Former Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Niranjan Shah has called for a salary cap on players opting to play as an outstation professional for another state in the Ranji Trophy.
The comments from the veteran Indian cricket administrator, and former chief of Saurashtra Cricket Association, came in the wake of senior batsman Sheldon Jackson moving to Puducherry after a successful season with the Ranji Trophy champions.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Shah said that “poaching must be stopped” where new teams offer a pay rise and tempt players away from the state teams.
“BCCI should introduce a cap system to ensure a guest player doesn’t earn more than a certain amount. Nine new teams have been included in the Ranji Trophy straightaway without proving anything. They will start bargaining like this,” Shah told the newspaper.
Shah argued that outstation professional concept was introduced because there were many good players vying for a place in top teams like Mumbai, Karnataka and missed out because of competition.
“Now what is happening is players have started their own valuation. Ranji Trophy cannot become like IPL,” he added.
The 33-year-old Jackson has played 76 first-class games so far and had been a strong pillar for his state team especially in the last two seasons. The right-handed middle-order batsman finished as the top-scorer of his team for two successive seasons (he had got 854 runs last season to go with 809 in the most recent edition).
On Saurashtra’s way to be crowned Ranji Trophy champions, he slammed a ton in the semi-finals and also scored an 85 against Mumbai and a 161 versus Karnataka earlier in the season – underlining his status as one of the most dependable batsmen in red-ball cricket on the domestic circuit.
Jackson had said that the reason he made the move to Puducherry was to get noticed more. He said he is hoping that big runs for the “much smaller” team would fetch him more eyeballs.
Having represented Saurashtra across age groups over an 18-year period, Jackson said it was time to explore new avenues as a professional cricketer.
“This is the first step for me to start playing professionally. If I do well, the money will follow. This year I have not looked at too much money. If I do well, I am sure many doors will open up,” Jackson told PTI when asked if money was the main reason for the move.
Having last played for India A in 2016, Jackson last year questioned national selectors for not including any Saurashtra player in the India A side and Duleep Trophy despite the team’s consistent run in the Ranji Trophy, including four finals in the last eight seasons. Jackson said he doesn’t think about the selectors’ mindset anymore and focusses solely on performing well.
“A lot of people have been asking me that (I have made it tougher for myself by moving to a smaller team). I believe, if I score for a small team like Puducherry, it will get more noticed than my performances for Saurashtra where others are also scoring big runs like me consistently,” the batsman said.
“I am looking at it that way. And if the team qualifies for the knock-outs, you (as a senior player) are bound to get more credit. Also, I don’t think about the selectors’ point of view anymore because I tried to for a period of time but nothing happened.”
(With PTI inputs)