- The BCCI recently announced new player contracts, resulting in significant fee hike for the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma
- Test cricket specialists like Pujara, Ashwin, Jadeja and Vijay pooled together in a lower category
- Wasim Akram feels Test cricket is the ultimate cricket; says red-ball specialists must be nurtured and protected
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sprang a bit of a surprise when it rolled out the new categories of player contracts on Wednesday (March 7). Considering the fact that the Indian cricket board is the wealthiest functioning cricket body in the world, it was expected that the players were in line to get a significant hike but the move to award A+ category contracts to ODI and T20I specialists Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay, and slotting Test cricket specialists in lower-tier contracts, came as a surprise to many critics and fans, including Wasim Akram.
While Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were promoted to the A+ category alongside skipper Virat Kohli, where they will be earning INR 7 crore a year, Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Murali Vijay were kept in the A category (INR 5 crore a year).
The BCCI’s decision is bound to raise all the more eyebrows given Test cricket’s falling popularity and the format struggling to keep pace with the exponential growth of T20 cricket across the globe. In the current scenario, the decision to put India’s Test specialists in the lower category of contracts is likely to send a wrong signal to young players who aspire to represent the country in the longest format.
Wasim Akram: Test cricket is superior than limited-over formats
Speaking to Sport360 during an event in Dubai announcing his association with online cricket content provider CricInGif, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram also echoed the above-mentioned views and said that Test players’ pay packets should be at par with, if not more than other format players.
“Test specialists should (get more). Because that’s the most difficult cricket. That’s where you get hit by bouncers, you get hit on your head, on your fingers as a batsman. Bowlers bowl longer spells,” Akram said.
BCCI should realise Test cricket is ultimate
The former bowling great also emphasized that cricket’s governing body and boards must recognise the importance and the need to protect the Test format.
“That’s where the mindset of those who run cricket boards (matters). They should realise Test cricket is the ultimate and everything else follows,” he concluded.
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