Shastri, Amarnath want improvement in scheme

Published: Saturday, May 22, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:While welcoming and appreciating the gesture of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in introducing the monthly pension scheme for retired Test cricketers and umpires, former Test stars Ravi Shastri and Mohinder Amarnath said they wanted an improvement in it.

Speaking after receiving their first monthly cheque of Rs 5,000 from former BCCI president Purshottam Rungta at the Garware club house of the the Wankhede Stadium, Amarnath said he did not agree with the system by which players who had played only one Test and those who turned out more than 100 times for the country received the same amount.

"It's a wonderful gesture by the BCCI. I am very happy for the umpires too. But they (BCCI) can do even better especially for those cricketers who had played in the 1930s,40s and 50s when there was no money in the game," the member of the victorious 1983 World Cup winning team said.

"BCCI should do a lot better for these older cricketers.They can generate more money by asking current international players to wear extra logos on their apparel," Amarnath said.

"It's also not fair that all the players get the same among of monthly pension irrespective of whether they have played in one Test or 100 Tests," the Man of the Match in the1983 World Cup final against the West Indies said.

Shastri, also a member of the 1983 "Kapil's Devils", said that the BCCI should introduce a lumpsum benefit amounting to between one and five lakhs for all players who had quit the game before 1975.

"I am here for the gesture, not for the bucks. Seventy five years is a long time (for the BCCI to put in vogue the scheme in its platinum jubilee year). But better late thannever. It's just a step in the right direction which they should carry forward," the all rounder-turned TV commentator said after receiving his cheque from former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah.

"So far the senior players had been forgotten. They had helped us carry on the tradition. This (BCCI) is the richest cricket Board and can do a lot for players who had played before 1975 who should be given another benefit purse. It should be a fixed amount, from one to five lakhs, to be given from the BCCI's funds," Shastri said.

"They should not be made to run around to find sponsors for their benefit," he said and indicated to Rungta, the veteran BCCI official, that he should do something for the oldcricketers and umpires before quitting the august body after having completed half a century in it.

While most of the 20 other cricketers, who received the first cheque in person, appreciated the scheme there were some like Hanumant Singh and Nari Contractor who too wanted the BCCI to come out with a better version of the scheme.

While former captain Contractor suggested that the BCCI earmark a certain amount from the profits it makes each year for retired cricketers and umpires, Hanumant Singh said theBCCI can take cue from what Amarnath said and act.

Five former Test umpires too received their cheques in person. Sixteen former cricketers and umpire A M Mamsa, who is unwell, could not be present on the occasion.

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