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ICPA in no hurry for recognition
- Give the new body a fair run, says Bedi

Calcutta, Nov. 9: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in no tearing hurry to recognise the newly-formed Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA).

Intriguingly, the Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi-headed ICPA itself is in no great hurry to seek recognition.

“I’m not sure whether recognition is actually needed… We will, of course, formally approach the BCCI when something needs to be discussed,” ICPA secretary Arun Lal told The Telegraph Saturday evening.

The BCCI’s stand, predictably, remains unchanged. “The issue will be discussed, by the working committee, once we hear from the ICPA,” maintained president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Contacted in Nagpur, Lal added: “What matters is that the ICPA is functioning. As for its registration, the formalities will be completed in due course.”

Incidentally, Lal indicated the registration would be in New Delhi and not Calcutta, as originally intended. “As the ICPA is an all-India body, everybody feels it should be registered in the capital,” he explained.

The last players’ body — the Association of Indian Cricketers (AIC) — was registered in Calcutta. Formed in 1989 and headed by Kapil Dev, it went out of circulation all too soon.

[The AIC was preceded by the even less shortlived Players’ Association, formed in the mid-Seventies. The lead, then, was taken by Bishan Singh Bedi and Sunil Gavaskar.]

Meanwhile, besides the questions raised by Ashok Malhotra, a member of the AIC, many remain sceptical about the ICPA.

His own (disappointing) experience notwithstanding, Bedi, for one, is convinced the latest body should be given a chance.

“Unlike the AIC, which was headed by a current player or, for that matter, our own experiment, the ICPA has a former player at its helm. That, alone, should make a difference. So, let’s give the ICPA a fair run,” Bedi observed, speaking exclusively from New Delhi.

Bedi, however, had a piece of advice for the ICPA. “To be credible, it must be seen as doing something for the first-class cricketers who don’t graduate to representing India. Then, the stars should set an example by dipping into their own pockets and making a contribution. Indeed, for funds, the ICPA shouldn’t be dependant on the corporate sector alone,” he said.

While the intentions are fine — not that anything was wrong with the AIC which, significantly, had a Code of Behaviour for its 300-odd members — the purely first-class cricketers must still be somewhat amused.

After all, like the ICPA, even the AIC had that tribe’s interests at heart but, with the bigger names getting less and less enthusiastic, only “naam ke vaste” attention was accorded.

Thirteen years on, the agenda isn’t much different. Moreover, two of the ICPA’s founders — Lal and Ravi Shastri — were also the AIC’s founder-members. The present generation of purely first-class cricketers, therefore, will have reason to be cynical.

Perhaps, the one difference this time (as Bedi believes) will be Pataudi’s presence at the helm.

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