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I read today, with great amusement, that Indian cricketers now wish to join FICA and contribute 5% of earnings from ICC tournaments (eg. World Cup and Champions Trophy) as membership costs. Am I the only one that finds this development strange?
For mine, this is a classic case of the chicken coming before the egg. One would think that an ideal structure for player representation with the national Boards and the ICC would revolve around a two-tiered system. The players would be members of a national players' association and each national association would be a member of FICA. Does make more sense, this not?
Quite appallingly, Indian cricketers do not even have a lobby group to protect their interests at the national level. What makes Rahul Dravid and his friends think that the BCCI will pay any heed to FICA's recommendations, when it does not even pretend to care about what the ICC thinks?
The second cause for amusement, on my part, was that the players actually sought the BCCI's permission to join a group that represents their interest. The players are allowed to spend their money any which way they like. Why do they feel they have to seek permission from the mai-baap BCCI to join a body like FICA? This mindset, is worrying in its own right.
When the issue of contracts first reached the front-burner, prior to the 2003 World Cup, there had been some talk of a players' association led by Ravi Shastri. It was a noble concept, with Shastri even attempting to make some well-intentioned noise. However, with the death of that issue, came the inevitable death of the said players' association and Shastri's involvement.
Indian cricketers require more than a stop-gap measure like Shastri to protect their interests. They should learn from the failings of the BCCI and recognise that their prosperity lies in appointing a group of professionals to set up and manage a cohesive and streamlined organisation that will fight for acceptance and recognition from the BCCI and then fight to protect it's members from falling prey to the nonsensical whims and fancies of honourary Board officials.
If every first class cricketer in India pays a fraction of his salary towards the running of this organisation, the entire lot will be far better off than it has ever been in the history of the sport. It is a simple scenario that requires a little will and diligence. This organisation is imperative to protect the players from losing everything, but the shirts on their backs, to greedy administrators.
How much more of an incentive should they require?
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