BCCI players’ body takes first step, insurance, jobs on the table
The Indian cricket board’s recently formed players body, Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) held its first meeting here on Monday, a day after the BCCI apex council allotted an initial grant of R2 crore. The ICA has 1,748 retired first-class cricketers who have played at least 10 matches. However, limited funds and current India players being kept outside its ambit are seen as limiting the body.
ICA may soon have to relocate out of Mumbai given the property rates in the metro. Bengaluru is in the short-list with Ahmedabad and Kolkata also being considered. “ICA will continue to have its registered office in Mumbai. But we need to get affordable office space first, and that shall happen in 15-20 days. We have been promised more funds, so let’s see,” said ICA president Ashok Malhotra, a former India batsman.
ICA officials say they are exploring ways to become self-reliant so that they don’t have to knock on the BCCI’s door all the time. They have begun brain-storming on creating employment opportunities for cricketers post-retirement.
One idea is to identify a pool of cricketers who are into professional coaching and seek jobs. “The biggest asset we have is a massive database of cricketers. There is a wealth of talent there. They can be of use for associations on the lookout for coaches, the new North-East states for example. There are many other cricket jobs and we can be of help there,” says former India batsman Yajurvindra Singh, an ICA member representative.
The two major proposals put forth by ICA in discussions with BCCI have been to provide additional medical insurance and pension to all retired cricketers. Eligible players now get a life-time medical cover of R5 lakh, but it is deemed inadequate for aged players suffering from ailments. Discussions are also underway on increasing pension. “The BCCI point of view is to give pension only to those above 55 as they argue the rest are employed and are hence covered. They have asked us to revise our proposal, but we believe there should be no such age limit and everyone should benefit. There will be more talks on these issues,” Malhotra said.
However, minus current India players, ICA can’t take a pro-active role in discussions on issues like day-night Tests or the four-day Test proposal. Malhotra is hopeful his body can make a difference in the long run. “Unlike in the past, it’s not an association that will get closed down. We are here by the order of the Supreme Court. With so many cricketers on a single platform, players’ interest will be taken care of,” he said.