It`s passion for game not money that drives Mithali & Co
Colombo: The huge gap between the pay cheques of Indian men and women cricketers notwithstanding, the manner in which Mithali Raj and Co. Go about their task gives one the impression that they are hardly perturbed by this disparity.
While the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli earn a whopping Rs 7 lakh per Test, their women counterparts have to be satisfied with a mere fee of Rs 1 lakh, not per match, but per international series.
"After we have come under BCCI wing, the players get Rs 1 lakh per international series," women`s team manager Vidya Yadav informed.
In fact, even the Tripura Ranji team players earn a match fee of Rs 1.5 lakh per domestic first-class game and Rs 35,000 for one-day matches.
Asked about the match fee for domestic tournaments for women, Yadav said: "Players get Rs 2500 per match apart from DA."
Besides getting Rs 7 lakh for a Test match, the Indian men`s team earn Rs 4 lakh per ODI and Rs 2 lakh for T20 for being in the playing XI and half if he is part of the squad.
Skipper Mithali tried to put things into perspective.
"We can`t complaint as to why the men get paid more. It`s simple...They earn much more revenue and thus get paid more.
"But the situation in women`s cricket has improved a lot from the early 90s when lot of talented women cricketers had to leave the game due to lack of monetary assistance," said Mithali.
Manager Yadav said that any change doesn`t happen overnight.
"Look, it will take a lot of time but change is happening. When my brother Shivlal Yadav played for India, he used to get Rs 5000 for a Test match and compare what cricketers of current times are getting.
"Obviously, this change hasn`t happened overnight," Yadav said.
As they quietly trudged out from their dressing room at the Bloomfield Cricket Club ground, there weren`t hordes of cameramen or journalists, but the Indian cricketers seemed unperturbed by the lack of attention.
While each and every movement of Dhoni and his boys is dissected keeping in mind the minutest of details, the quiet entry of the Indian eves in the island nation hasn`t bothered many.
The intensity and resolve was very much there, though, during the two-hour practice session.
The Indian women`s team hasn`t played any longer version matches since 2006 and Mithali felt that having only played ODIs and T20 Internationals, it will be difficult to switch to the Test mode.
"Initially, we used to miss playing Test matches for a year but now it will be difficult for us to switch to longer format as we have only T20s and ODIs. If Tests are scheduled in the series, it will be difficult for us," the Indian captain said.
The Indian women`s team has consistently reached the semi-final stages of the ICC but she admitted that they need to step up their game in order to beat top teams like Australia and England.
"We must admit that we don`t have the physique to consistently hit big shots but we need to find the gaps and focus on our strengths," she said.