“You can't have cricketers struggling to make ends meet” - Ravichandran Ashwin backs contracts for First-Class cricketers

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin

Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has spoken out in favour of a contract system for India’s domestic cricketers, which would provide them with some financial stability.

Reports of a number of First-Class cricketers facing financial woes owing to the cancellation of the Ranji Trophy because of the COVID-19 pandemic have come to the fore.

In an interview with Sportstar, Ravichandran Ashwin observed that First-Class cricketers generally have a short career span, and not everyone gets involved in broadcasting or coaching after their retirement. Hence, it is important to look after the financial well-being of these players. The off-spinner elaborated in this regard:

“I have always believed, cricketers playing at the First-Class level must have something to fall back on. Today, the pandemic has put things into perspective. You can't have cricketers struggling to make ends meet. I have always believed the State team has to hold on to its premier cricketers through contracts, look after them, manage them. They have a short lifespan. A First-Class cricketer can play 10-15 years, at best.”

Ravichandran Ashwin continued:

“If the contracts are existing, the players have a launch pad because not everybody gets into broadcasting or coaching. Unlike in the past, there are not many government jobs or even corporate jobs. State contracts for your top 20-25 cricketers are very important, and the way these contracts are deployed too must be standardised."

Before Ravichandran Ashwin, former India batsman VVS Laxman, too, had backed a contract system for First-Class players. According to Laxman, domestic cricketers can find themselves in a fix if they get injured and lose out on income. Speaking to Sportstar, he had opined:

“I have been telling this for a long time that First-Class cricketers should get contracts from their state associations, keeping in mind that they are sacrificing everything, and they are dedicating themselves to this game. It is very important that a contract is handed over because what happens to a player if he suddenly gets injured? Suddenly there is no income for that player, and if that player doesn’t have a job, then how is he going to look after himself and his family?”

In their AGM last year, the BCCI proposed a compensation package for domestic cricketers, but the same is still in the planning stage at the moment.

Want to contribute to society and reach more people: Ravichandran Ashwin on social media use

Cricketers’ use of social media has come under the scanner in the wake of Ollie Robinson’s tweet controversy. Ravichandran Ashwin, who is highly opinionated on social media, reacted to the Robinson issue.

According to the 34-year-old, he wants to contribute to society through responsible use of social media, elaborating in this regard:

“When it comes to social issues, there are two sides to the coin. One is the responsibility that I have to (shoulder) as someone whom people know. The second is what I think about the issue. I can’t thrust these things on the people. For me, I must bring them out.”

Ravichandran Ashwin continued:

“No one has stopped me and told me to do this, but I have certain beliefs which I will bring out in a way I like. There are certain issues that I know I'm not informed about, and I will never talk about them unless and until I am well informed. People will come out with their opinion,and I have to bring things that are of relevance and do them subtly. I want to contribute to society and reach more people."

Ravichandran Ashwin is currently in England with the Indian Test team, which will play the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand in Southampton, followed by a five-Test series against England.

Edited by Bhargav
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