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Harbhajan Singh writes heartfelt letter to Anil Kumble over Ranji Trophy pay

Veteran off-spinner requests India coach to raise domestic pay issue with CoA.

Harbhajan Singh Anil Kumble
Harbhajan has asked Kumble to rally for a change in Ranji Trophy pay structure

What’s the story?

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has written an emotional letter to India coach Anil Kumble regarding the pay structure of players participating in Ranji Trophy. In a heartfelt request to his former teammate, the 36-year-old asked the highly influential stalwart to discuss a possible increase in match fees with BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA).

Harbhajan wrote, “It's been last 2/3 years (that) I am playing the Ranji Trophy. I hate that I've found constant struggle around me in the financial situation of my first-class teammates. Even though Ranji Trophy is hosted by the richest cricket board in the world, I appeal to you as a player, who is an inspiration and role model for all Ranji players.”

“I request you to please take this up with the top brass of BCCI and players like Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Viru (Sehwag) to ensure that a change is brought about in the pay structure, in the amounts they get paid. I am willing to help/assist in any way to help bring in a change. It's shocking, to say the least, that the payment system hasn't been changed since 2004. Imagine the value of 100 rupees then and now. It is so different.”

The Background

Although not as serious as the crisis looming in Australia, there is a sense of discontentment within the Indian team regarding their central contracts. Considering the financial power of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the comparison of salaries of England/Australian players, the ‘Men in Blue’ have implored Kumble to demand higher retainers.

The heart of the matter

At present, the average domestic cricketer earns INR 1.5 lakh for each first-class game (both Ranji Trophy as well as Duleep Trophy). In contrast, the national team stars receive INR 15 lakh for every Test match. While those with hefty IPL contracts are more or less financially settled, the players relying solely on the domestic circuit are not in the same boat.

Extra Cover: Anil Kumble’s new Team India contract to be discussed post ICC Champions Trophy

Calling for a change in approach, Harbhajan wanted those players grinding it out in the first-class arena to receive fixed salaries so that they can plan their respective futures accordingly. He also lashed out at the fact that the domestic cricketers are paid only a year after the season ends.

What’s next?

Seeking a revamped pay structure for those Indian players with contracts, Kumble is poised to give a presentation to CoA on the 21st. It remains to be seen if he pays heed to Harbhajan’s plea and takes up the cause of the domestic cricketers as well.

Author’s Take

Even though the IPL brings hordes of people into the game, the Ranji Trophy should still be the premier domestic competition in India. Boasting of an illustrious history, the players participating in the prestigious tournament deserve to be paid a lot more than what they are receiving currently.

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