PCCAI lashes out at BCCI president Sourav Ganguly citing non-cooperation  

Women's CricZone Staff
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Sourav Ganguly. © Sportstar

Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI) Secretary-General Ravi Chauhan has lashed out at BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, alleging that the former India skipper has failed to keep up the expectations of the differently-abled cricketers who are left struggling for their livelihood in the lockdown.

"When Sourav Ganguly was elected as the president of the BCCI, many had hoped that Sourav would change the fate of the Board just as he had done with Indian cricket when he first became the Indian captain. The disabled cricketers were hopeful that someone would finally look into their matter and change their lives. Their hopes were raised when there were a couple of meetings between him and differently-abled cricketers. However nothing has materialised till now,” Chauhan stated in a statement.

“Hope has turned into disappointment. The recent news of disabled cricketers working as labourers and taking up other menial jobs have once again brought to surface the condition of their sports and the importance that the government and the BCCI have been giving to disabled sports.

“It is very fashionable to talk about differently-abled players, getting pictures clicked with them when they receive some international glory, posting sympathetic messages for them on social media, but the real truth is that no one cares about them,” the statement further read.

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According to Lodha Committee recommendations, a committee was to be formed for the differently-abled cricketers and Chauhan stated that BCCI isn’t following its own constitution. “Donating some money to some individuals whose plight makes it to the pages of a newspaper is no solution. No one is ready to take the bull by its horns. No one is ready to address the real situation at hand. When the Lodha Committee appointed by the Supreme Court had recommended forming 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.

“On Page 70, of the newly adopted constitution of BCCI, clause F mandates the BCCI to form a ‘Differently Abled Cricket Committee’ which in consultation with the cricket talent committee would select the differently-abled national teams across all age groups for representation in Tests, One Day, T20 or any other format. However, such has been the audacity of the BCCI that it is ready to knock the doors of the Supreme Court for extension of the newly-elected BCCI office-bearers but has no time or intention to abide by its own constitution. It has been more than a couple of years, but the BCCI is still dormant when it comes to do anything for the disabled cricketers of India,” he said.

The PCCAI also claimed that since this cricket is not reccognised by BCCI, the disabled cricketers don’t get any recognition. “The result of this behaviour of the BCCI is that differently-abled cricket that includes blind, wheelchair, deaf & 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. Since this cricket is not recognised by BCCI, these players can never qualify for the various sports schemes of the state or the centre,” Chauhan lamented.

He also said that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened these cricketers’ situation. “These cricketers don’t want people to pity them. All they want is equal opportunity. The cricket boards of England, South Africa and even Pakistan have got a disability wing, but for some reason, the BCCI has completely overlooked this issue in this country. We have written many letters and made many representations to BCCI, but our prayers have met deaf ears,” he alleged.