BCCI Apex Council member Shantha Rangaswamy has written to the Board to revise the hospitalisation reimbursement policy for female cricketers besides seeking a rule change to ensure "the best available team" for the inaugural Women's U-19 World Cup next year.
The ICC recently announced that the age-group World Cup will finally take place next year after it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCCI sources told PTI that the top brass has received a letter from Rangaswamy covering the existing U-19 rule for women cricketers and the hospitalisation scheme for senior team members.
"BCCI has a policy that in the domestic U-19 tournaments, a player who has played for four years cannot participate in the U-19 championship even if the age is well below 19. This ostensibly has been done to produce more cricketers," wrote Rangaswamy in the letter which is in PTI's possession.
From the senior India team, the likes of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh will be eligible to play the U-19 ICC event next year. "When it comes to World Cup, it is to be ensured that all those who have not completed 19 years are made eligible for selection, irrespective of the number of years they have played in the domestic U-19 tournaments.
"Whether this implies that in the World Cup year, this 4-year rule is relaxed to allow them to play in the domestic tournament for selectors to watch them play is to be decided.
"As the 4-year rule is primarily meant to allow a fresh crop of players to emerge in domestic cricket, there is a strong need to relax this rule at least during World Cup year to make all players (yet to complete 19 years) eligible for India selection with the sole aim of putting up the strongest team. This may kindly be examined and favourable considered," she said.
Relaxation in medical reimbursement rule
Since no first-class cricket is being held in India for women, Rangaswamy wants the BCCI to relax the 10-match eligibility criteria to claim hospitalisation expenses from the Board. With the focus on white-ball formats, the multi-day domestic event was discontinued after the 2017-18 season.
"BCCI has a reimbursement of hospitalisation expenses up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh in the entire lifetime of a player. The scheme stipulates a mandatory norm wherein a player has to have played a minimum of 10 First-Class matches to be eligible for this benefit.
"The criteria of TEN First-class matches is the same for both men and women cricketers... Women cricketers under the above norm will never be eligible for reimbursement of hospitalisation expenses as they don’t play any three-day games at all," she wrote.
Rangaswamy wants all India players to be covered under the scheme irrespective of the games they have played.
"In the light of the above anomaly, there is a strong need to revisit/reframe the norms for women cricketers under the hospitalisation reimbursement scheme. I seek your permission to place the following points for your consideration.
"The good intentions of BCCI’s Welfare Measures meant to take care of former players will not see the light of the day unless the eligibility criteria is changed for women cricketers.
"I urge this august body to formulate the policy as suggested above to ensure that the welfare measures permeates/reaches out to women cricketers of the country who have served the game well in their days," she added.
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