The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BCCI takes weight off players
- Porterage charges sanctioned after manager Choudhary highlights inconvenience

Calcutta, Dec.7: In what could become a welcome precedent, the Jagmohan Dalmiya-headed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to reimburse porterage charges during the on-going tour of New Zealand.

Not only are porters a rare sight at airports — and, surely, they don’t come cheap — there’s nobody to help with the heavy ‘coffin’ and kit bags at the grounds either.

“The manager (Railways’ Nathu Ram Choudhary) spoke to us about the players’ inconvenience and we straightaway asked him to do the needful,” informed BCCI secretary S.K.Nair, when contacted by The Telegraph this morning.

Unlike in India (or, say, in Pakistan), where the visitors are accorded Nawabi status — with more honorary porters than pieces of baggage — our players regularly end up doing all the hard work themselves.

[Incidentally, till less than a decade ago, the BCCI even had a full-time baggage man (portly Govind Bawji Vadolikar), who was assigned to visiting teams.]

Moreover, there’s always the risk of injury: A sprain or, worse, a dislocation.

Indeed, with the World Cup just two months away, first-time manager Choudhary made the most sensible representation. Equally, the BCCI reacted the way it should have.

“We had to… New Zealand isn’t India and, so, the baggage won’t automatically follow the players,” explained Nair, when reached for a comment on his cellphone.

On tours, every manager is provided an “entertainment allowance” and the BCCI usually requests the host board to settle “incidental bills” which, in turn, are reimbursed through a bank transfer.

The reimbursements generally pertain to excess baggage, laundry (if that isn’t part of the contract with hotels), medical expenses, additional practice balls (only a dozen new ones are provided before every Test and one-day series) and, of late, payment for the manager’s cellphone.

The porterage expenses, of course, will be settled during the January 16-ending tour itself as the BCCI has enhanced Choudhary’s allowance, with the additional sum specifically for porters.

Speaking exclusively from Napier, Choudhary said he is interacting with the New Zealand Cricket-appointed liaison officer to ensure players neither have to worry about loading and unloading luggage at the airport nor bother about carting their gear all over the ground.

“They need to do without this hassle, do without running the risk of injury before such a major tournament,” Choudhary remarked.

Now that the BCCI has set a precedent, it should extend the same comfort during the February-March World Cup. After all, it won’t be any different there.

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