India’s Test regulars are set to receive a 300% increase in their match fees by the BCCI if they appear in 75% or more tests during a season. The ‘Test Cricket Incentive Scheme’ is brought to encourage cricket players to give importance to first-class cricket alongside other formats.

Reports suggest that the move has been recommended by the Ajit Agarkar-led senior men’s selection panel in order to provide a motivation for cricketers to increase their participation in the test format. The test cricket incentive scheme has been backdated to include the 2022-23 season as well.

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As a result, cricketers like Cheteshwar Pujara, who has participated in 7 of the 9 test matches (77.7%) that Team India played in 2022-23, will be able to earn Rs 45 lakh per match in addition to his regular match fee of Rs 15 lakh per test. It means that Pujara will now earn a total sum of Rs 4.2 crore (including incentives), as against the Rs 1.05 crore that he would have earned, as a reward for giving more importance to Test cricket.

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BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote a post on social media X soon after India’s innings win in Dharamsala which emphasized that this is a  “step aimed at providing financial growth and stability” to Test match players.

Test Cricket Incentive Scheme not linked to BCCI’s annual Retainers

As per the new Test Cricket Incentive Scheme, cricketers who appear in 50-75% of Test matches in a season will be eligible to earn a total of Rs 30 lakh per test in addition to the regular match fees. Those who feature in less than 50% of matches will not be able to avail the benefit of this incentive. However, this scheme is not linked to BCCI’s annual retainers.

While announcing the annual retainer’s list for 2023-24 last month has increased the pool of players from 26-30, BCCI didn’t mention the amount for the 4 contract categories. However, it is reported that the amounts are likely to increase. Last year, players in the A+ bracket earned Rs 7 crore, A earned Rs 5 crore, B earned Rs 3 crore, and C received Rs 1 crore.

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In addition to the above-mentioned contracts, BCCI also announced fast bowling contracts to 5 cricketers namely, Akash Deep, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Umran Malik, V Kaverappa, and Yash Dayal to ensure that these players have access to BCCI’s NCA facility throughout the year.

The Test Cricket Incentive Scheme comes at a time when BCCI has asked players to prioritize domestic cricket, especially first-class cricket. Shah wrote a letter to all contracted players, asking them to “prove” themselves in domestic cricket if they aspired to play for India and warned that non-participation would lead to “severe implications”.

This came in the wake of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer choosing to skip the Ranji Trophy for their respective teams even after not being in the Indian national team.

Ishan Kishan opted out of the Tests in South Africa in December citing mental fatigue and hasn’t featured in any domestic cricket since. Iyer, who was left out after the second Test against England, missed the Ranji quarter-final citing injury, although he was cleared by NCA’s medical team. Iyer subsequently returned to play the semi-final and is due to play Sunday’s final for Mumbai against Vidarbha.
Both Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were left out of the list of 30 players who were handed central contracts.

Priyanshu Singh, a cricket aficionado who is deeply passionate about the sport, especially the Indian Premier League (IPL). With a background in journalism, he channels his love for cricket into his writing as a contributor for Criclabel, a renowned cricket website. Priyanshu's articles captivate readers with insightful analysis and engaging commentary on IPL matches, showcasing his profound understanding of the game. Whether dissecting team strategies or evaluating player performances, Priyanshu's writing resonates with cricket enthusiasts worldwide, establishing him as a trusted voice in the cricketing community.