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Diana Edulji lashes out at BCCI for not doing enough for women’s cricket

Diana Edulji lashes out at BCCI for not doing enough for women's cricket

India finished seventh in the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup © AFP

Mumbai: Feb 14, 2013

Former India captain Diana Edulji on Thursday berated the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for its discriminatory policies and said the poor show at the World Cup is a clear indication that women’s cricket is not progressing in the country.

“I think we are playing less cricket after we came into the fold of BCCI. I am sure if they had their way, if ICC was not there, then the women’s cricket is absolutely on the down slide. The World Cup performance has shown,” she said at the launch of former woman cricketer Shobha Pandit Mundkur’s autobiography, ‘Beyond Boundaries’.

“It is bad luck that the girls played so badly in that one match against Sri Lanka, otherwise on Sunday I was hoping they would have played this match instead of West Indies or Australia. Unfortunately they didn’t do well and I was expecting this tournament to be a turning point for women’s cricket,” she said.

She further said the former BCCI president Sharad Pawar was the only supporter of the women’s cricket and things turned out to be different once he left.

“I have always been at loggerheads with them and said support the girls. Let them have what they require but somehow or the other it is not breaking ice at all. Till Mr. (Sharad) Pawar was there (at BCCI) there was no problem. He was the only supporting grace for us. What women’s cricket is today is due to Mr. Pawar. The moment he moved out of BCCI, the treatment completely changed. They are not allowing us to play Test cricket, which is the worst thing that can happen to any cricketer. That is the most important aspect of cricket. The longer version has to be played,” Edulji added.

Pointing out the differential behaviour of BCCI, she said, “BCCI constitution says cricket and it doesn’t say men or women. What is given to the men’s cricketers should be given to women’s cricketers too. We requested them for the one time benefit. We told them we are not expecting you to pay us crores of rupees. We gave them a figure 1-10 Test matches Rs 10 lakh, 11-19 test matches Rs 20 lakh and the above Rs 30 lakh. They (BCCI) said no, we don’t have the money. Then for the pension we had to fight. We are getting Rs 15,000 that too for people who have played five test matches or more.”

She added that unlike the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that offers its women players central contract, the BCCI has not implemented it which is shameful.

“The support that the other boards are giving their players is evident from the body language. Even Pakistan that restricts so much, has central contracts , which I think if we cannot have, is really a shameful thing,” the 57-year-old said.

Emphasising on the need for male coaches, Edulji said, “I have nothing against Anju Jain, she was a great player. But she has played with some of these girls. She is not going to be able to demand or motivate these girls. We need someone who has played very good cricket. Pakistan has a male coach, Sri Lanka has a male coach then why India can’t have a male coach. Why aren’t we planning. The support staff is sub-standard.”

Former Test cricketer Dilip Sardesai‘s wife Nandini Sardesai said, “The World Cup will at least inspire, motivate, the authorities to take a good hard look at themselves and realise that they are not doing enough for Indian women’s cricket and take positive steps to see that things improve and see that women are put on par with men.”

Mundkur said the book highlights the journey she started in New Zealand till the time she hung her boots and added that the tips she received from Sunil Gavaskar and others helped her reach the level she wanted to play at.

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