Mumbai: Sacked disabled cricketer gets new job which allows him to play

After mid-day reported how Kailash Ghanekar, who won the Asia Cup for India, had to quit his job at a stock broker’s to play the tournament finals, another brokerage firm hired him promising to support him on-field as well

Kailash Ghanekar has started his new innings at Nirmal Bang, a stock broking firm which hired him recently. Ghanekar, a disabled cricketer who represented India in the Asia Cup and also won the tournament, had to quit from his earlier company after his employer asked him to choose between cricket and the job.

Kailash Ghanekar at his new office with his team leader, Hoshang Java. Pic/Shadab Khan
Kailash Ghanekar at his new office with his team leader, Hoshang Java. Pic/Shadab Khan

mid-day had reported on the development in its front-page report on March 4 (Company sacks disabled cricketer who brought honour to India). 29-year-old Ghanekar, who is 55 per cent disabled and suffers from a defect in his left leg, had gone to Delhi in February to play for India at the Asia Cup, a cricket tournament for persons with disabilities involving Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

His earlier employer, a stock broking firm, had given him leave to do so, but couldn’t accommodate his request to extend the leave by 3-4 days when the tournament schedule was changed due to visa issues faced by the players from other teams.

Faced with a tough choice, Ghanekar chose to stay back in Delhi and let go of his employment. India ended up defeating Afghanistan to win the tournament and Ghanekar scored 14 runs in the final. However, he returned to his Nallasopara home to no job and had been looking for one – especially an employer who would adjust so he could work while also continue to play cricket.

Nirmal Bang turned out to be that company and it was Ghanekar’s first day yesterday. The firm based in Malad (East) even gave him a 20 per cent hike. Said Ghanekar, “I had never expected that within a few days of the article being published in mid-day, I would get this job. My first day at work was very good. People here treat me well and I am very comfortable with the work as well.”

Nirmal Bang is also proud to have an athlete on board. Ajay Sharma, assistant vice-president of the company, told this paper, “We interviewed Ghanekar properly before hiring him. A person who can win the Asia Cup with a disability indeed possesses the ability to excel. I am sure he will be an asset to the firm.”

When asked whether the firm would be willing to give Ghanekar the flexibility to pursue the sport, Sharma said, “We will see to it that his game isn’t affected, and also that work is done properly. His cricket is a matter of pride for us and we will fully support him.”

Ghanekar says he got calls and job offers from several companies after his story was published, and is elated with his new arrangement. “I was searching for a job. I had to let go of my earlier job because of cricket. Now, because of cricket, I not only have recognition but my new colleagues also understand how important it is for me. I will give my 100 per cent to my new employer, as well as the game,” he concluded.

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