Anshuman Gaekwad trumps Kirti Azad in ICA elections, to be part of apex council
Anshuman Gaekwad, former India opener and coach, will be a part of the BCCI’s nine-member apex council that will be finalised during the elections later this month. He defeated his nearest rival Kirti Azad by 90 votes in the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) elections. In a three-way contest, Gaekwad bagged 471 votes, while Azad, a World Cup winner and a three-term MP, managed 381 votes. Rakesh Dhruv finished a distant third with 223 votes. Former India women’s team captain Shantha Rangaswamy was elected unopposed as the female ICA representative nominee to the apex council.
“The outside world sees the glamour of cricket. But there are countless others who have worked hard for the game at the grassroots level. Most ex-cricketers, men and women are struggling to make a living. We need to work with the BCCI to help them,” Gaekwad’s personal statement to the ICA voters had read.
Azad, too, had spoken about the pension entitlement to “every cricketer who has played even one first- class match” in his statement to the voters. He also stressed upon “considerably enhanced pension” for Indian women cricketers. Gaekwad and Rangaswamy were in the ad-hoc Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that had reappointed Ravi Shastri as Team India’s head coach. They, along with Kapil Dev, had stepped down after conflict of interest complaints were made against them.
Hitesh Majumdar became the ICA secretary by securing 646 votes to his rival Ashu Dani’s 436 votes. V. Krishnaswamy, who had garnered 739 votes, defeated Kishore Kumar Sharma’s 336 votes, to become the ICA treasurer. Former middle-order batsman Ashok Malhotra was already elected unopposed as the ICA president. Surender Khanna became the ICA representative nominee to the IPL governing council. Rajesh Nayyar (Walia) and Yajurvindra Singh were elected unopposed as the two ICA member representatives.
The ICA has been formed as per the Lodha Committee recommendation to give cricketers a voice in the functioning of Indian cricket. Thanks to the reforms, for the first time a players’ association got the BCCI recognition, following which the elections were duly held. Three previous attempts were made by former cricketers to form an association – in the 1970s, late 1980s and at the turn of the century – which proved futile.
“There are 1,500 cricketers who are in the ICA. It’s the first time that the BCCI has recognised the cricketers’ association. This will have an impact. The ICA’s role is more as a (body) for the welfare of cricketers. This is the first step in the right direction. We will wait and watch how things pan out,” Malhotra told The Indian Express.
Legends such as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar haven’t joined the association so far, but the ICA president was hopeful they would eventually join. “We need their guidance and their wishes.” Malhotra also exuded hope that the ICA would get affiliated to the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.