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Non-Payment of Fees by BCCI leaves Bihar Cricketers in a Crisis

The reason for delay, said to a Bihar Cricket Association official, was an ‘error in vouchers’ submitted to BCCI.

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Cricketers representing Bihar find themselves in a fund crunch as they await payment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season, the Indian Express reported.

Players from the state’s Under-23, Under-19 and the senior team are yet to be reimbursed for their services in the preceding two years and as a repercussion, those from humble backgrounds are struggling to make ends meet.

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Prashant Singh, a 21-year-old fast bowler who featured in six Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy games in 2019 but warmed the bench in the 2020 edition, hasn’t received his match fees so far. With the pandemic raging across the country like wildfire, Prashant is not being able to bear the treatment cost for his elder brother who is COVID-19 positive and isolating at home in Chhapra. His mother too is experiencing difficulty breathing and the onus lies entirely on Prashant, the sole breadwinner, to look after his ailing family members. It is a matter of grave concern that a BCCI-recognized player is being hard-pressed for money when he needs it the most.

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“Every time I get a message on my phone I presume money has been deposited. Last year I had to get my elder sister married. I borrowed money, hoping to repay when I get match fees. I lost my father in 2016. I haven’t received money till date. Now my elder brother has tested positive for the coronavirus. I don’t know where I will get money from,” Prashant, who is to be credited about Rs 8 lakh, told The Indian Express from Chhapra.

The reason for the delay, according to a senior Bihar Cricket Association official, was ‘error in vouchers’ submitted by the state unit to the BCCI. BCA president Rakesh Tiwary claimed the vouchers have been forwarded to the BCCI once again. In turn, a BCCI official in the know said they would have to scrutinise the fresh set of documents before releasing payments.

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“We had earlier sent invoices to BCCI but they informed us that there was an error in the documentation. All the invoices have been sent again (in March) and payment will be received soon,” Tiwary said. The BCCI official passed the buck to the state association. “Due to some issue within the association this situation has arisen,” he said. Sadly, it is the players who have been caught in this administrative crossfire.

Prashant feels the assurances coming from BCA officials that their dues will be cleared soon are all but hollow promises. “We have been hearing this for the last one year. ‘Money will be deposited next month’ is what we are told. Our financial situation is dire at the moment,” the youngster said.

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“We are talking about it almost every day. We check with each other if the money has been deposited. But nobody has received it. In these tough times, money is very important. Some of us have emailed top BCCI officials but we have not got a reply,” a senior player was quoted as saying in the report.

Match fees for cricketers vary from format to format. A cricketer is paid a daily allowance of Rs 40,000 per day for the Ranji Trophy, which was not conducted last season. Although the BCCI did manage to organize the Syed Mushtaq T20 and the 50-over Vijay Hazare tournaments in 2020-21. The match fees for the one-dayers is Rs 25,000, and Rs 12,500 for the T20s.

Under-23 players are paid Rs 63,000 for a four-day game and Rs 17,500 for a one-day affair. As per the procedure, players have to submit an invoice to their respective state associations at the conclusion of a tournament. The association then verifies the same and forwards it to the BCCI which upon satisfaction releases the payment to the players.

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