World’s richest cricket body announces equal pay for men and women cricketers

India’s women cricket players will be paid at par with men to represent the country at the international level, the country’s governing body for the sport has declared.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Thursday that women players at the international level will receive the same match fees as men across all formats under the agreement.

This includes Rs 1.5m (£15,700) for tests, Rs 600,000 for one-day internationals and Rs 300,000 for T20 internationals.

Jay Shah, the secretary of one the world’s richest cricket bodies, called the move the “first step towards tackling discrimination”.

Pay parity has been a point of discussion in Indian cricket for a long time.

The raised amount is significantly greater than what Indian women’s cricketers are currently paid – Rs 400,000 for tests and Rs 100,000 for T20s and one-day internationals.

Under their annual contracts, women cricketers in the highest retainer bracket earn Rs 5m, whearas Grade B players earn Rs 3m and Grade C players make Rs 1m.

In comparison, their male counterparts in the Grade A+ category earn around Rs 70m annually, while Grade A, B and C take away Rs 50m, Rs 30m and Rs 10m respectively.

The disparity showed that lowest-graded male cricketers still earned significantly more than top-tier women cricketers.

“We are implementing pay equity policy for our contracted BCCI women cricketers,” Mr Shah wrote on Twitter.

“The match fee for both men and women cricketers will be same as we move into a new era of gender equality in (Indian) cricket,” Mr Shah added. “Pay equity was my commitment to our women cricketers.”

Former India women team captain Mithali Raj hailed the announcement as “historic”.

“The pay equity policy along with the (Women’s Indian Premier League) next year, we are ushering a new era for women’s cricket in India,” Ms Raj wrote on Twitter.

“One step at a time. The team has been doing very well for the past four or five years,” added the cricketing great. “We are entering a new era for women cricketers.”

Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian women’s team skipper, welcomed the decision, saying it was “a red letter day”.

“I am sure a lot of girls in India will take cricket as their professional career.”

The BCCI’s announcement comes three months after New Zealand Cricket and the country’s players’ association in July signed a five-year deal that will see male and female cricketers receive equal pay.

Earlier, Cricket Australia in 2017 allocated women the same base hourly pay rate as men in a five-year collective bargaining agreement.