With reports coming in of many physically disabled cricketers facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI) has written to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, asking him to recognise their association and form a committee for disabled players.
PCCAI Secretary General Ravi Chauhan, in his letter, has stated that when Ganguly was elected as the BCCI chief, many had hoped that he would change the fate of the board as he had done with the Indian cricket when he first became the captain of the national team.
PCCAI's Ravi Chauhan on Sourav Ganguly
"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 (Sourav). But nothing has materialised till now. And the hope has turned into disappointment," Chauhan said.
He said that when the Lodha Committee -- appointed by the Supreme Court -- had recommended the formation of a 'Disability Cricket Committee' for the development of the Physically Challenged Cricket in India, BCCI was forced to adopt it in its new constitution.
"It has been more than a couple of years, but BCCI is still dormant when it comes to do anything for the disabled cricketers of India. The result of this behaviour of BCCI 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," he added.
The PCCAI Secretary General further said that the condition of the players was marginal before the COVID-19 pandemic and after that, it has become worse.
"These players are good. They don't want people to pity them, all we they want is equal opportunity. We have written many letters and made many representations to BCCI, but our prayers have met deaf ears."
Earlier, the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) had also said that it is expecting BCCI to walk the talk and help Indian blind cricketers, some of whom are without jobs.
CABI founder Mahantesh G. Kivadasannavar had told IANS that they had approached the BCCI during a visit last year, with Ganguly assuring help within '15 days'.
"I thought Ganguly would do it. He said within 15 days you will hear from us. This was 30th November, 2019. I went to BCCI, they called. They had asked someone from Kerala to look into it. I spoke to Ganguly that day, and he said 'I am here don't worry'. He was our brand ambassador for the first T20 World Cup (2012)," Mahantesh had said earlier in July.
Mahantesh had added CABI has also written to the Sports Ministry to give them the recognition of a National Sports Federation.