SIX months after helping India win the inaugural T20 World Cup for the blind by beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final at Cape Town, Amol Karche stayed in his humble home at Pune yesterday, thinking about his teammates on board a flight to London.
Karche being felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the T20 World Cup triumph in December. File pic
Most of India’s World Cup-winning squad left for their England and Bahrain tour yesterday, but 20-year-old Karche couldn’t manage to collect R63,000 needed to be part of the India team on their next assignment after the World Cup.
In seven World Cup games, medium pacer Karche claimed seven wickets including two in the final against Pakistan on December 7, 2014.
India’s England-bound blind team pose at the Worli end of the Sea Link in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
“I trained very hard for this England tour, but was unable to raise R63,000. I’ve missed a great opportunity,” rued Karche, a first year Bachelor of Arts student at Ferguson College. Karche told mid-day that he approached a local blind cricket association in Pune. Although the association didn’t turn his request down, they didn’t get back to him.
Local corporators too could not oblige him. An emotional Karche said: “I’m very sad because, despite me being the only Maharashtra player in the World Cup squad, I could not manage even a rupee as donation. After my good performance in the World Cup, I was looking forward to touring England. I was very confident of doing well.” Karche’s father is a poor farmer in Lohagaon on Dhanori Road, Pune.
“Finance was not a problem for the World Cup as the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) managed everything. I knew getting funds for the England tour would be a challenge, but not getting even a rupee was not something I expected. I was also clueless as to how I should approach government authorities for funds. I am hurt that the state government did not even felicitate me for my World Cup performance,” said Karche.
Will this hurdle end his cricketing dreams? “No, I will keep training hard for next year’s T20 World Cup to be held in India,” he said.
Two other World Cup 2014 players could not find a place in the 13-member team to England due to financial reasons — Mohammad Farhan (Kerala) and Golu Kumar (Jharkhand).
CABI’s General Secretary Mahantesh Kivadasannavar explained the hurdles: “Getting financial aid is a big challenge for us. This tour cost us around Rs 25 lakhs. Gulf Air granted us 50 per cent discount on the tickets and Government of India has agreed to grant us some money. Other help came from Samarthanam, an NGO (Karnataka) while Andhra Pradesh Blind Cricket Association supported three players. We also asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for assistance for the England tour, but we didn’t get a reply,” Mahantesh said.
Mahantesh added: “Cricket boards in other countries have made changes to their respective constitutions and recognised blind cricket associations. We have been urging the BCCI to grant us affiliation. Only recently, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur replied, saying he is looking into this matter. Let’s see.”