A giant step towards the formation of a formal, first-of-its-kind Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA) has been taken by registering the body as a company. It is open to both male and female players. The development is significant as over the past decades several futile attempts to constitute a national players’ association were made. But, at long last, a body is now in place that will also have the approval of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which over the years had staunchly opposed all attempts to form similar associations and killed all such bodies ruthlessly. Now, this decision to form ICA is irreversible as it has been taken following a Supreme Court order, based on the game-changing Lodha Committee recommendations.
The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has announced that the ICA is a non-profit company limited by guarantee, incorporated on July 5, 2019, under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, and bearing Corporate Identity No. U92419MH2019NPL327653. The company has three directors to begin with – legendary Kapil Dev, former national women’s team captain Shanta Rangaswamy, and ex-Test pacer Ajit Agarkar. The best part of this news is that even differently-abled former cricketers are eligible to become members of the association. And there will be similar associations in each BCCI member state.
Over the last few decades, several attempts were made to form a national-level players’ association. But none of those flourished for several reasons. But the ICA will be truly a representative one and will, hopefully, serve the lot of players who come from poor financial background and those who are really needy. It will also be expected of it to look after the welfare of cricketers across the country, and also do something meaningful for youngsters at the junior-most level. But the membership of the ICA will not be automatic; the former players will have to apply to become a part of it. No one should have any issues on that count. Cricketers who have retired from all forms of the game and meet the following criteria shall be entitled to apply for membership of the ICA:
(i) Male and female ex-cricketers, who have played at least one International Cricket Match in any format of the game at the senior level;
(ii) Male ex-cricketers, who have played at least Ten First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level (see notes in para 5 below);
(iii) Female ex-cricketers, who have played at least Five First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level (see notes in para 5 below); and
(iv) Differently-abled ex-cricketers, who have played either International Cricket or first class cricket, where such cricket is recognised as such by the ICC or the BCCI and is organised by the BCCI or a body recognised by the ICC or the BCCI, in any format of the game at the senior level.
As evident above, one positive aspect of the ICA membership is that even those who have not represented India will also be able to become its part. Those who have retired after playing only first-class cricket or just T20 format can also apply for membership, as mentioned above.
The CoA has explained the eligibility criteria in detail. According to the announcement, a “first class match” shall mean and include, in the context of male and female cricketers, a senior match organised by the BCCI (and, in the case of female cricketers, the erstwhile Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) before the BCCI took over the governance of women’s cricket) or involving a team selected by the BCCI (and, in the case of female cricketers, the WCAI before the BCCI took over the governance of women’s cricket) and that qualifies as ‘first-class’ under the ICC Classification of Official Cricket (as applicable from time to time); provided that: (a) Every 3 senior One-day limited overs matches forming a part of any BCCI organised inter-state or inter-zonal tournament(s); and (b) Every 5 senior Twenty20 matches forming a part of any BCCI organised inter-state or inter-zonal tournament(s), shall also be classified for the purposes hereof as one ‘first class match’. It clarified that any fractions shall be rounded off to the lower whole number.