How absurd would it be if members of Indian team were asked to pay their way when they went abroad to represent the country? Well, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) believes there is nothing wrong in asking its players to pay for the privilege of representing their team on tours to Australia and England.
The DDCA is taking an under-22 team to Australia and an under-19 team to England on official tours and players who can afford it have been asked to fork out Rs 1 lakh to defray expenses.
“It's an official tour, 50% of which is being paid by players and 50% has been taken care of by DDCA,” said Sunil Dev, DDCA Sports Secretary. “We want them to pay because we thought certain things given free are not good. Still six players have not been charged a penny.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India would not comment on the DDCA's decision to charge players. “This is a matter of a state board so BCCI can't comment on this,” Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told HT.
The players themselves don't seem perturbed. “My parents are employed and we were in a position to pay, so we did,” said a player who will be touring Australia.
Paying to be part of an official tour is certainly not the norm. “We have never paid anything while representing the board,” said former Delhi and India all-rounder Madan Lal. “If the association is keen to take junior players for an exposure trip it is good, but why should they charge the players?”
As always with the DDCA, there is more than one opinion on why this tour is being undertaken. A Sports Committee member who thought the tour served “no purpose” said, “This tour is an opportunity for some officials to end their holidays on a high note. Australia aur England ka visa lag jayega, aur kya chahiye?” The under-19 tour to England is set for mid-July and all but three of the players are forking out Rs 1 lakh each.