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Players seek clarification
- contracts issue

Calcutta, Nov. 15: The Indian cricketers have sought “clarifications” from the Board after being forwarded a draft of the precedent-creating contract.

Actually, the contracts were to have been in place by end-September. Now, one isn’t sure whether everything will really be in order before Team India leaves for Australia on November 21.

“There’s no big dispute as such, but an informal dialogue is underway to clear ‘misgivings’… Basically, the clarifications centre around the language of the contract,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph this evening.

The source is “hopeful” that the process will soon move beyond the draft-and-dialogue stage.

In any case, with India making the tri-series final, there will be an opportunity for key Board mandarins — who are going to be present here — to meet some seniors and finally settle the issue.

Copies of the draft, one understands, were handed over to vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble before the November 1 match in Mumbai. Dravid, of course, was then stand-in captain.

Apparently, captain Sourav Ganguly got his at a later date as he wasn’t around in Mumbai. In fact, Sourav returned to the game (after two surgeries) earlier this week only.

The draft-stage was reached after Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s tete-a-tete with seven seniors in New Delhi last month. A couple of other mandarins were also present.

The Board intends offering contracts to 20 players in three categories: The top-bracket ones will get an annual retainership of Rs 60 lakh, those in category B will pocket Rs 30 lakh, while the remaining ones will get Rs 15 lakh.

As first reported in these columns, agreement has been reached on paying just 50 per cent of the match fee to the non-first XI players.

It’s another matter that the Board ought to have introduced two-tiered payments aeons ago.

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