The former England cricket coach Duncan Fletcher will earn substantially more than just the satisfaction of getting one over on his old employers if he secures a historic victory for India this summer.
Fletcher, who was appointedcoach of India in April, will receive close to £1 million in his first year in the high-profile job if he leads his new team to a first Test series win in England for 25 years.
The 62-year-old Zimbabwean, who guided England to Ashes vic-tory in 2005, is already the highest-paidcoach in international cricket, on an esti-mated annual salary of £800,000. Now the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) plan to offer a minimum bonus of £150,000 each to Fletcher and his players if they win this summer's alluring series.
The BCCI have identified the Test series, which begins on 21 July, as one of their top targets, believing success will help to secure future lucrative television and commercial deals. If India win, they will retain the No 1 spot in the Test rankings; victory in the one-dayers will establish them as the world's leading limited-overs side. The board have not ruled outincreasing the bonuses on offer if Fletcher takes India to victory in both series, which would significantly raise the BCCI's negotiating power.
The BCCI are worth an estimated £1.5 billion, making them one of the richest sports organisations in the world. The bulk of the BCCI's money is earned through the sale of TV rights for India's matches and the Indian Premier League, which they own. The current deal for broadcasting India internationals is worth £315m, with negotiations for a new deal due to open next year. In 2008, the BCCI sold TV rights for the IPL to Sony for £1.1bn for a 10-year period.
This year alone the BCCI have earned £80m in a five-year deal with Nike as their official kit supplier and a tie-up for the sale of media rights. The board will also negotiate the sale of mobile-phone and internet rights for the team. The amount offered to Fletcher and his side, unprecedented by the standards of international cricket, underlines their growing financial might. The previous coach, Gary Kirsten, was on a comparativelymodest salary of £400,000 a year – a bargain given the team's success during his tenure, which included winning this year's World Cup.
The great batsman Sunil Gavaskar was among those who argued for the appointment of an Indian coach and Fletcher, the fourth foreigner to take charge, knows failure is not an option. A BCCI source said: "We spent a lot of time consulting senior players about Fletcher's suitability for the job. It was a controversial decision because there are many within Indiancricket who want an Indian coach. There is a lot of goodwill for him and he has an excellent track record, but an organisation like the BCCI will act quickly to make changes if things don't go well. We've done it in the past and are prepared to do it again."
India arrive in the UK after a lucrative few months. Those who played in the World Cup were given a bonus of £300,000 each from the BCCI, in addition to plots of land, houses, sports cars and cash from state governments.
Fletcher, who in 1999 became England's first foreign coach, is in the West Indies with the team, though his first serious involvement will be in the UK, when India will play four Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 match. Established players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, who are not in the Caribbean, were included in the tour squad. Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli have been dropped, while Sehwag will join the party late and will miss the First Test at Lord's on 21 July.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sree Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra, Wridhiman Saha, Virender Sehwag.
India’s foreign coaches
John Wright: New Zealander became India's first foreign coach in 2000. Lost to Australia in 2003 World Cup final. Introduced tougher mentality and new era of success, particularly away from the sub-continent. Now New Zealand coach.
Greg Chappell: The Australian had terrible relationships with senior players such as his captain, Sourav Ganguly, and Sachin Tendulkar. Media and public disliked him. Left after first-round exit in 2007 World Cup.
Gary Kirsten: South African had a hugely successful spell, culminating in this year's World Cup victory. Very popular with players, captain MS Dhoni and public. Left after World Cup to take over South Africa.