New Delhi: Just as the BCCI didn’t allow the raging pandemic situation to deter them from hosting the IPL, the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA), the official association for ex-cricketers in India, too hasn’t let the issue affect their working too much.

The ICA Board simply got on a Zoom call with their state representatives to discuss the issues they were facing and the headway they had made in furthering the cause of both present and past cricketers.

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The Supreme Court had mandated the setting up of the ICA and made it clear that just as two of the ICA’s representatives would be part of the BCCI’s Apex Council, so would be the case at each state association affiliated to the BCCI. That part, however, has not been all smooth sailing.

“We have two representatives in the BCCI’s Apex Council and they attend all the BCCI Apex Council meetings. But while many states have followed suit and appointed our state representatives on their Apex Councils, some states are not co-operating, forcing us to point out their own rules to them,” said Ashok Malhotra, the former Indian player and serving ICA president.

During the online interactions, the ICA Board stressed on the need to have a uniform structure in place in each state and asked their state representatives to work on the same.

“We need to create jobs and employment for our former cricketers who have given their sweat and blood for the game,” was the message from Yajurvindra Singh, the member representative (male) in the ICA.

“We need to bring in uniformity when it comes to welfare measures and remuneration,” he stressed.

Many state associations, each of whom still have varying ways of being voted into office, have bought into the suggestions made by the ICA representatives but some are yet to grasp the reality of the situation. 

“The ICA after all is a body of former cricketers, so our intentions are well meaning and we do bring in domain knowledge,” said Hitesh Majmudar, the ICA secretary.

“We are also stressing on the state associations that they have to follow their new constitution regarding things like appointing the state selectors too. Every state, as per the Supreme Court order, has to form a Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) to appoint the selectors,” he added.

Things though are rather more difficult when it comes to women cricketers. 

“There is a grudging acceptance but there is a long way to go as yet,” said Rajesh Nayyar, the Member Representative (female).

“Women cricketers still face a lot of problems when it comes to things like infrastructure, with even requests for nets not always met with a positive response and so we asked our state representatives to slowly but surely work their way around such issues and get the best for the women cricketers,” said Nayyar.

Set up with initial funding from the BCCI, the ICA, thanks to some leading former Indian cricketers chipping in, raised funds to meet the demands of those in need and has already distributed benefits worth Rs 52 lakh to as many as 60 people that includes retired first class cricketers, widows of first class cricketers as also one former Indian blind cricketer.

“Our representatives in the BCCI Apex Council, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy, put forth our request to the BCCI to increase the gratis and medical reimbursement facilities. The BCCI has agreed to do so and is expected to process the same in the next couple of months,” said V Krishnaswamy, the ICA Treasurer.

With 72 representatives in the Apex Councils of the 36 state associations and almost 1500 members in their ranks as on date and the wealth of cricket knowledge that comes with it, the ICA Board knows it’s in a good place to further the cause of India’s cricketers, past and present.