More than 13 years after representing their country for the first time in an international tournament, Nepali women have been finally given central contracts that would at least ensure them a monthly pay check from the country’s cricket governing body.
The Nepali women have been playing for the country without any perks, a state in which many cricketers have been forced to reconsider their future. The past government honours were the only reasons they were sticking to the game.
The only source of income has been 50 dollar-per day allowance in any international tour.
But it’s the international tour that doesn’t come frequently for women’s team of an associate nation.
The men’s team of Nepal, as an ODI nation, can play a minimum 36 One Day Internationals until 2023 but all the women’s team can do is wait for qualifying tournaments which come very few in numbers.
The domestic cricket has been even more unsatisfying. The women don’t fetch much from nominal cash prizes in rare domestic tournaments.
It was only a year ago they got the taste of franchise Twenty20 league for the first time following a draft, the first of its kind in the entire women’s cricket. The Women’s Cricket League not only gave them a good competition but also money for their own value.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), in its board meeting on Tuesday, graded 19 women cricketers in three categories under its central contract. The contract will pay them Rs 15,000, Rs 12,000 and Rs 10,000 every month.
Although there still is a huge disparity in comparison to men’s central contract that will pay Rs 50,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 30,000 every month, women’s team skipper Rubin Chhetri appreciated CAN for the start. “Getting paid monthly is exciting. Although the amount is not huge, the initiation has to be appreciated,” Rubina told cricketingnepal.com.
“We have been playing for a long time and there are many players who are jobless. There are few best players who left the country, had to change the careers and there were others who got married because we had been playing for nothing in return,” the skipper added.
Former skipper Nary Thapa, current vice-captain Sita Rana Magar and Ritu Kanoujiya are the only three players from Nepal’s first squad to get central contracts. That team had participated in the 2007 ACC Women’s Tournament in Malaysia.
“With grading system now at its place, the players will now have something to play for. Only we understand how tough it was for us to spend times because we don’t have saving as the country didn’t have provision of paying its women cricketers. Even the families are against playing cricket. This will at least make them rethink,” Rubina said.
Ironically, men’s cricket had to wait even longer to win central contracts. The men’s national team played its first official tournament in 1996 ACC Trophy. Almost two generations after, cricketers were given the central contract.
It came only after Nepal participated in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, so far the team’s only participation in global cricket showpiece event.