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Women seek BCCI's expertise
Deepti Patwardhan | May 30, 2005 14:39 IST
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has said the Women's Cricket Association of India's merger proposal is on the agenda but nothing is finalised yet.
"The decision will be taken during our working committee meeting in June," BCCI Secretary S K Nair told rediff.com
The WCAI won't be represented at the meeting.
The decision will be critical for women's cricket in the country as the International Cricket Council has said the team could be sidelined internationally if the WCAI does not merge with the BCCI.
"The ICC has been insisting on the merger," WCAI Secretary Shubhangi Kulkarni said.
"The ICC has said if we don't merge then there is a possibility we would be left out. We have asked them for extension of time, which the ICC has granted and will run till April 2006. They said further action would be decided only then."
Though England, Australia and New Zealand were the first countries where the men's and women's cricket boards merged, all other countries, except India, followed suit after the ICC's merger with the International Women's Cricket Council.
The WCAI has been trying for a merger for the past couple of years, but about a year-and-a-half ago the BCCI dismissed the proposal without giving any reasons.
Kulkarni said the WCAI is not looking for funding from the BCCI, but is more interested in borrowing its marketing expertise and experience.
"They have made the game so big in the country. I hope that with the two Boards merging, women's cricket will also get the exposure and bring in more sponsors.
"Also, it will provide with better coaching and training facilities. The NCA (National Cricket Academy) trains coaches, so we'd basically want to avail such facilities where we have better players and better coaches coming through the system."
Vinod Sharma, who coached the Indian Railways to the Ranji championship this year and also coached the women's side for almost 16 years, said the BCCI could provide "guardianship" to women's cricket.
"These poor players don't get any benefits for playing. Hopefully, if they merge with the BCCI they can have good support staff to improve their physical fitness. The BCCI can get them sponsors and streamline the national championships, make them more organized like men's domestic cricket."
Since cricket is not a general category sport or Olympic sport, the women's side does not get any government support and has to look after itself.
Kulkarni feels the Indian team exceeded all expectations by reaching the World Cup final in South Africa early this year and this helped create awareness about the team.
"For the first time we have a sponsor (Sahara). Things have been looking up for a while now and the training conditions for the players have certainly improved," she added.