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Tiger may visit camp’s Phase I
- ‘ICPA needs a bit more momentum’

Calcutta, Aug. 9: The Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) president, Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi, may visit Bangalore during Phase I of the pre-season conditioning camp from Thursday till August 26.

“My trip isn’t finalised but, yes, that’s a possibility… The picture will be clearer once the camp gets underway,” Pataudi told The Telegraph this afternoon from New Delhi.

Should his visit materialise, it will be the former captain’s first interaction with a sizeable number of players after the ICPA’s formation in late October last year.

Of course, among the big guns, Team India vice-captain Rahul Dravid won’t be there (though he will be around in the much shorter Phase II). That, however, should not be a dampner. In any case, nobody will be cramped for time.

Pataudi, who has adopted an act-and-then-talk stand, acknowledged that the ICPA “needs a bit more momentum.” It’s worth noting, perhaps, that the two previous ‘experiments’ — in the mid-Seventies and late-Eighties — came a cropper.

As the president put it: “I know we won’t be making headlines every month, but I accept the ICPA needs a bit more momentum. For starters, a membership drive must be initiated and, in that context, things can move forward in Bangalore.”

Respected for being utterly candid, Pataudi conceded that the ICPA didn’t yet have the “numbers” to make a strong representation (to the Board) for recognition.

“In terms of numbers, we aren’t quite there… And, so, we won’t approach the Board till we ourselves are convinced that we are representative enough,” he remarked.

Though specifics weren’t available, vice-president Arun Lal in formed that the ICPA’s membership currently stood at “around 100.”

Incidentally, Pataudi was curious about the proposed hike in the match fees of strictly first-class cricketers. “Any development on that front is awaited,” he signed off.

As announced, 26 per cent of the Board’s gross receipts will go to the players. Calculations are still being done but, according to treasurer Kishore Rungta, the match fees of first-class cricketers could jump from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 (including the contribution towards an insurance scheme) — if not more.

Exactly half of that 26 per cent will go to the International players, with 10.04 of the remaining 13 per cent going to strictly first-class cricketers. The balance will be earmarked exclusively for junior players.

A decision, one understands, may well be taken at the next working committee meeting — in Chennai, on August 20-21. Should the package be approved, the very complexion of our cricket 2003-2004 onwards will change.

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