Pay equity for India women cricketers is not a destination, it’s just a journey: Anjum Chopra

Former India captain Anjum Chopra feels that the BCCI’s decision to pay centrally-contracted female cricketers the same match fees as their male counterparts is a massive development, but also just “momentary.”

“Equal pay parity is a brilliant decision taken by the BCCI. It’s not a new dawn. These things are momentary. They are rewards that players are receiving because of their consistent performances over the years,” Anjum told The Indian Express.

“These rewards are not the destination, it is just a journey. As a player, you love all the accolades. This is a recognition of their hard work. Players now know that if they keep producing good results, more rewards will follow,” she said.

Now the Indian women cricketers will receive Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI, and Rs 3 lakh per T20I, the same as their male counterparts. Earlier, the women players received Rs 1 lakh each for ODIs and T20Is while the match fee for a Test match was Rs 4 lakh.

However, the gap between BCCI’s annual retainers for men and women players is massive. India’s Grade A+ male cricketers earn Rs 7 crore, while those in the highest retainer bracket in women’s cricket take home Rs 50 lakh.

“The impact I see in the long run or the immediate future of the players is like a young kid who wants to take the sport as a career,” she added.

It has been quite a remarkable few months for the Indian women’s cricket team. They triumphed in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, beating Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final. Earlier, they had also won the country’s first-ever silver medal in cricket at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. In the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the BCCI, the board had also announced that the first-ever women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to take place next year.

“It has been an excellent few months for women’s cricket. As I said, it is just the beginning. In the long run, this move will make a big impact on the current Under-15 age-group. In the future, things will improve, and the current match fee will also increase,” Anjum said.

“Now, the girls don’t have to worry about buying costly bats and kits. There won’t be any struggle. Hopefully, more good results by the senior team in the future will improve women’s cricket,” she added.

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