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Sourav Ganguly's Challenges: Position in ICC, Day-Night Tests, Domestic Structure

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly will have his hands full during his nine-month tenure as he deals with the impending challenges both cricketing as well as administrative.

PTI |October 23, 2019, 10:39 PM IST
Sourav Ganguly's Challenges: Position in ICC, Day-Night Tests, Domestic Structure

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly will have his hands full during his nine-month tenure as he deals with the impending challenges both cricketing as well as administrative.

PTI gives a lowdown of the issues that the former India captain will need to tackle as the head of world cricket's richest body.

1. Position of India in the ICC:

Problem: It is no secret that India has lost its voice in the ICC and in the latest working group of the global body, there are no BCCI representatives. In the 'Big Three Model' (England, Australia and India) devised by former BCCI president N Srinivasan's right-hand man Sundar Raman, India were supposed to get USD 570 million from ICC's revenue sharing model.

However, once Shashank Manohar took over, India lost the vote for 'Big Three' model and had to settle for USD 293 million (for 2016-2023 cycle), which still remains USD 150 million more than England and Wales Cricket Board's USD 143 million.

Sourav Ganguly will need to go to ICC as BCCI representative and there is a chance that the Board will get USD 405 million as its share of revenues, much more than any other nation.

Ganguly, at Wednesday's press conference, spoke about getting USD 372 million from the ICC, mainly during the back-end of the eight-year cycle (2016-2023) where India hosts 2021 World T20 and 2023 ODI World Cup.

However if former President N Srinivasan, who is the choice of board's old guard, goes to the ICC as BCCI representative or for that matter Sundar Raman, Manohar, who is all set to get a third and final term, might go on warpath and BCCI won't have votes.

2. Tax rebates for 2016 World T20 and future ICC events in India:

Ganguly will need all the support of BCCI's legal and financial teams as ICC wants India to give a tax waiver for all the TV production equipment imported for the broadcasters. Manohar has also threatened that the amount of tax burden which the ICC bears will be deducted from the BCCI's annual revenue.

Tax waiver is central government's domain. If it didn't change for Formula One or for any event which has an entertainment connect, there is little chance of BCCI getting a tax waiver.

The plausible solution could be asking Star Sports, who are ICC's Broadcasters, to carry the tax burden as they have a big set-up in India and don't need to import production equipment.

3. Payment of domestic cricketers

This has been an age-old issue in Indian cricket. Currently, a first-class cricketer receives Rs 1.4 lakh per match at Rs 35,000 per day (excluding daily allowance which is different for different states). At the end of the season, the BCCI also distributes 13 percent of the annual gross revenue earned from TV rights. A good first-class cricketer, who plays a decent amount of four-day, List A and T20 matches, earns around Rs 25 lakh per season.

Compared to international cricket, it's quite low as the national players earn Rs 15 lakh per Test match (in playing XI and half if a member of the squad), Rs 8 lakh per ODI and Rs 4 lakh per T20 International. Apart from this, more than 20 players are in various central contract categories ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 7 crore.

This is one issue which is close to Ganguly's heart. He will try to at least double the match fee and take it up to Rs 2.5 lakh per first-class match, besides increasing the share of domestic players in the gross revenue earned from TV rights.

4. Domestic Structure:

There are a few redundant ODI tournaments like Deodhar Trophy, the spacing of matches in Ranji Trophy, and the standard of umpiring.

More checks on umpiring exams, lessen the number of tournaments, better pitches in some of the first-class venues.

5. Day/Night Test cricket:

The BCCI started the experiment in 2016 with the Duleep Trophy but there were multiple complaints about the pink ball in use. The bowlers, the spinners mainly, complained that the pink lacquer used was of inferior quality and it took them out of equation. The batsmen complained that the pink ball was difficult to sight during twilight hours when the ball swings the most.

At this point even the Indian team is not too keen on playing Day/Night Test matches and they had rejected Cricket Australia's offer during the last away series.

Ganguly is a vocal advocate of day/Night Test matches which will bring the crowds back. However, there is one major issue with manufacturers. The pink SG Test ball is not of the best quality and if that can be upgraded and systemically started in the Ranji Trophy, pink ball Tests may be a reality. Ganguly will, at least, set the ball rolling even if it doesn't happen during his tenure.

6. Conflict of Interest Issue:

He has been at the receiving end himself and saw his former teammates Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman bear the brunt because of the rules where one person can only take up one job. This has restricted Ganguly's options to get good quality cricketers for his Cricket Advisory Committee and the national selection panel.

The last CoA Status Report has demanded some relaxation on the rule where those without long-term contract (less than two years) should be allowed to don multiple hats. If the Supreme Court agrees, it will be easier for Ganguly to get quality ex-players on board.

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