BCCI announces pension scheme
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced a pension scheme for retired Test players and umpires. Critics have long complained that the board does not look after its retired players, and Jagmohan Dalmiya has lived up to his promise of finding a remedy to this.
According to the scheme, as reported by the Press Trust of India, 174 ex-players and officials will receive a monthly pension of Rs 5000 (US$113 appx.) each. The scheme kicks into effect from this month, and will last for the duration of the beneficiary's lifetime. It applies to all beneficiaries equally, with no distinction between a player who has played just one Test and a fifty-Test veteran, or between a well-off former cricketer like Sunil Gavaskar and an older player who has fallen upon hard times.
Players and umpires who have played or officiated in only one-day internationals, and not Tests, are not part of the scheme as yet. A notable omission from the list is Mohammad Azharuddin, who has played 99 Tests, but has been blacklisted by the BCCI. Azharuddin had received a life-ban from the board on allegations of matchfixing, and his benefit purse, running into a few crore rupees (more than US$1 million) has also been withheld.
The monthly pension of Rs 5000 may not appear to be much in today's times, but it would at least ensure that ex-players do not slip into penury, as has happened to some sportsmen from other sports in India. A lacuna remains in the scheme, as one needs to have played Tests and not just one-dayers to benefit from it, but it is nevertheless a welcome step forward.