Blind cricket team's players do not get any amount for playing in the major tournaments and in fact, have to take a cut from their salaries as well so that they could practice for extra hours.
During his 29th episode of Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian cricket team for winning the Blind T20 World Cup by defeating the arch-rivals Pakistan earlier this month. Even though the Prime Minster may pretend that he is trying to promote differently-abled players in the country, government’s actions speak otherwise. In a cricket crazy nation where players are treated as Gods, blind cricketers who are serving the nation with equal determination are termed as ‘the other men in blue’, do not have any proper infrastructure, facilities and are paid very less than the Indian team.
Despite winning two consecutive World Cups, it is the sheer determination and love for the game that keeps these players going, and not money or fame. “When we win, the central government and state governments give us cash prizes, but otherwise we get no match fees and salary. I go back to farming in Odisha after tournaments. My mother is also blind and she asks me to not pursue the game. It’s very sad that I don’t earn a decent income but the game makes me feel alive,” said Sukhram Majhi during an interview while the World Cup was going on.
These players do not get any amount for playing in the major tournaments and in fact, have to take a cut from their salaries as well so that they could practice for extra hours. Even the prize money for Man of the Match award ranges between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 and that is given to just one player in each match. Sadly, these players do not have the luxury to play in leagues like IPL or Big Bash for extra income.
After a lot of drama Minister of Sports, Vijay Goel, who made headlines for clicking selfies at the Rio Olympics, announced a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh for each member of the victorious Blind cricket T20 World Cup winning squad. In the IPL auction, the minimum base price of a player is Rs, 10 lakhs. So, even a 17-year-old who hasn’t played much cricket can end up making more money in 6 weeks than a blind World Cup winner who gave his fours years for the title.
Sadly, the government is more interested in giving statements in media and taking away the credit instead of helping these players. So, Mr Narendra Modi, the blind Indian cricket team or any other sports person in the country for that matter, do not require your appreciation after they achieved something, they need your support to achieve it.