What is the salary of Indian Test cricketers after latest incentives?

Indian cricket board announced substantial rewards for those who play majority of Test matches in a season

India's Test players have been rewarded with a substantial pay increase. AFP
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India’s red-ball cricketers received a pleasant surprise on Saturday as their board announced a substantial increase in incentives for players who feature in more Test matches.

The issue of cricketers overlooking Test cricket for the financial security of franchise tournaments has been a growing concern for national teams, and India, too, is witnessing a trend in that direction.

Several players have made themselves unavailable for bilateral matches, yet somehow declare themselves fit for two months of the Indian Premier League.

Sensing the changing landscape, the Indian cricket board has decided to throw money at the problem. Players who now play a majority of Test matches in each season will be given a "bonus" over and above their match fees and annual retainers.

According to the 'Test Cricket Incentive Scheme', players will receive a reward of 3 million rupees per match ($36,000) if they feature in more than half of the Test matches each season. If they feature in more than 75 per cent of the matches in a season, the bonus increases to 4.5 million rupees ($54,000) per match.

That will be in addition to the Test match fee of 1.5 million rupees ($18,000) per game.

However, those who play less than half the matches in a season won’t get any additional rewards.

Cricketers not in the playing XI also have an incentive as they will receive half the bonus amount that playing members receive.

The decision has been made retrospectively from the 2022/23 season, which should mean a financial windfall for someone like Cheteshwar Pujara, who finds himself out of the team but featured in seven of the nine Tests in the last cycle.

What is the breakdown of the salary of an Indian Test cricketer?

Indian players are divided into four main categories in their central contracts – Grade A+, A, B, and C. Last season, the top tier A+ contract players had an annual retainer of 70 million rupees ($845,000), irrespective of the number of matches they played. The next three categories had annual retainers of 50 million rupees ($600,000), 30 million rupees ($362,000) and 10 million rupees ($120,000).

Their retainers are expected to be raised for this season. However, with the new incentive plan, a player can look forward to earning more from match fees alone, playing Test cricket, than a Grade A central contract from last season.

If an Indian cricketer features in nine Tests in a season, he stands to earn 54 million rupees ($650,000) just from match fees and incentives going forward. Add a central contract to that and Test cricketers can now earn well over $1 million per season playing just red-ball cricket for India.

Indian cricketer's central contract

Grade A+ (for 2022-23): 70 million rupees ($845,000, approximately)

Grade A: 50 million rupees ($600,000)

Grade B: 30 million rupees ($362,000)

Grade C: 10 million rupees ($120,000)

Match fees

Test: 1.5 million rupees per match ($18,000)

ODI: 600,000 rupees per match ($7,000)

T20: 300,000 rupees per match ($3,600)

Test match incentives

Less than 50 per cent of matches played in a season: No bonus

More than 50 per cent matches played: 3 million rupees ($36,000) per match

More than 75 per cent matches played: 4.5 million rupees ($54,000) per match

Updated: March 10, 2024, 4:34 AM