With the new regime under Shashank Manohar bringing women's cricket under central contracts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also open to give affiliation to physically challenged cricketers.
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BCCI president Shashank Manohar
Several cricket boards like England, Bangladesh and Pakistan have taken physically challenged cricketers under its wing. Manohar recently met former India skipper Ajit Wadekar, the president of the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (AICAPC), and Ravi Chauhan, the founder Secretary of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI), and has assured them BCCI's affiliation if all the associations promoting physically challenged cricket in India bury their differences.
There are three prominent associations in India promoting physically challenged cricket — Mumbai-based AICAPC, Haryana-based PCCAI and Lucknow-based Indian Cricket Federation for Disabled (ICFD).
BCCI wants unity
"Board president Shashank Manohar and Secretary Anurag Thakur were receptive towards affiliation, but wanted various associations to come together under one umbrella. If we do that, the BCCI president has assured he will table the proposal in the next Annual General Meeting," Wadekar told mid-day yesterday.
"I will be reaching out to the other associations soon and I am sure we will reach common ground. My biggest worry is there are many fly-by-night associations, who organise one or two tournaments and claim to represent India. They don't even have audited accounts," added Wadekar, whose association has been into existence for over two decades now. Chauhan too has high hopes from Manohar's regime. "We had a very fruitful talk and he has assured affiliation to physically challenged cricketers," said Chauhan, the PCCAI secretary.
A few months ago, AICAPC and PCCAI were at loggerheads over selection issues for a five-nation series in Bangladesh. PCCAI ultimately refused to send their players for the tournament, alleging biased selection.
Chauhan is confident the issues will be handled in a mature way and is keen to have Wadekar as chairman of the physically challenged association. "I have always maintained that Wadekar should be made our chairman. He can be our guiding force," Chauhan said.
BCCI's affiliation will help disabled cricketers to make a living out of cricket. "The players can access world-class facilities and coaches. The sponsors would readily come forward for tournaments and it will also become a great career option," said Wadekar. Chauhan said: "A lot of jobs would also open up with BCCI's recognition."
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