Cricketers’ dilemma: Test match preparation or IPL rich spinners


On Saturday evening, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan and ODI series hero Mehidy Hasan Miraj spun a web around the Indian batsmen in the second Test against India at Mirpur. Like a house of cards, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara returned to the pavilion without scoring a double digit score. This was followed by a brilliant knock from Liton Das under pressure, which ensured Bangladesh got a decent total. On Sunday, Mehdi got a fifty after dismissing both Rishabh Pant and Akshar Patel. With India reeling at 74 for 7, Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer joined hands to chase down 71 runs with the remainder in hand, denying Bangladesh their first Test win against India.

The Indian players will get match fee of $18,000 and the Bangladeshi players will get $5,600 in this exciting match. Apart from this, the players get a central contract amount annually. All figures are approximate and based on last Friday’s exchange rate.

Less than 24 hours before the drama began in Mirpur at an Indian Premier League (IPL) mini-auction, Mehdi was not even a part of the shortlist. Shakib and Das went unsold in the auction in the initial rounds and were picked at the last minute as the teams had many slots to fill.

Das and Shakib were bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for $60,500 and $1,80,000 respectively. Even after TDS and other similar deductions, it is a lucrative deal for at least 14 T20 matches, regardless of whether he is included in the playing XI. All the Indian players listed above except Pujara were retained by the respective IPL teams. The retention deals ranged between $19,00,000 and $7,00,000.

Eight out of 10 teams analyzed by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) have such a wide gap between average player earnings in international and domestic leagues, as shown in chart 1, Domestic league earnings are based on the average contract size of The Hundred, IPL and BBL. The report further states, “This (difference) is further exacerbated by the workload of domestic leagues which is typically half that of international cricket on a time/wage basis – ie “double the pay for half the work”. “

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Given the variation, it is no surprise that 49% of cricketers from 11 countries surveyed by FICA said they would reject a central contract if they were paid more in their domestic leagues. This is despite the fact that 74% of them still consider Test cricket to be the most important format. The survey also revealed that 69% of players had less than 12 months to run on their current national contracts, while 46% rated their relationship with their national governing body as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ .

Even the National Cricket Associations are scheduling more and more T20 matches between the countries considering the popularity of this format. chart 2 Shows the percentage share of international matches played by the eight countries in various formats. In 2022, 50% of all international matches were T20Is, 30% ODIs and 18% Test matches. A decade ago, the ratio was 30% T20, 45% ODI and 25% Test.

chart 3 Shows the absolute number of T20s, ODIs and Tests played by selected countries in the last decade. India will play 40 T20Is in 2022, the most by any country in any year. England continued to play a large number of Tests even as they increased their T20 numbers. However, in general, the number of T20Is is increasing at the expense of ODIs and Tests.

Source: Federation of International Cricketers Association, Cricinfo

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