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|February 24, 2000||
Perform and be paidSujata Prakash
An interesting development in English cricket comes in the form of the ECB announcing a scheme to reward players who perform well on the field as well as bonuses for wins. An extra amount of 750,000 pounds has been set aside for this purpose, in the hope that this will provide the incentive and motivation that the national side seems to be lacking in.
The BCCI could give a thought to adopting this tactic for our own team. At the moment they are struggling with the same problem as the English team; too many losses in too short a span of time. The fighting spirit has taken a knock and while ideally money should not be the motivator for getting a better performance from players, it might help them to put in a greater effort if they know that it will be recognized with a reward.
Of course, a player like Sachin Tendulkar would not bother with bonuses for work well done. But we are not concerned about people like Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid or Jadeja who have the talent, will and nerve to want to do well no matter what. It is our bowlers and tail enders who provide such a sorry spectacle with their listlessness.
A keen cricketer in Hongkong thinks that this kind of remuneration is an absolute must for the Indians. He says, ''Our tail-enders must be the worst in the world! I can never forget the WC and that match against Zimbabawe. Today if the situation demands that the last four batsmen need to give 10 runs I'd never put my money on them delivering. But if you think of it this way, how many of them make the kind of money the top cricketers do? And how many get man of the match awards? None, apart from bowlers like Kumble or Srinath. So we need to do something to spark the enthusiasm of players like Kanitkar, Agarkar, Nikhil Chopra, Dighe, Mohanty and whoever else. If one of them makes a match winning 20 runs, or another saves 20 by not giving any extras in his bowling figures and fielding brilliantly, don't just give them a pat on the back, give them a check and a big hand in front of everyone. We have to get these guys to perform somehow, to justify their place in the team and provide fitting support for the good players."
The concern everyone is sharing now is precisely this. You cannot have the top 2 or 3 batsmen try to shoulder the responsibility of winning a match by themselves. Besides, the public too would love to see real teamwork against good sides like Australia or Pakistan. Sadly, this was far from the case in the recently concluded tour. It does lead one to wonder what might be if performance-related pay is implemented and it actually works. Would a player throw himself to the ground more speedily and willingly to stop that ball from reaching the boundary if he knows that three such stops will not go unacknowledged? Or might No. 10 be prudent enough to not give away his wicket so generously if he was sure that in this crunch situation his bat can lead him to a generous reward?
It's a debatable issue. Some would argue no doubt, that the hardest part would be to make clear guidelines on what constitutes a good performance and not have a player sulking because he thought he deserved to get something and didn't. It will be interesting to see how the ECB goes about it. The chairman of selectors, David Graveny, has flown to Zimbabwe to discuss this matter with Nasser Hussain, who in turn surely would have talked it over with his team mates for feedback.
Likewise, if the BCCI is thinking about adopting this scheme, then hopefully it will not be without the input of the captain and coach of the national side, who seem to be left out when it comes to any decision making by the board. The last thing our cricket needs is another contentious rift and the board coming in for more flak.
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