Indian Cricketers Association begins fundraising to help needy cricketers
While the cash-rich Indian board can easily survive the current crisis, lesser-established domestic cricketers face an uncertain future.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 08:23 IST
Kamal Juneja, who played 42 first-class matches for Uttar Pradesh through the 1970s, is a retired first-class umpire. He no longer gets a pay cheque from his ex-employer, Mohan Meakin, while the pension of ₹15,000 he receives from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not quite enough. Juneja is one among the many needy cricketers for whom the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA)—cricket’s players body in India—is collecting funds to help amid the nationwide lockdown and lack of part-time employment opportunities.
“It has been three days since we sent out a communication, and we have already collected ₹24 lakh, which is encouraging,” ICA president Ashok Malhotra said. ICA is in the process of identifying 25-30 cricketers who can be assisted with a monthly amount of ₹25,000.
While the cash-rich Indian board can easily survive the current crisis, lesser-established domestic cricketers face an uncertain future. Players with less than 10 domestic matches under their belt do not qualify to benefit from the BCCI’s medical insurance scheme, whereas those who have played fewer than 25 domestic matches also stand ineligible to benefit from its pension scheme. Moreover, not all state associations support these cricketers. “There are some who may be hospitalised. We are basically looking to identify those (aged) above 60 who are in need. A sum of ₹10 lakh has been put aside for this purpose from the ICA fund, and contributions are coming individually too,” Malhotra said.
Cricketers currently residing outside India, some of whom are not even part of the 1,750-member ICA, too have come forward. Some ex-cricketers who have a voice for singing have hummed a few lines, seeking contributions from fellow players. The ICA plans to invite contributions till May 15. “I am a little disappointed that our great players have not yet come forward to support. We have players who have played 50, 100 Test matches for India; they should come forward to support the community,” Malhotra added.
Asked if he had reached out to all mainstream players for contributions, Malhotra replied in the affirmative.