India's wheelchair cricketers urge BCCI to acknowledge their efforts
India's wheelchair cricketers have been waiting for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to acknowledge their status. Even after a playing a key role in national team's success, the Indian cricketers still await their dues. Recently, a number of cricketers urged the Indian cricket board to put an end to their perpetual struggles. Here is more.
The reforms mandated by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee obliged BCCI to create a committee for the development of physically challenged cricketers. However, the cricket board is yet to fulfil its constitutional obligation. Reportedly, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had also discussed the issue with the CEO of Wheelchair Cricket India Association, recently. Ever since, there has been no development on the matter.
The captain of Indian wheelchair team Somjeet Singh revealed there has been no communication regarding the policies. "There has been no communication with regards to policy formation for disabled cricketers. Sourav Ganguly had promised help. He did not have much idea about wheelchair cricket in India and he was surprised that we play at such a good level," Somjeet told PTI.
India's wicket-keeper batsman Nirmal Singh Dhillon sells milk in Moga (Punjab), while fast bowler Santosh Ranjagane repairs two-wheelers at a workshop in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Meanwhile, batsman Poshan Dhruv works at a welding shop in a village in Raipur. As COVID-19 made several businesses redundant, Dhruv was forced to work as a farm labor for a meagre daily earning of Rs. 150.
Indian captain Somjeet played a key role in forming the UP Wheelchair Cricket Association and National Association along with Squadron Leader Abhai Pratap Singh. Notably, the former suffers from complete paralysis in the lower half of the body.
Earlier this year, the BCCI cleared dues of India's physically disabled cricket team players and support staff. The money was directly transferred to players' accounts by the cricket board. Indian skipper Vikrant Keni was formerly presented with cheque of Rs. 65 lakh. Team India had defeated hosts England by 36 runs to win the T20 Physical Disabled Cricket Series in August 2019.
A BCCI official indicated that forming an official sub-committee for wheelchair cricket may take some more time. "At this point, there are no sub-committees in BCCI. The cricket for disabled will be a sub-committee of BCCI but it will take some time. The BCCI has already appealed to the Supreme Court for constitutional amendment. Let us get some clarity first," he said.