BCCI’s dilemma: Host Ranji Trophy or just pay domestic cricketers? | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: The BCCI‘s top priority is to pay domestic cricketers for the season, regardless of whether tournaments are held. Whether that happens by way of hosting matches – which will be a mammoth task, given the Covid-related challenges – or by way of simply transferring funds to cricketers through state associations without having to risk health and lives is something the Board is busy considering.
Unlike the IPL, which is a business model that helps BCCI earn money and channel it into domestic cricket, tournaments like Ranji, Duleep and Under-22 have more to do with scouting of grassroot talent, preserving a sense of history and culture, and ensuring India’s strong and vibrant domestic circuit continues to remain that way.
“Just because the IPL was conducted, doesn’t mean BCCI has to take the pressure of conducting Ranji Trophy. IPL players can’t be paid if there’s no IPL. But Ranji cricketers can be paid, even if there’s no Ranji. You can create a bio-bubble for eight franchises. But for 38 teams, it’ll be a nightmare. If something goes wrong, who is going to take responsibility?” say those tracking developments.
For the record, state associations that host IPL matches earn Rs 7 cr each per season from franchises and BCCI, while all BCCI members earn from the 20% topline of franchise revenues. “That money comes from IPL, therefore it is important from revenue perspective. BCCI is worried it’ll get bad press if Ranji is not hosted because it’ll be seen as if they only want to earn money. But to justify that, hundreds of players can’t be risked. Just distribute the money and stay safe,” sources say.
Nonetheless, BCCI is aiming at a “democratic process” in trying to figure if any domestic cricket is “realistically possible” this season, bearing in mind that Covid-19 has shown no signs of relenting so far.
Secretary Jay Shah has been busy with two primary things: A) He has written to state associations asking for proposals / ideas; B) Has been touring state associations to get a general idea of the infrastructure if white-ball tournaments can be held.
There’s a hassle when it comes to paying cricketers without matches played: How does the BCCI or state associations decide which players to play? Because teams will have to be selected, on the basis of which match-fees can be disbursed. Unless, they agree to a blanket disbursement of funds.
The board is busy figuring that bit out. For now, the BCCI has almost made up its mind on one aspect: It intends to host Mushtaq Ali. With new IPL franchise(s) coming in and the World Cup in sight, talent needs to be scouted. “Let’s say one new franchise comes in. A senior BCCI office-bearer has made this weird proposal of increasing one overseas player in the eleven to ensure quality. Why? Why can’t domestic talent be scouted through Mushtaq Ali? IPL after all is an Indian tournament, no?” members say.

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