India Under-19 team have a plush hotel but no money for dinner

Players have had to fend for themselves for dinner after play, and rely on their parents for money.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Updated: February 8, 2017 10:43 am
india vs england, under 19 team, u 19 team, eng vs india, u 19 cricket team, BCCI, ajay shirke, rahul dravid, COA, u 19 team dinner, sports news, cricket Coach Rahul Dravid with the Under-19 team after winning the match against England in Mumbai Monday. Express photo

A FORTNIGHT into their 30-day home series against England, India’s Under-19 cricketers and their support staff, including coach Rahul Dravid, are yet to receive their daily allowances.

Reason? The absence of an official signatory to release funds after the Supreme Court removed BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, and the cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week following the demonetisation policy.

This bizarre combination has resulted in the junior cricketers going for half-a-month without their entitled allowance of Rs 6,800 per day. So much so, the players have had to fend for themselves for dinner after play, and rely on their parents to help them with money.

Sources confirmed that the players were told the BCCI does not have an official signatory to sign on daily allowance cheques — all payments need to have the approval of the secretary. After Shirke was shown the door, along with BCCI president Anurag Thakur, the board is left with joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary. But for one of them to become the new signatory, the board’s members will have to pass a new resolution.

The Committee of Administrators (COA) appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the board’s functioning had allowed BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to use its imprest account — for small, routine operating expenses — from a bank to pay the daily allowances of the senior team, which is in Hyderabad at the moment. However, sources said, the junior team — 18 squad members plus seven support staff — have been missed out.

Besides, said a BCCI official, the board has been hampered by the weekly cash withdrawal limit after the demonetisation move. “We have decided that once the series gets over, we will send DA directly to the accounts of players and support staff. Even in BCCI, there are lots of problems, as we don’t have a signatory and we can’t pay anyone,” the official said.

A member of the Under-19 team, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We are managing somehow. During match-days, one meal is organised by the host association and breakfast is complimentary at the hotel. But the biggest problem is dinner. We are put up in a posh hotel in Mumbai where a sandwich costs over Rs 1,500. Players have no option but to step out for a meal after a tiring day on the field.”

All players are now relying on money sent by their families. “Even if you want to complain, who will you complain to,” one of them said.

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