SPORT

A commendable move by BCCI



The performance-based payment scheme will change the Indian cricket scenario, writes Makarand Waingankar The payment scheme should be applied to the first-class players tooStatisticians needed to work out various permutations and combinations

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to set up a committee to explore the possibility of introducing performance-based payments to players is commendable.

Such a system will ensure that to be in the performance bracket, the players will have to perform consistently. The existing system guarantees players annual contracts based on their seniority. This perhaps put them in a comfort zone, and the team did not perform as consistently as it ought to have. The fitness level, despite clauses in the contract, dropped to a considerable extent, so much so that players continued to get the contract amount even though they were not fit.

To be fair to the players, they know that only performance can get them lucrative endorsements. This however did not improve their show, as the pressure of maintaining performance to hang on to endorsements was a bit too much for some of the cricketers. Mahendra Singh Dhoni played his natural game until he became a celebrity. Once he achieved celebrity status, the pressure of big endorsements seems to have affected his game. The BCCI seems to be thinking on the lines of making basic payments common for all the players, but the other payments could be on their performances in a period.

Maintaining fitness

In a team game like cricket, the principle of performance-based payments could change the scenario. A player, irrespective of his status in the team, will have to set a goal for himself to qualify in the bracket to get the optimum payment. This automatically will make him put in more effort as well as ensuring that he maintains fitness.

At the moment, being guaranteed a certain amount as per the contract, a player may not realise the importance of the performance-based payments. Munaf Patel is an ideal case study.

He has hardly played on the South Africa tour due to injury, but nevertheless continues to get money.

This is unfair to the other medium-pacers who, for the past one month, have been performing consistently in the Ranji Trophy.

First-class players

The performance-based principle should be applied to the first-class players also in India. Knowing their own limitations, not every first-class player is ambitious to play for the country. Many are content with a few half-centuries or a few wickets per game to hold their place in the side.

To such players, performance-based payments principle would induce them to perform better or face exclusion from the team.

There are quite a few senior players who use their tag of seniority to convince the State selectors to keep them in the team.

The thought process of the State selectors, as per the relations they have with such players, makes the selections subjective. Tamil Nadu broke that rut by axing non-performing seniors, but Delhi continues to have selections that make more noise than their performances.

Meaningful

To make the performance-based payments meaningful, the BCCI may have to think of a block of minimum 8-10 matches in one season for judging the consistency of performance.

To play these number of matches per season of one version, a player will have to be consistent.

If there is no block, a player averaging 50 in three matches may get into the performance bracket, and that is unfair to other players who have played more matches than him.

Recommended for you