Physically challenged cricketers receive central contracts

Towing in the lines of the BCCI central contracts, the Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India — the apex body for the cricketers — too has started a central contract for its players.

Picture for representation purpose only   -  C. VENKATACHALAPATHY

They may still be unrecognised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but India’s physically challenged cricketers too have got something to cheer about.

Towing in the lines of the BCCI central contracts, the Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI) — the apex body for the cricketers — too has started a central contract for its players.

For the first time, the top-20 cricketers have been brought into the three-tier gradation system. While players falling in Grade A would receive Rs 30,000 annually, those in Groups B and C would be given Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively. While the PCCAI officials admit that the sum is too little, they are also happy with the fact that the process has ‘finally started’.

“We were thinking about it for a while, and finally, things have fallen in place. The target is to support the players, and be with them,” PCCAI general secretary Ravi Chauhan told Sportstar.

Click to view the Players Contract List

The general secretary believes that this monetary benefit would at least help the poor cricketers. “The preference has been given to the poor cricketers initially. The target is to give them a mental boost,” Chauhan said, adding that the members of the association have donated money to start the initiative. “It is going to be difficult for sure, but we will try,” Chauhan said, adding that the list of players would increase in the next couple of months.

Even though the Lodha Committee recommendations suggest that the PCCAI should also be recognised by the BCCI, things haven’t changed yet. However, when the PCCAI officials recently met Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Vinod Rai, he assured them of holding talks after the IPL gets over.

While the officials are looking forward to that meeting, they have also made it a point to let the game grow. The Indian team will take on Afghanistan in a three-match series in Greater Noida from May 22-24. This is for the first time, a five-star hotel has come forward to provide free staying facilities for the players.

That’s not all.

Bhajji Sports — a sporting gear company run by India spinner Harbhajan Singh — has also agreed to provide apparels for free. “This is a big thing for the players. With people like Harbhajan and MS Dhoni helping us, we can dream big,” Chauhan said. Interestingly, Dhoni’s sports apparel line had given free outfits to the team during its trip to Afghanistan.

Pakistan for Asia Cup?

The association plans to host the Asia Cup for the physically challenged cricketers in Delhi-NCR in August-September. While the PCCAI officials have already invited Pakistan for the tournament, it is awaiting government’s clearance. “The talks are on, let’s see how it goes,” said Chauhan.

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