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(Repeating, correcting amount in the second last para)

Written by: Staff
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Ahmedabad, Mar 5 (UNI) In a new initiative to further the financial well-being of the past players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today announced a monthly pension scheme for all former Test cricketers.

Speaking to the reporters after an inauguration function of the new premises of Gujarat Cricket Association, BCCI chief Sharad Pawar said under the scheme each of the former Test cricketers and their widows will get a monthly pension of Rs 25,000.

The scheme has been introduced by the Board to acknowledge the contribution of the former cricketers who have served the game and nation with very small compensations and as a result many of them are living in very bad financial position, Mr Pawar said.

Recalling his own experience, Mr Pawar said his father-in-law, who had played for the country as a player from Baroda Cricket Association, drew just Rs 15 for a Test and travelled by third class ticket in train.

He said when the Board has been drawing an annual income of over Rs 1,000-crore, it was obligatory to reward those former players who have spent their most important years of life in serving cricket to take its popularity graph to the level of football or tennis as in European and American countries.

Mr Pawar also said the Board will spare Rs 100 crore rpt crore for a fund to help Indian sports prodigies for improving their performance in Olympic Games.

''Non-winning of medals in Olympics and world events by Indian sports personalities was not because of lack of talents but due to lack of proper infrastructure, training, equipment and other facilities,'' Mr Pawar said, adding that BCCI has therefore decided to allocate the fund to facilitate these talented prodigies.

UNI MP MJ PDS KN1528

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