May 17, 2012

Indian cricket

More frowns than smiles

Carlyle Laurie

The BCCI’s disbursement of a one-time payment to retired cricketers in acknowledgement for their services to Indian cricket has helped many players. But those who haven't got their due are unhappy. Makarand Waingankar, writing in the Hindu, says that if the scheme benefited 165 former cricketers, it has hurt cricketers who played Ranji Trophy till 1957–58 when it was played on a knock-out basis.

This is the biggest blunder that the Board has committed. It is shocking that consideration wasn't given to those who have played in the pre 1957-58 era and are now more than 80-years-old. Most of them are ailing with age related problems, expecting their children to pay for their illness.

Younger players who are still earning have got their bank balance enhanced but the real needy, the old cricketers who have no means of earning continue to suffer. The three criteria for allocation of money made it obvious that youngsters will be the only ones to benefit as the cut off retirement date was 2003-04.

The criteria should have stated a minimum age of 60. Had that been the case, many old cricketers could have profited. Not only was there no age limit but a further obstacle was created in the name of a minimum of 75 first class matches. Till 1985 only 55 Ranji matches per season were played. This means a player could play maximum of four league matches per season in the zonal league. To play 75 first class matches he would have had to play non-stop for 19 years!

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