After a 13-year wait, the Cricket Association of Nepal has made history by awarding 19 women cricketers a central contract, making them eligible for monthly allowances.
Contracts will be awarded in three separate brackets of Rs 15,000, Rs 12,000, and Rs 10,000 every month. Nepal Women made their debut at the international stage in 2007 and had to rely on a $50-a-day allowance on international tours till now.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), in its board meeting on Tuesday, graded 19 women cricketers in three categories under its central contract.
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 23, 2020
Speaking on the occasion, the captain of Nepal, Rubina Chhetri said, in an interview with cricketingnepal.com : “Getting paid monthly is exciting. Although the amount is not huge, the initiation has to be appreciated.”
The monthly pay-grade still features a disparity with the men’s team, who are paid in brackets of Rs 50,000, Rs 40,000, and Rs 30,000. However, the men’s team had to wait almost 20 years to be awarded their first contracts.
Chhetri went on to say, “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.”
Besides the money for international tours, Nepali women had to depend on the extremely nominal cash prizes from rare domestic tournaments. They last participated at the 2007 ACC Women’s Tournament, and international tours are hard to come by. However, the recently conducted Women’s Cricket League in Nepal allowed for franchisees to come in and has since seen a change in circumstances surrounding women’s cricket.
The skipper further spoke on the importance of this historic move, “With the 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 time because we don’t have savings as the country didn’t have the provision of paying its women cricketers. Even the families are against playing cricket. This will at least make them rethink.”
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. This symbolic gesture is undoubtedly going to boost women’s cricket in Nepal.