Indian cricketers are finally set to get a players' association. The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has begun the process of forming the association.
According to a report in The Indian Express the CoA has informed two members of the standing committee, former union home secretary GK Pillai and former cricketer Mohinder Amarnath, to start the process.
One of the reasons cited for the delay in forming a player’s body is that Indian cricketers are powerful enough to bargain with BCCI on their own. However, the senior Indian cricketers in the past have not represented other players.
Former India batsman Abbas Ali Baig, who was a member of the previous players’ body that didn’t take-off around 15 years ago, told Hindustan Times, “The reason players’ body wasn’t successful in India is because players have been strong enough to talk to the administrators on their own.
There is always a need for a players’ association. But it should bargain for all cricketers, including those at the bottom rung.”
As per Lodha Committee recommendation, the committee’s role is, “to identify and invite all eligible ex-cricketers to be members, to open bank accounts, receive funds from the BCCI, conduct the first elections for office bearers, communicate the names of BCCI player nominees to the board”.
The Lodha Committee also recommended that the players who have played more than 10 first-class games will have to be part of the players association.
The whole idea of a players association, according to Lodha Committee, is to give the players “a voice to raise their concerns” while barring them from forming a “trade union of any sort.”
It also had recommended the need to advance the welfare of players, including insurance, medical and other commercial benefits.
India’s coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli had earlier interacted with BCCI officials and the CoA seeking a 150 percent raise in retainership for Grade A India players. Kumble sought an increase in the salary of support staff, including him.
However, the CoA made it clear it will not increase the 26 percent share from BCCI revenue that is allotted for paying players.
A top BCCI official was reported as saying by Hindustan Times that any increment for the international players will mean reducing either the share of state associations or domestic players.
“The CoA made it clear to the players at the meeting that they won’t increase the share from the current 26 percent of BCCI revenues, half of which goes to top stars and the remaining to first-class, junior cricketers etc.,” he said.
“Honestly, Kumble and Co are being inconsiderate. The first-class players too want an increase and state bodies too don’t want to take a hit.”
This dispute, though in its nascent stages, is in many ways similar to the one between Cricket Australia, the country’s cricket governing board and the Australian Cricketers’ association.
The Australian dispute shows no signs of a compromise with both parties refusing to budge from their stance. Ahead of the Bangladesh tour in August, most of the senior members have not yet signed a contract, with the last day being extended from 30 June to 3 July.
The Indian Express further reported that an online form will be uploaded on board’s website and former players will have to submit their details online to get enrolled. Those who register will also be eligible to vote.
As per the Lodha Committee recommendations, a member of players association will be part of the Apex Council which will take all the important decisions of Indian cricket in the coming days.
“The number of players who have played more than 10 first class games is huge. The numbers can be more than 5000. It will be a tedious process but the CoA has informed us that players association work process will began soon, the BCCI lawyer has also been told to come up with all the necessary documentation so that the standing committee’s work will be smooth,” sources in the BCCI informed.