, respectively.

Indications are that the contracts will cover 20 players.

Given the build-up, the match fee structure — which again is going to be graded — could dominate the meeting. “Reaching an acceptable figure, and in three categories at that, will surely take time,” is how a well-placed source put it.

The BCCI, of course, has already announced that 26 per cent of its gross receipts will go to the players. Exactly half of that will benefit the international lot, while 10.04 of the remaining 13 per cent will go to the strictly first-class cricketers. The balance will exclusively be for the juniors.

Meanwhile, former India captain and coach Kapil Dev has agreed to spend two days at the (six-day) camp. Expected in Bangalore on Monday and Tuesday, he will specifically work with the pack of quicks.

Kapil, it may be recalled, had severed “all ties” with cricket three years ago when he quit as coach. Obviously, there’s been a change of heart.

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