Standing amidst the 21st century, Indian cricket has undergone a total paradigm shift that started with the arrival of Saurav Ganguly as the leader in 2000. Twenty years have whizzed by like a flash of the eye and the Indian team has turned themselves into one of the most dominant forces of the world and continues to proliferate under the leadership of their current skipper, Virat Kohli.
It is not just in the brand of cricket that the Indian team has inculcated a change but the monetary structure that used to underpin their financial needs have also undergone a total revamp and now if you are worthy enough to stake your life for the nation through the sport, the board will not turn a blind eye to your efforts.
In this piece, we will look at how the salary of the Indian captain evolved over the years to give us a brief sense of the game’s financial evolution.
A tweet made by Makarand Waingankar showcased a slip which was a testimony to the salaries of the cricketers who won the World Cup for India in 1983. The slip very clearly shows that each player used to get Rs 2100 for a single match that was inclusive of a match fee of Rs 1500 and an allowance of Rs 600.
Each one of them deserve 10 Cr. pic.twitter.com/BzBYSgqit6
— Makarand Waingankar (@wmakarand) July 16, 2019
Kapil Dev also came in the same category and there was no security for the players whatsoever as to any injury that could have plagued their career could have also been a life-defining moment for the cricketer as he probably would have ended up with a limb or a hand lost forever.
After repeated battles with the authorities for getting themselves secured in the long run, the amounts dished out to the players were increased by a considerable sum as in 1998-99, the captain got a payout of 1.1 lakh per Test match while the payout for ODI’s was Rs 1.01 lakh. The players were expected to make savings for themselves so massive which would not have impacted their injury-recovery plan if any.
Finally, after years of struggle along with the governing body to establish a graded-pay structure for the cricketers which would provide stability in the cricketers’ earnings, the system acceded to this proposition in 2003.
With the income category assorted into three divisions namely Grade A for which the pay scale was stipulated to be Rs 60 lakhs annually, Grade B where the pay was supposed to be Rs 30 lakhs and finally Grade C where the amount was 15 lakhs, cricketers started dreaming big and the whole intent of this started reflecting in their change of attitude and body language.
Saurav Ganguly, who was the captain of India at that point in time qualified automatically for Grade A and barring his endorsements, started ascertaining a salary of Rs 60 lakhs annually from this contractual obligation.
There weren’t any further changes in the pay structure unless 2008, when Dhoni was first handed over the captaincy of the national team. However, there was no rise in Dhoni’s income as Grade A was still given Rs 60 lakhs while the salary for Grade B was increased to Rs 40 lakhs and grade C was kept at Rs 25 lakhs. A new grade was introduced namely Grade D that offered a sum of Rs 15 lakhs annually.
Dhoni saw a significant rise in his income in 2010 when the pay-structure for Grade A was increased to Rs 1 crore. The payscale also increased for Grade B with the amount going up by Rs 10 lakhs and the final amount coming to Rs 50 lakhs. However, the lowest slab still remained the same.
This continued for six years when BCCI finally intervened and released a whopping doubling of the amounts for the paygrades. Dhoni and Kohli both saw an emphatic rise in their pay scale as the amount for Grade A skyrocketed to a whopping Rs 2 crores while the amount for Slab B was increased to Rs 1 crore and the amount for Slab C was placed at Rs 50 Lakhs.
In the following year, the incomes went through the ceiling as the pay structure changed completely. The grades were changed as well as the new denominations were Grade A+, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C.
Kohli being made the captain across the three formats of the game was inducted into Grade A+ and the salary that he was supposed to notch up was a whopping Rs 7 crores across the year while the ones in Grade A was supposed to earn Rs 5 crores. Next followed Grade B with an income of Rs 3 cores while the final grade had a payout of Rs 1 crore.
With all the figures bared out, it very clearly shows that how Indian cricket has grown over the years and now bosses the entire world not only in the aspect of the sport but also in the financial spectrum. From a paltry salary of Rs 2100 per game and with zero security, the Indian captain now earns a whopping Rs 7 crores a year. This, however, is just a tiny part of his entire income. The major chunk of his earnings comes from endorsements. With a net worth of Rs 688 crores in March 2020, Kohli plays the brand ambassador of Manyavar, Pepsi, Cinthol Deo, Boost, Fastrack, Reebok, Godrej, Head & Shoulders, Nestle, Puma, Audi, MRF, Colgate, and Tissot. Apart from the salary for the national side, he earns a staggering Rs 15 crores for every single IPL that he plays.