Four former First Class cricketers from Gujarat got financial assistance from Indian Cricketer’s Association as the players’ body extended help to 57 cricketers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Junagadh born, 84-year-old Ramesh Joshipura, who played 13 First Class matches representing Gujarat and Saurashtra in 1957-58 and 1962-63, was put into the top bracket and received a grant of Rs 1 lakh.
Jay Prakash Patel, the veteran cricketer who went on to become an acclaimed coach, and former Gujarat Cricket Association pitch curator Bhagirath Thakore were put in category B and were given an assistance of Rs 80,000.
The venerable Mahendra Pandya, still a regular at GCA training facility in Gujarat College, was put in category C and given a financial assistance of Rs 60,000.
“BCCI gives pension to players who played 25 or more First Class matches and medical assistance of Rs 5 lakhs to players who played at least 10 First Class matches. But we thought of giving assistance to players who are in need of any financial assistance,” ICA secretary Hitesh Majmudar told Mirror.
“We have divided the categories in A, B and C depending upon the need of a player. Like, in the case of Mr Joshipura, he required the financial assistance for his medical needs,” the former medium pacer added.
“We have also written a letter to BCCI urging them to increase the pension of a player while introducing a widow pension scheme for widows of the former players. We have also suggested group insurance for players for which the pension should be paid by BCCI,” Majmudar informed.
The ICA had originally planned to help 25 to 30 former players, who needed funds.
“We were expecting to help 20 to 25 cricketers but with the support of fellow cricketers we have managed to assist 57 cricketers,” the ICA president Ashok Malhotra had earlier said.
The new batch of 24 beneficiaries includes Padma Shri awardee and two-time World Cup-winning former captain of Indian Blind Cricket team Shekhar Naik and three widows of the former players.
Indian legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are among the ones who made financial contributions to the cause. The ICA had also received an initial grant of Rs 2 crore from BCCI in February to kick-start its operations.