Parasports June 23, 2020
Blind cricketer Shekhar Naik relieved after ICA extends financial support
Help has poured in for blind cricketer Shekhar Naik as well as many other needy cricketers from the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA). The ICA has reached out to offer financial support after hearing about their financial struggles during lockdown.
The lockdown has been hard for Shekhar Naik, the top blind cricketer from Karnataka known for his legendary performances on the field. The ex-captain of India’s blind cricket team was forced to take a one lakh rupee loan by mortgaging his wife’s gold jewellery.
Now, there’s some relief in sight. Hearing about Naik’s struggles, the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) has promised financial support. Apart from Naik, the ICA is reaching out to 57 cricketers who are struggling for funds during the pandemic. “We were expecting to help 20 to 25 cricketers but with the support of fellow cricketers we have managed to provide assistance to 57 cricketers,” said Ashok Malhotra, President Indian Cricketer’ Association.
Speaking to Newz Hook, Naik confirmed the good news.
The Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) has assured me that they will credit one lakh rupees to my bank by Tuesday. They also shared a list of many others, which includes disabled cricketers, who will get benefits. – Shekhar Naik, Blind cricketer
Only blind cricketer to win Padma Shri
Naik, who won the Padma Shri in 2017, has been honoured with many state and national-level wards. This includes Karnataka’s second highest civilian honour, Karnataka Rajyotsava Prashasti Award.
Naik was employed with a private firm in Bengaluru which was forced to cut down operations after lockdown. He lost his job and is struggling to support his family of four. He has two daughters, one of whom is partially blind.
In an earlier interview to Newz Hook, he appealed to the Karnataka government to provide him with a job under the sports quota. “I have played cricket for 18 years, of which 14 years were for the country. I have brought home many laurels and won many awards from the Indian government. But these awards don’t feed me. I need a government job so that I can settle my life and my daughter’s lives for the better”, he says.
Former cricket greats part of ICA
Apart from Naik, the other beneficiaries include disabled cricketers as well as widows of three former players. Cricketers who don’t have jobs, don’t get a pension from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or their state associations, will be offered help. Veteran cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have contributed to the cause.
“The players are very happy with the help”, said the ICA head. “We wanted to help those who need, and this is a time of crisis. So, they are happy”.
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