Players' association: Lack of clarity causing mayhem

The Lodha Committee recommendations have led to a furious race to become the players’ representatives in the Apex Council to be formed.

Lodha recommendations dilip vengsarkar players' association

“We have only followed the Lodha Committee Recommendations. We are waiting for clarity but we are going to work for the welfare of the players only,” said Vengsarkar, about the players' association.   -  R. Ragu

An open war has broken out in many Board-affiliated units where cricketers have launched an exercise to form the state players’ association.

There is a furious race to become the players’ representatives in the Apex Council which is to be formed following the Supreme Court order on the Lodha Committee Recommendations.

“There is a vertical split in many state units with players competing to grab the opportunity,” said a former Test cricketer. “There is utter confusion since there is no criteria prescribed for the formation of the players’ association. The players have no idea, the state units are clueless and the Board too has no clarity on the subject,” he added.

The Supreme Court, in its order, had put a stamp of approval on the formation of a players' association. The Players’ Association is supposed to include all international cricketers – men and women – a majority of first-class players who have retired from competitive cricket. The Players’ Association will receive financial support from the BCCI, the Supreme Court order had said. To put things in perspective it was told that the players will not act as a union.

It is understood that players in various states are involved in an exercise to form an association without even formulating the basic eligibility criteria. Another prominent cricketer, now retired, made a relevant point: Who will recognise/decide which players’ association is genuine and legal?

There are reports of players coming together in Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai, to name a few, and registering as members of the association. “What is the assurance that my body of players would be recognised by my state association. You will have issues where more than one players’ association would stake claims. In any case, it is easy to get your body registered,” a first-class cricketer noted.

The players are not even aware of their role and objective. Former Test captain Dilip Vengsarkar took the initiative in Mumbai to form a state players’ association with nine international cricketers to begin with.

“We have only followed the Lodha Committee Recommendations. We are waiting for clarity but we are going to work for the welfare of the players only,” said Vengsarkar.

In Delhi, former India wicketkeeper Surender Khanna echoed similar views. “We are doing it because the Lodha Committee has said so,” added Khanna.

The worry for the players would be the emergence of self-styled representatives.

“That threat is real,” said an international. “Who will form the guidelines. What will be the electorate? Nothing is clear. The idea is to find a place in the Apex Body or a position in the State Association. To me, it is a recipe for disaster that is going to pitch players against players. This will be the biggest test of unity for the players. If the cricketers can stay united only then the Players’ Association will serve its purpose. At present, the entire exercise is like a headless chicken.”