Amid talks of BCCI being the richest cricket board in the world, it has been also known that the board being unfair towards the Women’s cricket team that recently brought glory for the country in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
Even as a former first-class cricketer has narrated his ordeal and dark side of the board during a telephonic conversation, he urged that his identity need not to be disclosed here.
About his WC journey:
It was fantastic but it was sad that we could not cross the finish line. We buckled under intense pressure; we had never played against such a large crowd. But it was fantastic to see the way the girls fought.
We wish we had a team psychologist. I had asked BCCI to provide us one; they refused. They thought this team would just participate and come back without qualifying even, so they never took me or us seriously.
About the way the women players were treated:
The players were not given a proper kit by BCCI. They had to get their own kit bags, and most of their kit was personal. They were provided substandard practice and game clothes. Many of them (almost 13 out of 17) wore torn trousers, exposing their innerwear. Very embarrassing.
They were given three sets of clothes before their SA qualification tour, and were told that this has to be carried through till WC if they qualify. The clothes were of such poor quality, that they would shrink with every wash. It was embarrassing. Under duress, they gave an additional set of clothes (I think he said that) before the WC because there were no wearable clothes for the WC
They did not have a proper practice kit – stumps, cones, etc. There came such a point that before the SF against Australia, they had broken stumps, and other stuff that was not really usable. The former cricketer’s friend, the Oz coach, who had coached in Baroda, gave him a bunch of stumps and other material, on the morning of the game, and asked them to not bother returning it. Really embarrassed that the world’s richest board was shown in such bad light.
He said that Srini wanted to kill women’s cricket. It was thanks to Pawar-saheb that did not happen
About his formal arrangement with BCCI:
In March, BCCI told him that they would like to offer him a coach contract for the Women’s team. He said he had initially refused as they would have asked him to be the coach just for the SA tour or the WC, and that would have required him to resign from the long term Baroda coaching job, and lose his financial stability. They (DrShetty) then offered him a two-year deal. He says that the final offer of a 2-year deal came around the time Ravi Shastri was offered a contract for the men’s team. Ravi’s contract was firmed up in 10 days; he is yet to be closed – not just the contract, but also what the remuneration would be. “It is now five months since they spoke about the offer, and I have not got a penny from BCCI.”
Told Dr Shetty that “if BCCI staff salaries are delayed by even 3-4 days, there would have been a massive noise, but here I am waiting for five months, and you show no hurry in wanting to close it”.
“I had asked them to give me 20% of what they are giving Ravi Shastri. I am sure they don’t want to give me that, and will try to wangle some Rs 3L per month for 12 months.“.
About conflict of interest issues:
“As soon as my son got into the Baroda Ranji Trophy side, I resigned from the coaching job for Baroda to abide by the Lodha Committee recommendations. But the big guys seem to be unaffected by it. Dravid’s contract will be drawn up such that it will expire before March when IPL season begins. Reforms are a sham!”
About the new court-appointed officers:
They are doing nothing, and it is now close to 2 years. They too are enjoying in the name of cleaning up. “Do you know that each officer gets a TA/DA of $750 per day when they travel? And players get nothing of that kind”.
About his trip to London (he was leaving the same day):
Going to London for a coaching assignment for two weeks. BCCI wanted me to not go as he is “contracted”. Told them they have not given any contract thus far, and therefore he is not bound by any non-existent contract. So he was going, even if they had reservations about it.
About a strategy meeting &holding a camp for the Women’s Team:
While in the UK, DrShetty met him and said that they would like to meet him to work out a strategy for the women’s game. The former Coach was keen to go ahead with it, and asked BCCI to hold it early so that it did not clash with his other schedule. That meeting is yet to happen.
Three days back, they wanted to have the meeting on Sep 4th – he said he was traveling to London. They asked him to postpone but he said he would not as he was committed to that coaching program very early, had forewarned them about his schedule, but they acted as if it did not matter.
They wanted to have a camp for the women’s team. He had arranged for a fantastic facility that had several practice pitches, ground, good gym, pool, etc. apart from lodging & board facilities; BCCI for some reason did not show interest. They want one in Bangalore but there is no facility available for them now. As an aside, he mentioned about a “sports city” in South Africa that was one of the best he had seen – for cricket and rugby that would possibly be wonderful to practice in.
About seeking help from others:
To a specific question, he said he had not met SRT recently. But he said each of them are busy protecting their own interests, and no one will actually help. “We all have to fight our own battles, we can’t expect others to fight for us”
Conclusion: He was extremely disappointed with the way women’s cricket and its players were & are treated by BCCI, and the complete lack of professionalism in the original and newer administrators of the game.