BCCI Apex council member Shantha Rangaswamy has written to the council to review hospital reimbursement policies for female cricketers, in addition to pushing for a rule change to ensure “the best team available” for the inaugural U-19 World Cup for ladies next year. The ICC recently announced that the Age Group World Cup will finally take place next year after it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCCI sources told PTI that the top team has received a letter from Rangaswamy regarding the existing U-19 rule for female cricketers and the hospitalization schedule for senior team members.
“BCCI has a policy that in domestic U-19 tournaments a player who has played for four years cannot participate in the U-19 championship even if the age is well below 19. This is supposedly done to get more cricketers to produce,” Rangaswamy wrote in the letter in the possession of PTI.
From the senior India team, players like Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh will qualify for the U-19 ICC event next year. “When it comes to the World Cup, it must be ensured that all those who have played under 19 years are eligible for selection, regardless of how many years they have played in the national U-19 tournaments.
“Whether this means relaxing this 4-year rule in the World Cup year so that they can play in domestic tournaments so selectors can watch them play remains to be decided.
“Since the four-year rule is primarily intended to bring new players into national cricket, there is a strong need to relax this rule at least during the World Cup year to allow all players (who are still 19 years must complete) qualify for India roster with the sole purpose of building the strongest team, this can be kindly researched and considered favorably,” she said.
Relaxation in the medical reimbursement rule
Since there is no premier female cricket in India, Rangaswamy wants the BCCI to relax the eligibility criteria for 10 matches to declare hospitalization costs to the board. With a focus on white-ball formats, the multi-day domestic event was discontinued after the 2017-18 season.
“BCCI has a reimbursement of hospitalization costs up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh over a player’s lifetime. The scheme sets a mandatory standard whereby a player must have played a minimum of 10 First Class matches to be eligible for this benefit.
“The criteria of TEN First Class matches are the same for both male and female cricketers… Female cricketers who fall under the above standard will never be eligible for hospital reimbursement as they do not play three-day matches at all.” she wrote.
Rangaswamy wants all players from India to be covered regardless of the games they have played.
“In light of the above anomaly, there is a strong need to reconsider/reframe the standards for female cricketers under the Hospital Reimbursement Scheme. I request your permission to place the following points for consideration.
“The good intentions of BCCI’s welfare measures designed to care for former players will not see the light of day unless the eligibility criteria for female cricketers are changed.
“I urge this lofty body to formulate the policy proposed above to ensure welfare measures reach the country’s female cricketers who have served the game well in their days,” she added.
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