Calcutta: The Sharad Pawar-headed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has assured the senior pros and the Team India support staff that payments won’t be delayed.
That was conveyed during Pawar’s 20-minute meeting with the support staff and his nearly 40-minute interaction with the seniors ' his first since assuming office last week ' in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
The BCCI secretary, Niranjan Shah, treasurer N. Srinivasan and executive secretary in-charge Prof. Ratnakar Shetty were also present.
Vice-captain Virender Sehwag couldn’t attend as he has taken ill (a development which should open the door for Yuvraj Singh at the Kotla), but the remaining six invitees ' captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and Harbhajan Singh ' featured in the meeting at Taj Palace.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, the seniors made the following points: (a) That their payments mustn’t be delayed; (b) That should a non-contracted player either play five Tests or 15 ODIs during the period of contract, he must automatically be included in the lowest category (C, worth Rs 20 lakh); (c) That the BCCI should disperse any left-over money (from the gross income percentage earmarked for contracts) exclusively to the players, giving weightage to those who regularly make the XI and (d) That they must be regularly consulted on itineraries.
In principle, Pawar apparently agreed to everything.
Fresh contracts are (as of now) going to be offered after the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka ends, on December 22.
The support staff (coach Greg Chappell, physio John Gloster, trainer Greg King and sports scientist Ian Frazer), too, drew Pawar’s attention to the delay in payments.
That Frazer ' hand-picked by Chappell ' still doesn’t have a contract is something that came up for discussion. The needful will probably be done sooner rather than later.
Chappell, one learns, called for “better preparedness” on the part of those who get the Team India call-up after excelling on the domestic circuit.
Basically, that a proper work ethic should be inculcated from very early on. Also, that there’s a need to give fitness priority from the grassroots level.
Nobody is going to disagree.