Indian opener Smriti Mandhana on Wednesday said that it will be “unfair” for the women’s team to ask for equal pay as Virat Kohli and Co bring in a lion’s share of the revenue.
Mandhana, the reigning ICC’s woman cricketer of the year, touched on the contentious issue of pay parity at the unveiling of Bata’s new range of shoes in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“We need to understand that the revenue we get is through men’s cricket. The day women’s cricket starts earning revenue, I will be the first person to say that we need the same thing. But right now, we can’t say that,” she told reporters.
The male cricketers in the top bracket on the Board of Control for Cricket in India central contracts list are entitled to an annual remuneration of Rs 7 crore, while a female cricketer in the highest category gets Rs 50 lakh for the same period.
“I don’t think any of my teammates are thinking about this [pay] gap because the only focus right now is to win matches for India, get the crowd coming in and earn revenues. That what we are aiming for, and if that happens, everything else will fall in place,” she said.
“And for that, we need to perform. It is unfair on our part to say that we need to be paid as much as the men – it is not right. So, I don’t think I want to comment on that gap,” she added.
There was a phase in Mandhana’s career when she was unable to convert starts and she said she has worked on her shot-selection for better results.
“Knowing that you can play your cover drive, on-drive, play over covers are things I used to always be like, ‘should I hit it here or there’. I had to limit my shots in the ODI format and understand what the team needs,” she said. “He [coach WV Raman] has told me to try and play 30 overs in ODIs and 12 overs in T20s. But to get a big score, you need to be there at the crease...it is helpful to work with Raman sir.”