For former fast bowler, Devraj Govindraj, the long wait continues! The Hyderabadi, who was part of the Indian team on its successful twin tour to West Indies and England in 1971 without actually playing in any Test, is still counting on what he feels was a costly mistake by the BCCI in considering the number of first-class games for getting pension.
“As per the BCCI’s norms declared in 2012 for the benefit of first-class cricketers, there were two schemes – one-time cash benefit of Rs 25 lakhs and also a monthly pension of Rs.40,000 for those who played 75 first-class games,” the 73-year-old Govindraj informed Sportstar on Friday.
“This helped a lot of cricketers who were financially not sound. In my case, though I played 77 first-class games between 1964-75, I am denied the one-time cash benefit as the BCCI erred in counting my number of matches and fixed it at 73,” Govindraj wrote in a letter to the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
Consequently, I have been forced to settle for Rs. 22,500 under the different slab,” the fast bowler wrote.
“It is two months since I wrote to the BCCI chief. May be, because of lockdown, the issue may have got stuck. But, I am sure, if he sees my letter, there will be some kind of response,” says a hopeful Govindraj.
“Frankly, the pension which I am getting was okay at the start but with cost of living going up and no own place to stay, one can imagine my plight,” says the fast bowler who even worked as a bus driver in London transport after being with the Indian team on that 1971 tour.
“I expect that you will do justice being an iconic player yourself and also the BCCI chief. I am a retired person and with the pension being the only source of income for me,” was Govindraj’s appeal to Ganguly.
For the record, someone who was rated as the fastest of his time in India, he has been training young talent at Dilsukhnagar since since 2011 on his return from UK.
Govindraj, a huge fan of late M.L. Jaisimha, in fact submitted the complete details of the 77 first-class games he played to the BCCI chief for consideration.
In fact, this is not the first time the fast bowler made such an effort. Earlier also, he appealed to many former cricketers and BCCI officials but failed to evoke a response.
This time around, Govindraj is more optimistic.