RAJKOT: The BCCI and the Justice RM Lodha Committee have been busy fighting an unceasing battle in the Supreme Court but far away from all the courtroom arguments and legal machinations, cricket plunged to deplorable depths of insensitivity on Friday.
The Rajasthan girls Under-19 team landed in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, to participate in a weeklong tournament without a rupee of an allowance to spend for their personal needs.
The BCCI says it does not have any money to give to the team. The Lodha Committee says it will not react to anything until the BCCI first gives an undertaking that it will comply with the October 21 SC order because of which the state association funds have been frozen.
In the middle of this continuing impasse, one that’s been in place for more than three weeks now, the girls from Rajasthan have been left to fend for themselves. They were in Jaipur for a month before leaving for Indore, where the team participated in a one-month long preparatory camp. This camp had begun way before the top court had heard the BCCI and the Lodha Committee, on October 17.
Until Wednesday, the team was wondering how they would manage their expenses in the wake of the new government order which has made Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes unusable.
On Thursday, the young players were left shocked when they were told that they would not be given the mandatory allowance of Rs500 per player per day in the first place because there’s no money in the wake of the court order.
The team (15 players) and support staff (four) are in Indore to play the women’s U-19 zonal league and their first match is scheduled against Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
As many as ten girls in the team are under 16 years of age. Four girls, in fact, are just 14 years old and one girl is 15. Captain Sangita Kumavat is the senior-most player in the team at 17 and vice-captain Suman Meena is 16 years old. Some of the girls in the team do not even have a savings account.
A source in the know of things said “the girls could not even borrow money from their parents because they were all at the camp. They had been looking forward to this tournament, so they wanted to be there at all costs.”
Team manager Komal Chaudhary, who is with the players in Indore, confirmed the distress these girls find themselves in. “There’s no money for even basic needs like eating, emergency medicines and first-aid or local travel,” she said.
The travel to Indore and back, and the hotel bookings, have been taken care of by the BCCI.
In what has become a joke of sorts right now, it is shocking that the world’s richest cricket board cannot fend for a team of 14 and 15-year-old girls who are scheduled to play an official tournament.
Reacting to the mess that is so evident, a source in the Lodha Committee said: “Can you tell me what their daily allowance is?
Please ask one of the members of the travelling contingent to share a bank account number with me. I will transfer funds from my personal account. At no point should the kids suffer because of what is going on.”
The BCCI had constituted an ad hoc committee for managing cricket affairs in Rajasthan last year. The committee was tasked to ensure the participation of Rajasthan teams in various BCCI tournaments in the upcoming domestic season. The coordinator for the team, as well as Rajasthan cricket – on behalf of the BCCI – is Amrit Mathur, in capacity of general manager (coordination) with the Board.