Former India cricketer Nikhil Chopra praised the BCCI's decision to introduce an annual centralized contract system in domestic cricket as well. Currently, players on the domestic circuit are paid on the basis of the number of days they play in the calendar year.
With a similar structure to the national team coming into the state associations as well, contract tiers are expected to be formed. The BCCI recently compensated domestic players by paying them 50 per cent of their match fees from contests that were not played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nikhil Chopra believes the new contract system will keep players financially secure. While speaking on the Khelneeti podcast on YouTube, he said:
"Offering domestic players a contract is a great initiative, makes the player financially secure. Unfortunately, for the last two years, domestic players lost out due to the pandemic. This contract system will benefit the players a lot, just like in the county system in England."
Former India wicket-keeper Saba Karim opined that the contract system safeguards a player and also serves as an incentive at the the same time. He said:
"The initiative for contracts should have been started by the state cricketers themselves. This was an initiative that was envisioned by Ganguly in 2019. But, I think that it is time that they receive a contract. Firstly, it safeguards a player's interest, if a player gets injured and misses out the season, the match fee system fails to provide. Secondly, It also poses as a motivational factor, since there are several grades associated with the system."
Players on the domestic circuit have been hit hard due to the pandemic which saw the Ranji Trophy entirely called off last year. Meanwhile, the BCCI have slowly re-introduced white ball cricket in the form of the Vijay Hazare trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. The 2022 Ranji Trophy has been rescheduled and will be staged in two stages starting in February.
"State associations will determine the pay grade for the contracts" - Nikhil Chopra
Chopra notes that more money can be diverted to state associations given the BCCI's financial stature. The BCCI have received a major boost in their revenue following the sale of two new IPL franchises. Chopra added:
"State associations will determine the pay grade for the contracts. BCCI's purse is getting wider, every state association will get more money now. They can look after the stadiums now, renovation and maintenance and also, to run the cricket. The centralized system which is in place in the national team, will also be implemented for the young players, who can use that to provide for their homes and at the same time, rise through the ranks."
While the contract tier system will soon come to the fore in domestic cricket, the pay grade for each tier will be different when compared to the national team's.