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BCCI to disburse one-time benefit to board critic Kirti Azad

FILE PHOTO: Kirti Azad during a ‘dharna’ against IPL

Saner counsel seems to have prevailed finally as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has softened its stand on outspoken former India all-rounder and MP Kirti Azad.

The world’s richest cricket body has now decided to disburse an amount of Rs. 50 lakh to the former India player as a one-time benefit payment.

It is worth recalling that Azad, who was part of the 1983 World Cup winning team, had fell out of favour with the Indian cricket board after he took a swipe at them last year.

Azad, who was a hard-hitting batsman and a handy spinner in his heydays, accused the board of indulging in ‘financial anomalies’. He was scathing in his criticism of the board for encouraging late night parties in the Indian Premier League.

Azad even tried to use his political muscle and sought the intervention of the then Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (now the country’s President) to take cognizance of the financial irregularities in the BCCI.

During the 2012 Indian Premier League, the former India all-rounder staged a protest dharna outside the New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

The ramifications of his outburst were immediate. Azad’s name was removed from the list of former cricketers, who were given money from the IPL surplus fund under BCCI’s one-time benefit scheme announced last year by president N Srinivasan.

It is learnt the Azad brokered peace with the board after some top BCCI mandarins intervened.

It may be mentioned here that the BCCI has started a system of organizing benefit matches for players, who served the country with distinction in 1992.

The issue of paying a one-time benefit to players raised its ugly head last year when Azad along with few other Indian cricketers were not considered for the one-time benefit, as the BCCI’s contention was that the board had already organized benefit matches for them.

Former India captains Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Syed Kirmani and Mohinder Amarnath were kept out of the one-time benefit scheme as the BCCI had already staged benefit games for them in the past.

But last August, BCCI took a U-turn and decided to dole out its one-time benefit payment to Gundappa Viswanath, Mohinder Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani.

Former Indian captain Kapil Dev was granted amnesty by the board last year, which effectively means he shall be entitled to his one-time benefit as well.

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