Players’ representative in top council tells Board: kept in dark on key issues

Sports News

Shared News: October 14, 2020 7:49:17 am
Currently, former India captain Ganguly, Shah and Dhumal are among the BCCI office-bearers on the Council.
THE INDIAN cricket board is facing questions from a players’ representative in the Apex Council, which was set up by the Supreme Court to oversee the game, over inadequate communication, apathy in addressing welfare demands and failure to share minutes of meetings held over two months, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said that in an email sent days before the Council’s next meeting Saturday, former India opener Anshuman Gaekwad also questioned the lack of IPL invitations for all its members. At the same time, he wrote, it was “eye-pleasing” to see the BCCI’s office-bearers in the UAE watching the IPL.

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A BCCI office-bearer confirmed to The Indian Express that the Board has received Gaekwad’s mail. Gaekwad, who represents the Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA) on the Council along with former women’s captain Shantha Rangaswamy, did not respond to phone calls and text messages seeking comment. In his email, Gaekwad wrote that BCCI office-bearers haven’t replied to letters sent by the ICA.

When contacted, ICA president and former Test batsman Ashok Malhotra said: “We have written thrice to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and treasurer Arun Dhumal but are yet to get a reply. There are some demands that we want the Board to consider, like increasing pension, raising medical insurance from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, and giving pension to widows of first-class cricketers. We want pension for players who have played 10-24 first-class games. So far, no decision has been taken on any of these issues and there has been no reply to our mails.”

The ICA has also asked for release of the benevolent fund of former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, who returned to the game as a coach after a ban on alleged match-fixing charges. Malhotra said the ICA’s two representatives are “following up” on these issues.

Based on Justice R M Lodha’s recommendations, which subsequently became part of a Supreme Court order, the Apex Council comprises BCCI office-bearers, a state unit nominee, women and men players’ representatives, and a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Currently, former India captain Ganguly, Shah and Dhumal are among the BCCI office-bearers on the Council.

BCCI sources said Gaekwad’s email has raised “very pertinent points” about the lack of transparency in cricket administration and indicates how Ganguly’s presence “hasn’t really empowered the players”.

In his mail, Gaekwad said he is aware that BCCI office-bearers have the “mandate to take day-to-day decisions”, and about the pressures they face while taking important calls regarding the IPL and other cricket engagements.

However, he wrote that by keeping the Apex Council in the dark, the office-bearers have put its members in an embarrassing situation, especially when the media, state units and cricketers ask them about key issues.

The former Baroda player, who represented the country in 40 Tests and 15 ODIs in the 1970s and 1980s, said that since the players’ representatives were elected by over 1,500 cricketers, and not just by the state units, they have a responsibility to keep them informed about issues related to their welfare.

The members’ ignorance doesn’t paint a good impression about the functioning of the Council, wrote Gaekwad.