Playing It Fair: Equal Match Fees For Indian Women And Men Cricketers

The BCCI on Thursday announced that contracted women cricketers would receive the same match fees as the male players for each match.

In a historical announcement on Thursday, BCCI, or Board of Control for Cricket in India, declared their decision to follow an equal pay policy for Indian Men’s and Women’s Cricket team.

This implies that Indian players under the BCCI contract, Indian women players would receive the same match fee as the male players for each match under the same format. 

Jay Shah, the Honorary Secretary of BCCI, took to his official Twitter account to deliver this news, which has been welcomed and lauded by the entire nation.

As reported by the same source, he mentioned that the BCCI contract players would receive INR 15 lakhs for a test cricket match, INR 6 lakhs for a One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and INR 3 lakh for a T20 match. 

In the twitter-thread, Shah continued, “Pay equity was my commitment to our women cricketers and I thank the Apex Council for their support.” He called this as a first step towards tackling gender-based discrimination, and rightfully so.

Does this mean they will earn the same amount?

No. Not really.

For years now, the pay gap between the Indian men and women cricketers was appallingly vast.

We have had come across tales of how the women’s team had to pay for their own kits, and fund their cricket tours.

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According to a report, the highest earning female player in the team, Smriti Mandhana, was paid an amount that is equivalent to the highest salary amount of the 2004 men’s team that included players like Ganguly and Tendulkar.

However, a player’s overall earning depends on multiple factors. The pay structure of the BCCI requires a bit of understanding – the total payment includes components like their contractual fees, match fees, prize money amount, and a stipulated percentage of the organization’s gross revenue amount. 

The same report breaks it down for us. The match fees are more of a varying factor since it depended more on sponsoring. However, it is on this component that BCCI decided to levy their pay equity policy.

Each woman player would be paid the same amount as their male counterparts for each match they play under a particular format. 

The contractual fees are divided according to the categories- A, B, and C- that each player belongs to.

Although, the base salary for both the teams have risen well enough, the amount between the men’s and the women’s differs drastically. So does the prize money. 

These are just baby steps.

Need of the hour?

Women’s cricket in India is slowly rising to their well-deserved popularity. Inspired from the overwhelming success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the board has decided on finally going ahead with a Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL).

This gives shape to the struggles, and the aspirations of the veteran female players like Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj. 

Starting with WIPL would make cricket accessible to a lot of talented young female players, who usually lose their way while trying to get to the top; and simultaneously, help in bringing the spotlight to them. The climb isn’t easy for anyone, especially if you’re a woman.

Introducing gender-equality through back-to-back announcements that uplift the women players and empower them was a historic move by the organization.

These commitments would not only inspire other girls to join the sport, but also encourage them to think of it as a profession. Simultaneously, it is expected that the brighter these girls shine, the more spectators will be interested in watching them, leading to a rise in revenue.

The men’s cricket team had been in the limelight for a longer time, facing the pros and the cons of the popularity that the game thrived on.

But, the Indian women’s cricketers played for the passion that they had towards the game; for their country, to bring Women’s cricket to the same level as that of the men’s. 

Image source: nambitomo via Getty Images and twitter page of Indian Women Cricket’s Team @BCCIWomen, edited on Canva Pro

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Akankha Basu Roy

The author is a Gen-Z kid who resorts to writing to vent out about the problematic ways of the world. Having majored in Theatre, English, and Psychology, I take a guilty pleasure in complex read more...

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