Welfare of cricketers 'first and foremost', says ICA president Ashok Malhotra

Ashok Malhotra, the Indian Cricketers Association president, has said the focus will be on pension policy and junior cricketers' payment in first meeting.

Ashok Malhotra (in picture) was elected the president of the Indian Cricketers Association unopposed.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The focus will be on drawing a road map for the future when the Indian Cricketers Association holds its first meeting at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Former India cricketer Ashok Malhotra -- who was elected the president of the ICA unopposed -- says that the ‘first and foremost’ objective is to look after the development and welfare of the cricketers.

“We will be talking about pension policy and the junior international cricketers’ payment should be on a par with a Ranji Trophy cricketer,” Malhotra told Sportstar.

“Now a player is eligible for pension only after he plays a certain amount of Ranji Trophy matches and we will discuss about the idea of even cricketers who have played lesser amount of domestic cricket get some amount of pension. There is a lot to be done,” Malhotra, a former national selector, said.

When he meets the other members of the ICA, Malhotra plans to have a ‘brain-storming session’ to come out with a best plan.

With BCCI’s president-elect Sourav Ganguly already making it clear that he will improve the domestic cricketing structure first, Malhotra agrees that it will be easier for the ICA to execute its plans.

“We will get a BCCI president, who has been a former India captain. Who knows what the situations are and how much the former cricketers are suffering. Some of them are not even financially settled, and since Sourav has already stressed on first-class cricket, it will be of immense help,” the former cricketer said.

Read: BCCI was in an emergency-like situation, says Ganguly

This is for the first-time that a cricketers’ association has been recognised by the BCCI, as per its new constitution and Malhotra calls it a welcome move.

“There have been cricketers association in the past but they have not been recognised. So, we have now the responsibility towards the BCCI and the cricketers -- who voted for us. Definitely we are answerable to them. They will have questions, queries and there will be different viewpoints. It will not be easy to satisfy everybody but we will try our best to do the job properly,” Malhotra said.

The fact that more and more former cricketers are getting registered themselves in the ICA also excites Malhotra. “ICA is a new body. We will get the support of the BCCI, plus we would like the great cricketers to join us because it is their association,” Malhotra said, revealing that on Tuesday, former India batsman and a noted commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar has filled up the membership form for the ICA.

“This is a big plus for us and this shows that top cricketers are showing interest about the association. At the end of the day, it is for all the cricketers to come out and support the ICA -- which will actually act as the bridge between the cricketers and the BCCI,” Malhotra said.

While Malhotra is the president of the association, Hitesh Majmudar and V. Krishnaswamy have been elected the secretary and treasurer respectively. Yajurvindra Singh, Rajesh Nayyar (Walia) are member representatives, while Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy are the male and female representatives to the BCCI Apex Council.

Former India international Surinder Khanna has been elected the representative in the IPL Governing Council.  It is believed that the ICA will nominate male or female representatives to fill vacancies in the state apex councils.