WCAI merger campaign cranks up

Published: Monday, May 30, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:It's been a long wait but every wait would be worth it if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decides to merge the Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) with the country's richest sports body.

The merger issue is among many others on the agenda of the board's June-2-3 working committee meeting to be held in Kovalam near Thiruvananthapuram.

For years, the WCAI have been hard-pressed to manage affairs with limited financial muscle. Forget about forking out match fees for women cricketers; sending teams for overseas tours, conducting camps, tournaments have proved to be a big impediment.

WCAI's cup of woes in recent times have eased somewhat, with Sahara coming forward to sponsor the senior team for three years. The sponsorship tie-up with Sahara came about just before the Indian team's departure for 2005 World Cup in South Africa.

That had a big impact on the girls who strained their last nerve to upset defending champions New Zealand in the semifinals before running out of steam to Australia; a performance, which was much like winning the World Cup for this was India's maiden World Cup entry.

The talk doing the rounds at the moment is whether the merger exercise would be carried out during the two-day executive meeting itself or at a latter date.

BCCI has gone on record saying that the WCAI merger is very much on the agenda, which indicates the board is serious about pushing the issue forward this time around if not bringing a logical end to it.

Though Women Cricket Association of India (WCAI) were tightlipped about the matter; sources to WCAI said though the WCAI has been constantly communicating with the BCCI, even they were clueless about whether the merger issue would be just be discussed in the meeting or the merger would actually be carried out during that meeting.

"WCAI has regularly talking to BCCI in this regard and had formally shot off a letter to the BCCI in April last after ICC had taken over the affairs of women's cricket in their fold, merging the International Women's Cricket Council," the source said.

The source said BCCI cannot afford to delay the merger process as WCAI has been given only a year's time by ICC to merge itself with the BCCI.

"BCCI has been dragging its feet so far. Now it can't. As ICC has merged itself with IWCC and would recognize only one cricket body from each country, BCCI would have to take a firm stand on it," the source added.

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