Demonetisation affects India's richest sport, Ranji Trophy teams left cash strapped
With domestic records being broken everyday, this year’s Ranji Trophy campaign has been one to savour for cricket fans in India. However, the looming Lodha Committee reccommendations have created a financial bankruptcy cloud over the tournament, and the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI). By far the richest sport in the country, even cricket has been severely affected by the newly introduced demonetisation drive, which has seen Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes banned for daily usage, in an attempt to completely remove black money from the nation’s ecosystem. However, several travelling teams are struggling to meet the daily demands of plying their trade in India’s premier domestic competition.
Vidarbha, who are currently playing a match in Eden Gardens, Kolkata were forced to contact the local governing body, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) as they had no cash left with them midway through the match. However, due to the current absence of bank notes, even CAB has been unable to help the central Indian outfit. Team Manager Kishore Wakode told Sportskeeda, “This came as a massive hit for us as we were alread cash strapped before the announcement. Once it happened, we realised that we just had Rs 500, Rs 1,000, immediately we spoke to the CAB, but they were in a similar predicament. Hence, we are essentially stuck here because we can’t do anything. I spoke to our opponent team, Maharashtra, and they haven’t been able to leave their hotel because they have no currency either. Most of us are using our cards, but prior cash based payments cannot be made. We are waiting on our association to help us out.”
A source within the CAB said, “We can’t give our team manager cash directly simply because we don’t have it, hence we are directly wire transferring the funds to their accounts directly. they have been asked to stay in their hotels and order whatever food they want. If there is a shortage of money, then we will reimburse them later from their own account. But, there is no doubt that it’s a difficult situation for both the teams and players. You have to understand that some of these players are high profile players, and you cannot expect them to stand in the queue for hours. Hence, we are trying to figure a logistical way around it. Our team manager currently has no money.”
The Bengal team’s cancelled match against Gujarat in Delhi acted as a blessing in disguise as the DA of Rs 1500 each was cashed in before hand. Even the Indian national cricket team were lucky as their full DA was paid in advance, confirmed Secretary Ajay Shirke. He also added that England agreed to make their own arrangements.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has taken an ad-hoc approach to the matter, requesting the players to pay from their card, with the amount being reimbursed later. Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said, “the association has instructed us to only make payments within the hotel, which they will reimburse us. The team manager was given hard cash, but unfortunately that cannot be used as nobody is taking 500,1000 here in Mysuru. I had gone myself to the atm, but most of them are not working or the lines are 1 km long. The association secretary also asked us not to venture into queues because some of the high profile players could be mobbed.”
With PM Narendra Modi stating that the country could inconveniently cash-strapped for another couple of weeks. It looks like India’s cricket state teams could be cash-strapped for a longer period of time.