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Bizarre! Rahul Dravid and his boys don't even have money for dinner

The SC-BCCI tug-of-war and the Centre's demonetization move results in a bizarre situation where the Indian u-19 team and support staff aren't getting their daily allowance from the Indian cricket board and are forced to spend their own money to buy dinner

India Under 19 team players pose for a group photo after winning the series against England Under 19 at Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
India Under-19 team and the support staff, including Rahul Dravid, pose for a photo after winning the ODI series against England colts at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

The Indian U-19 cricket team on Wednesday clinched the five-match ODI series against England 3-1. But their celebratory dinner wasn't courtesy BCCI. Rahul Dravid and his boys would have had to spend money from their own pockets to celebrate the success. And it's not because the Indian cricket board doesn't appreciate or love the junior cricketers.

The reason that despite being a fortnight into their 30-day home series against England, the Indian colts and their support staff, including coach Dravid, are yet to receive their daily allowances from the board, according to a report in the Indian Express.

And again to reiterate the point, this 'step-motherly treatment' of the cricketers is not because of any negligence on the part of BCCI. It's due to the Supreme Court order on Justic Lodha panel's recommendation and the Centre's demonetisation move.

The absence of an official signatory to release funds after the apex court removed BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, and the cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week following the demonetisation policy has led to this awkward moment.

According to the report, the board being unable to pay the under-19 international cricketer their daily allowance of Rs 6,800 has resulted in the players spending their own money to pay for dinner and relying on their parents to help them with money.

The SC-appointed four-member Committee of Administrators (COA) to oversee the Indian cricket board's functioning allowed BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to use its imprest bank account to pay the daily allowances of the senior Team India -- in Hyderabad for their on-off Test against Bangladesh. However, it seems the committee forgot about the 18 members of the junior squad as well as the seven support staff.

THe government's demonetisation move and with it the additional complication of the weekly cash withdrawal limit added to the chaos. "We have decided that once the series gets over, we will send DA directly to the accounts of players and support staff. Even in BCCI, there are lots of problems, as we don’t have a signatory and we can’t pay anyone," the website quoted a BCCI official as saying.

Rahul DravidRahul Dravid

The website also quoted a member of the U19 team as saying, "We are managing somehow. During match-days, one meal is organised by the host association and breakfast is complimentary at the hotel. But the biggest problem is dinner. We are put up in a posh hotel in Mumbai where a sandwich costs over Rs 1,500. Players have no option but to step out for a meal after a tiring day on the field." For the time being, the players are dependent on money being sent by their families.

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