The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is generating greater revenues than it ever has, but that growth has not filtered down to the men most responsible for it: the national team. For the financial year 2017-18, the BCB is expected to earn $30 million, but they will spend only 1.8% of that amount on the national team's salaries.
Documents obtained by ESPNcricinfo show that the BCB will spend $550,500 in total yearly players' salary for the centrally contracted cricketers. Over half of the BCB's earnings can be said to be generated from the senior team: $17 million comes from title sponsors for international home series, national team sponsorship, ICC and ACC events, as well as international TV rights. The BCB will earn $1.4 million in this period, as part of a $20-million broadcast deal with Gazi TV that ends in 2019. The players' salaries constitute just over 3% of this $17 million.
It isn't as if the BCB has not recognised the players' contribution at all. In May this year, the board raised player salaries, though they still didn't match those of Zimbabwe or Ireland players. The highest paid Bangladesh players - Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim - are set to earn $63,000 annually, a 68% rise from the $37,500-retainer that Grade A-plus cricketers earned the previous year. In the next four grades, players are paid between $45,000 and $15,000 annually.
The players' match fees in all three formats have also seen an increase; a Test appearance fetches $4,300, an ODI $2,500, and for T20s, $1,250 per game.
This year's salary hike is mainly down to negotiations between senior players and BCB officials earlier in the year. Players like Mortaza, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Tamim Iqbal have been at the forefront of negotiations on big and small issues for the senior team. But what they put forward as their end of the bargain doesn't usually contain properly vetted numbers from within the BCB's financial reports, on which they can base their demands.
For instance, they don't know how much the BCB earns from ICC events ($9 million in 2017-18) or from the broadcast deal. They also aren't fully aware of team sponsorship deals. It hasn't helped that the players' body, the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB), has become largely ineffective over the years.
The influence of these senior players is also limited to their team, and not for professional cricketers throughout the country. The BCB has been paying first-class cricketers a monthly salary since 2012, but has talked about shutting that down this year. Instead, most professional cricketers rely heavily on the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), the domestic one-day competition, for income. A top cricketer can earn between $40,000 and $60,000 there.
Another source of income now is the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Mushfiqur, Tamim, Shakib, Mashrafe, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman are projected to earn between $62,500 and $125,000 from BPL contracts for this year's tournament (the franchises don't disclose icon players' fees). But the DPL is poorly run, often with no paperwork to back players' claims for payment, or even a proper yearly schedule. In many seasons, the DPL is delayed for months, keeping even the top players uncertain about their financial future.
In contrast, a six-man foreign coaching staff stands to earn around $1.1 million - double the total spent on player - in salaries. In the last few years, the BCB has relied on a number of foreign coaches, beginning with Chandika Hathurusingha and Heath Streak in mid-2014. They have since replaced Streak with Courtney Walsh. Coaching staff aren't paid match fees, however.