Calcutta: The players’ contracts lapsed on October 1 last year, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still “finalising” the one to be signed by the Rahul Dravids for 2006-07.
If this sluggish pace continues, the contracts may not be in place even as Team India prepares to leave for the World Cup!
The contracts were introduced by Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2004, but the first steps had been taken by predecessor Dr A.C. Muthiah in the summer of 2001.
“The draft is getting finishing touches… Once ready, the contracts committee will approve it internally before an across-the-table meeting with seniors,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph on Saturday.
Placements are going to be done later.
The source added: “The contracts will be with retrospective effect and, so, no player is going to lose financially.”
That’s comforting, but the world’s richest board should be tops in areas — critical ones at that — other than raising revenue.
Besides BCCI vice-president Shashank Manohar (incidentally, most powerful in the Sharad Pawar regime), the committee has four members — former president Inderjit Singh Bindra, secretary Niranjan Shah, treasurer N. Srinivasan and chief administrative officer Prof. Ratnakar Shetty.
The contracts were to have been signed before Team India’s departure for South Africa on November 14, but “certain differences” weren’t ironed out when the BCCI brass met three seniors — Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag — early that month.
Among other things, players who have personal contracts with apparel providers different from the one signed up by the BCCI have “strong misgivings” over image-usage.
The BCCI, for its part, wants some clauses restructured. Idea, apparently, being to allow for performance-linked payments.
It’s not confirmed, but the retainership in the three categories — Rs 50 lakh, Rs 35 lakh and Rs 20 lakh — is unlikely to change.
Only 15 players were put on contract the last time (delayed then, too — December 2005), but the Sreesanths and Wasim Jaffers joined the lowest category (C) once they met the qualification-requirement: Playing five Tests or 15 ODIs in the period covered by the contract.
Sourav Ganguly’s fortunes have changed, but it’s to be seen whether the BCCI also invites him for a dialogue before the contracts are offered afresh.
As the-then captain, he’d been part of the first exercise.
Even if Sourav isn’t called to the table this time, it’s certain that he will remain in category A.
Somebody like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, meanwhile, is expected to get a promotion. He hadn’t made his India debut when the contracts were introduced, but was straightaway placed in category B 13 months ago.
Ranchi’s favourite son has surely done enough to move up.