Mumbai: The scoreboard has stopped ticking for now owing to the COVID-19 pandemic but to ensure that the city's scorers, heavily reliant on local matches for their livelihoods, are not hit by hardship, a group of former umpires has decided to lend a helping hand.

The group, led by former Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) managing committee member and ex-BCCI umpire Ganesh Iyer, has set up a fund to ensure that local match officials and scorers are provided some assistance at a time when not just cricket but all sport has come to a grinding halt.

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Maharashtra is among the worst-affected in the country with more than 300 COVID-19 positive cases.

"We, umpires have formed a group 'Lending a Hand' to help umpires and scorers whose livelihood depends on cricket," Iyer told PTI on Thursday (April 2).

MCA tournament coordinator Abhay Hadap said a scorer gets Rs 1,500 per match per day and an umpire is paid Rs 2,000 per day per match.

And Iyer said income has dried up for them as of now.

"We appealed to the members to contribute voluntarily. We have also identified those scorers and umpires, whose livelihood is dependent on local matches.

"Till now we have been successful in raising Rs 2.5 lakh and the process of raising funds will continue. A few of the current Apex Council members of the Mumbai Cricket Association have also chipped in generously."

According to Iyer, each of the scorers and umpires would be given Rs 3,000 individually.

"By Friday, 47 umpires and 15 scorers — a total 62 persons, would have been given the first amount of Rs 3,000 each, the process of payment began yesterday through credits directly into their bank accounts and the next instalments (would be given) in next 7-10 days," he said.

Iyer said few umpires and scorers, whose children are well settled, did not take the money and asked to help the needy first.

The MCA has suspended all the matches which were to be played from March 14 to April 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown. The knockouts of the famed Kanga League were also postponed.

"There were at least 25 incomplete tournaments this season as the matches go on till May end. For example, remaining matches of the Corporation Shield were still to be played.

"When the knockouts are played there are at least 120 matches. Also there were 10-15 private tournaments that were yet to be completed. So, yes the losses for umpires and scorers are huge," Hadap said, elaborating on the financial hit to the scorers and umpires.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to 50 deaths in the country so far and infected 2,000 people, has claimed over 40,000 lives globally.

Another MCA office-bearer said the matches, which have been postponed, might not even happen.

An active scorer said that there are eight BCCI approved scorers in Mumbai and about 70 of them operating locally.

He also said that only one scorer is appointed by MCA for a local match, while there are two for BCCI games.