The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party first, play & party again
- Cricketers to launch association and dine for charity

Calcutta, Oct. 24: The Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) is set for an October 29 launch, exactly a day before the third and final Test versus the West Indies at the Eden.

While the launch itself will probably be low-key, the ICPA will really be announcing its arrival during the October 31 fund-raiser, expected to be at the city’s newest five-star address: The Hyatt Regency.

Significantly, part of the proceeds that evening will go to two Calcutta-located charities. The gesture is bound to be very well received across the board.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the ICPA will be inviting some of the eminent citizens (and, yes, urging them to participate in the auction of memorabilia) besides appealing to city corporates for “sponsoring” tables.

As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) brass will then be in Calcutta, invitations will also be sent to the big guns. Of course, it’s to be seen just how warm the BCCI’s response is.

[While BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya has been calling for “elected, not nominated” office-bearers representing “all first-class cricketers”, those connected with the ICPA are firm that the body has to start with “nominated, not elected” office-bearers. Elections will feature in stage-II of its growth.]

The Indian team will, obviously, be present at the Hyatt and Carl Hooper’s West Indians could well be special invitees. Incidentally, a players’ association is already in place in the West Indies.

Though it’s not confirmed, former India captain Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi is expected to head the ICPA, with the city-based Arun Lal being its secretary.

Lal, it may be recalled, was secretary of the Association of Indian Cricketers, which went defunct not long after being formed in late 1989.

To start with, the ICPA will have a seven/eight-member executive committee and, sooner rather than later, a clutch of sub-committees will be formed.

Captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble are tipped to be on the executive committee.

The ICPA, one understands, will be registered under the Societies’ Act in Calcutta itself.

That a players’ body must be in existence was informally agreed upon (by the Big Four) during the tour of England, when the ICC-drafted Terms triggered such a storm.

More recently, the move gained momentum with the Big Four (and Lal) exchanging notes in Mumbai and Chennai, ahead of the Tests there.

“Come October 29 and there will be greater communication between the players and the BCCI. Also, when the ICPA is in place, the Souravs and Sachins won’t have to worry over the contents of the Terms and so on --- the association will take care of that,” explained somebody closely linked with the ICPA’s formation.

Perfectly spot-on. Only, in trying to improve the communication, a situation shouldn’t arise whereby there is even less of that.

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