The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Players should have contributed’

Calcutta: As he has said time and again, Jagmohan Dalmiya is all for a players’ association which will benefit first-class cricketers. Only, he would have done it differently had he been in the shoes of those who recently launched the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA).

For example, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president would have led from the front at Thursday evening’s fund-raiser.

“The founder members should have come ahead and donated generously… The top cricketers earn a lot and their gesture would have set a good example,” Dalmiya said. “Instead, I found the list of donors being topped by sponsors. Sponsors are there and will be there…”

He was only speaking as a cricket lover, he stressed repeatedly. “The BCCI president is not trying to be critical of the players… I am just saying what I — the individual — felt after attending the function,” Dalmiya explained.

The high-profile dinner fetched about Rs 60 lakh, but Dalmiya is hardly impressed. “That figure could have been in crores if the players had contributed,” he said.

There was another thing which upset Dalmiya — being referred to as the BCCI president at last night’s function. “I thought I was invited in the capacity of Mr J. Dalmiya, that was what the card which Tiger (Pataudi) gave me said. I couldn’t understand why then they brought up the BCCI president bit. It wasn’t ethical.”

Another association'

Taking a cue from former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who is sceptical about the functioning of the ICPA, Ashok Malhotra also said he was apprehensive whether the new body will actually take up the cause of first-class cricketers.

The former international batsman added he is thinking of setting up another association to look after the first-class players. “It seems the ICPA will end up catering to the stars only and not all first class players.

“If need be, we may see a separate association which will take up the cause of all Ranji Trophy players. I know there are like-minded people and we will speak to all the state associations about this,” said the former national selector.

Asked whether they will wait for some time to see how the ICPA is doing, Malhotra avoided a direct reply. However, indications are, efforts to float another association are already underway.

Pataudi’s gesture

While Malhotra was disappointed that none of the Bengal players were invited at Thursday’s gala fund-raiser, he found some reason to feel better.

Tiger Pataudi met Malhotra at the Eden Gardens Friday. “He regretted not inviting former internationals from the state,” said Malhotra. “The real gentleman that Pataudi is, he said he would have made sure it did not happen if he knew about it,” Malhotra said.

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