‘Saurav Ganguly has disappointed us’ says physically disabled cricket association official
In a strong attack on Board of Control for Cricket in India Chief Saurav Ganguly, Ravi Chauhan, Secretary General of the Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India has said that Ganguly has disappointed India’s disabled cricketers. He said that Ganguly had done little to help the disabled cricketers who are struggling during the lockdown.
“Dada disappoints Disabled Cricketers”
A strongly worded statement issued by Ravi Chauhan, Secretary General of the Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI).
In a press release, Chauhan has attacked Saurav Ganguly, President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and former India captain for showing complete indifference towards the plight of disabled cricketers who are facing many struggles during the coronavirus lockdown.
Speaking for blind, deaf and physically disabled cricketers, Chauhan said that various media reports of their desperate plight had failed to move Ganguly or the BCCI committee.
Disabled cricketers face severe financial crisis
When Saurav Ganguly was elected as the President of BCCI, many had hoped that Saurav would change the fate of BCCI as he had done with the Indian cricket when he first became the captain of national team. Specially the disabled cricketers were very hopeful that someone would finally look into their matter and change their lives. Their hopes further were raised when there were couple of meetings between the disabled cricketers and Dada. But nothing has materialised till now. And the hope has turned into disappointment. – Ravi Chauhan, Secretary General, Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India
From former blind cricket captain Shekhar Naik to Uttarakhand physically disabled cricket captain Rajendra Singh Dhami, various media reports have highlighted the severe financial stress faced by disabled cricketers. While Naik lost his job after lockdown and was forced to sell his wife’s gold jewellery, Dhami has taken up manual labour to make ends meet.
Uttarakhand captain takes up manual work
Speaking to NewzHook, Dhami, who also led the Indian side in many international series, said he was left with no choice.
“I have a 90% disability and have no means of livelihood at present. Before the lockdown I worked in the hotel industry in Gujarat but that has shut down during this pandemic. I returned to my village and have taken up work under the MNREGA scheme building roads and bridges”.
Dhami now earns ₹ 200 a day doing manual labour and says he will continue to do this until matches start again.“There is no choice as I have elderly parents and a brother depending on me”.
Chauhan told NewzHook that the crisis facing physically disabled cricketers could have been avoided had the BCCI set up a committee to look into the affairs of physically disabled cricket.
“When the Lodha Committee had recommended to form a Disability Cricket Committee for the development of the Physically Challenged Cricket in India, the BCCI was forced to adopt it in its new Constitution”, says Chauhan.
Page 70, Clause F of the newly adopted BCCI Constitution mandates the formation of a ‘Differently Abled Cricket Committee’ to select disabled national teams across age groups.
BCCI fails to set up committee for disabled cricket
“But such has been the audacity of the BCCI that they are ready to knock the doors of Supreme Court for extension of the newly formed BCCI officials, but have no time or intention to abide by its own Constitution”, says Chauhan. “The result of this behaviour is that Disabled cricket that includes blind, wheelchair, Deaf and Dumb Cricket is still not recognised in India and hence the players who are part of these teams get absolutely no assistance or no recognition from any quarters of the society”.
Chauhan says that in a meeting last year Ganguly promised to address their concerns. “He said a decision would be made in two weeks’ time. That was seven months ago”.
The pandemic, he says, has made the already precarious financial condition of the disabled cricketers worse.
“All that these players want is equal opportunity. The cricket boards of England, South Africa and even Pakistan have got a disability wing, but for some reason BCCI has completely overlooked this issue in this country”.
The desperate situation of the physically disabled cricket team has been taken note of by former Australia captain Steve Waugh and his manager Harley Metcalfe. They have come together to launch a fundraising campaign to support them during the pandemic. An empathy and sensitivity that the BCCI seems to have forgotten.
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