'If a player who is playing 20 overs and bowling just four overs earns ten times more than you, then Test players will not see the logic in concentrating entirely on Test cricket'
Indian skipper Virat Kohli has credited improved central contracts for Test players from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the team’s consistent performance in the longest format of the game.
India are currently the number one ranked team in the ICC Test rankings with a rating of 119, while second placed New Zealand and third placed England have ratings of 109 and 104, respectively. India also hold a massive lead in the World Test Championship with 360 points (seven wins out of seven matches in three series), while second placed Australia have 116 points (three wins, two losses and one draw in six matches).
Furthermore, India have four batsmen, three bowlers, and two all-rounders in the top ten of the respective ICC player rankings.
Following the victory over Bangladesh in the second Test of the two-match series yesterday, the Indian captain said: “Eventually, the strength of a Test team should come from the financial structure. If you don’t keep Test cricketers in good financial condition, then their motivation will keep going down.
“If a player who is playing 20 overs and bowling just four overs earns ten times more than you, then Test players will not see the logic in concentrating entirely on Test cricket. After five years, that player may switch profession or focus on playing T20s only. This can only be corrected through a central contract,” he added.
“If you look at the traditional cricket playing countries - like Australia, England and New Zealand – they are so strong because their contract structure starts from Test cricket. We have made similar changes, so that the Test cricketers can feel that they have a secure future if they are committed to playing the longest format,” Kohli further said.
The BCCI announced annual contracts in March this year, with 25 cricketers in four groups. Players in the A plus group will earn Rs7 crore per year, A group Rs5 crore, B group Rs3 crore, and C group Rs1 crore, according to media reports.
After Bangladesh suffered heavy defeats in both matches of the Test series against India, Kohli said the Tigers should play more Test cricket to improve in the format. He also said the Bangladesh Cricket Board and players need to understand what Test cricket means to them, and plan accordingly.
“Bangladesh did not have their most two experienced players – Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. Mushfiq and Mahmudullah were there, but you can’t really push a team forward with only two key players and youngsters,” he said
”Obviously, they have the skill set and that's why they are playing international cricket. If they play more Tests, they will get more experience. If you play two Tests then don’t play again for a year and a half, then you will not understand how to figure out situations and play under pressure. Team needs to be put in the match situations regularly. The Board and the players have to understand what Test cricket means to them and that’s the only way you can go forward in Test cricket,” the Indian captain concluded.