When it counts, only peers stand by retired scorersUpdated: Aug 06, 2020 20:31 IST
Cricketers in India keep getting money even after retirement as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made provisions to help them and their families even after their death. But there seem to be nothing for the scorers, who keep maintaining records meticulously, sitting in one corner of the ground.
A few retired scorers on the BCCI’s panel faced serious health problems during the lockdown. One of them passed away. In most cases, the 140-odd scorers, including the present ones, kept sharing the burden of treatment and hospitalisation of their colleagues among themselves as no other support was allegedly forthcoming.
Koushik Saha of Kolkata passed away in hospital after suffering from diabetes, whereas M Nagaraj of Bengaluru and Mumbai’s Ramesh Parab had to struggle a lot for the financial support for their treatment. The 64-year-old Parab remained in ICU for 35 days and his present and former colleagues contributed Rs 2.80 lakh for his successful treatment.
“ We spent our entire life counting and maintaining the records of cricketers. Are we not entitled to any benefits at this stage of life?” asked Mumbai’s Vivek Gupte.
“Like cricketers and international umpires, we scorers also need retirement benefits, pension and support for medical treatment. We are also an integral part of the system,” said Gupte, who wants all scorers on the BCCI panel to approach their respective state cricket associations to put pressure on the board to take care of the scorers also after their retirement.
He wants to BCCI to float a medical group insurance policy for all scorers, active as well as retired, to cover all ailments, hospitalisation and medicines etc. The board should also help with a lump sum ex gratia amount, in cases of emergency, to both active and retired scorers, he said.
The others who joined the group of retired scorers include Tapash Roy, Suhas Sapre, Gautam Roy, Narayan Lakhotia, MS Rahman, BV Venkatesh, R Bhaskar, Vishwas Ghosalkar, Uday Gharat, T Chennakesavalu, D Ravichandran, Narendra Nalwaya, Saurabh Chaturvedi and OP Sharma.
“We chose to write letters to our respective state associations to take up our cases with the board,” said Gupta who, along with 16 others, faced a sudden axe from the board just before the start of the cricket season last year.
“This wasn’t the right way to axe all 17 without any prior notice. The scorers’ job calls for much less physical involvement. Scorers are seated indoors (more often in air-conditioned comfort). The fitness levels (required) are restricted to normal fine eyesight and hearing ability, and normal physical fitness with abilities to concentrate and follow the game for long hours,” he added.
“Therefore, trying to equate the rule followed for umpires and match referees for scorers too, is incorrect. Ability, together with the required physical fitness, should be taken into consideration rather than the age,” he said, adding, “The retirement age should be restored as per BCCI announcement of 65 years subject to an annual medical test after 60 by BCCI panel medical practitioner and further extension, if any, would be given only subject to successful clearance.”
Besides the scorers in Mumbai and Saurashtra, retired scorers in Uttar Pradesh too have decided to approach the board through UPCA in this regard.
“For 35 years, I did only scoring and nothing else. Now at this stage of life, I am struggling for survival, including meeting expenses for my routine medical treatment,” said Saurabh Chaturvedi, who did the scoring in over 1,000 plus matches.
“I demand that the board at least consider a fixed monthly pension and or fix a lump sum package at the time of retirement of scorers in recognition for the service rendered for the past so many years,” he said.