By Kushan Sarkar
New Delhi: Committee of Administrators (COA) member and former India captain Diana Edulji has become a direct beneficiary of the one-time ex-gratia payment introduced in 2017 for the country’s women cricketers. Former Indian women internationals have received ex- gratia payment between Rs 15 to Rs 25 lakh based on the number of international matches played. Edulji, with 20 Tests and 24 ODIs, is entitled to get benefits and she has received this after becoming a member of the COA. Edulji had recused herself from the COA meeting where monetary benefits for women cricketers were discussed. BCCI hands out one-time benefits to former India Women cricketers
“It was minuted in the COA meeting that Diana Edulji had recused herself from discussions on women’s cricket specifically to avoid the Conflict of Interest issue,” a BCCI official privy to the development came to Edulji’s defence. But there are voices of dissent in the BCCI for the manner in which the amount of ex-gratia benefit was fixed and how it was passed without placing it before the general body of the BCCI. “Obviously, she [Edulji] should get benefit but she was a member of the committee that took a policy decision,” another BCCI official said. Former India Women cricketers to be awarded with MCC life membership
The BCCI has already started felicitating the former women players at various grounds during the ongoing Indian Premier League matches. The players are being presented with token cheques and the amount is expected to be deposited in their bank accounts. Former India players like Sangita Dabir, Sudha Shah, Arundhati Ghosh, Sunita Singh, Vrinda Bhagat are some of the names, who have benefitted from the one-time payment scheme for women cricketers.
Most of the former women players, who are getting one- time benefit played international cricket under the aegis of Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI). It was later merged with the BCCI. As recently as in 2016, the BCCI brought the current women stars under their Central Contract scheme. Players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana were given permission to play the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia — a first by the world’s richest cricket board.