Former Mumbai skipper Milind Rege raised a storm at Friday’s Annual General Meeting of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) where he brought to light the issue of Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach Sulakshan Kulkarni getting a large share of the prize money after winning the 40th Ranji Trophy title in the last season.
Sharad Pawar, who was elected president unopposed, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan were amongst the other office-bearers on the dais. The MCA had announced a Rs two crore prize money for the Mumbai Ranji-winning team members, matching the prize money of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The prize money was distributed to players and support staff during a grand function on May 29.
It is learnt that Kulkarni got around Rs 28 lakh — much higher than what players like Aditya Tare and Abhishek Nayar, who got around Rs 22 lakh each despite playing all the 11 matches of the championship. The prize money varied from player to player depending on the number of matches played in the season.
It is learnt that the support staff, which include the team manager, physio, masseur and a liason officer, were paid close to Rs one lakh each.
“There should be no disparity of payments in the support staff. It is unfair that the coach gets more than the players,” Rege told MiD DAY later. “Let me make this clear. I have no issues with whatever the coach has got. But it cannot exceed more than the players. Also, the bonus to the coach should not be from the players’ kitty. The coach and its support staff are contracted with the Association. So, the bonus that you give should be from the MCA’s kitty and not from the players’ prize money. The prize money is only for the players, as they are not contracted. They get only their match fees,” added Rege, who was the chairman of Mumbai senior selection committee till last year.
Ravi Savant clarifies
Though there was no clear answer to Rege’s query at the AGM, Ravi Savant, who chaired the meeting as MCA president, later clarified: “It is an agreement drafted with the senior coach that he will get equal money to the players in case we win the championship. So the prize money was divided into 16. The coach also gets a minimum guaranteed amount which is around Rs 18 lakh. That’s his remuneration. You add the prize money to it (and) so it was more,”
Regarding the disparity in support staff payments, Savant said: “No support staff is paid as much as the players. They may get some bonus, apart from their monthly remuneration. I don’t remember (how much they got).”
It is learnt that senior members of the Mumbai team had requested the MCA officials to “take care” of the support staff members after the Ranji win at the Wankhede Stadium.
Rege said the contract itself is faulty. “When India won the 2011 World Cup, coach Gary Kirsten was not rewarded at par with the players. Kirsten got what the other support staff members received. It is my impression that the bonus to the support staff is paid not from the prize money but from the Indian board. This is a normal practice. How could the MCA’s managing committee pass such a contract?” Rege asked. Coach Kulkarni said: “I have not got more than the players. And whatever I have got is as per the terms in my contract.”