In a significant first, the BCCI has approved and recognised the Indian Cricketers' Association (ICA), the official players' body for former cricketers. Currently, the ICA is not affiliated to Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA), and will be restricted to only former players - both men and women - unlike player associations in other major international countries, which include current players too.

According to BCCI, the ICA, which was registered and incorporated as a non-profit company on July 5 is "aimed" at "conserving and advancing the welfare" of former players. "The Indian Cricketers' Association (the "ICA"), a non-profit company…has been granted recognition by the Board of Control for Cricket in India ("BCCI") as the official association for ex-cricketers in India," the BCCI said in a notice, put on its website, on Tuesday.

Currently the ICA has three initial directors: former India captain Kapil Dev, former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar and former India women's captain Shanta Rangaswamy. It is understood these three will hold the position until the ICA conducts its executive elections, expected to take place before the BCCI elections, which are scheduled for October 22.

India and Pakistan are the only major countries to not have had a recognised players' body. As for India, the BCCI has never wanted to have a third party like a player body become the bridge for negotiations with the cricketers. Instead, it has always reached out to the players directly.

The BCCI - and even the state associations - have been not just against players' associations, but also predominantly not backed players moving on to become administrators. The Lodha Committee took notice of this fact and came up with the recommendation of forming a players' body for the ex-cricketers. That recommendation is now part of the BCCI's new constitution that came into being last August after the Supreme Court mandated the Lodha recommendations.

As per constitution, one male and one female ICA representative will be part of the BCCI's nine-member Apex Council while one other ICA representative will be the part of the seven-member IPL Governing Council.

According to the Lodha Committee report, the ICA cannot be or act as a trade union and its purpose is to represent the interests of the players and look after their welfare. While the ICA will primarily be concerned with the welfare of retired players, it is understood it can also facilitate the interests of the current players. Since the ICA representatives will be part of the BCCI's powerful decision-making bodies, they can also voice views over the governance and the player-related activities that concern active cricketers. The ICA could have a say on issues such as day-night Test cricket, workload management, player security.

As for differently-abled cricketers, while in principle they are eligible to be part of ICA, it is understood the they will be admitted to membership once to BCCI recognises their cricket.

Who can become an ICA member?

  • Ex-cricketers who have played at least one international match in any format at the senior level

  • Male ex-cricketers, who have played at least 10 first-class matches* in any format of the game at the senior level

  • Female ex-cricketers, who have played at least 5 first-class matches in any format of the game at the senior level

  • Differently-abled ex-cricketers, who have played either international cricket or first-class cricket, where such cricket is recognised as such by the ICC or the BCCI and is organised by the BCCI or a body recognised by the ICC or the BCCI, in any format of the game at the senior level.

* = Every three senior 50-over matches recognised which form part of any BCCI-organised inter-state or inter-zonal tournament(s); and every five senior Twenty20 matches which form part of any BCCI-organised inter-state or inter-zonal tournament(s) shall also be classified as one 'First-class match'.

Additional reporting by Saurabh Somani