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WC Batter-Bowler Smitha Harikrishna Won’t Get BCCI’s Monthly Gratis

A substantial increase in the monthly gratis announced by the BCCI for retired cricketers has brought joy to all of them. The Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) whose representatives — Anushman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy — are in the Apex Council of the BCCI conveyed its happiness to Jay Shah (Secretary, BCCI); some cricketers took to Facebook and Twitter outlets to thank Shah, but there is one unhappy soul — Karnataka’s Smitha Harikrishna — who is left wondering why she was given the go bye by her fraternity and the BCCI whose President is former India captain Sourav Ganguly. Smitha played 22 one day internationals from 1995 to 2000, 13 matches of which were in World Cups held in 1997 in India and in New Zealand. Those who argue for Smitha’s genuine grievance say that if those who have played only one Test (before the cut-off date of December 2004) can get Rs 30,000 a month, why is Smitha being discriminated against. Initially the BCCI took a policy decision to consider monthly gratis to women players who have played upwards of five Tests on or before December 31, 2004, but the Supreme Court appointed of Administrators extended the benefit to those who played even one Test match, leaving one day specialist Smitha in tears. The increase in monthly gratis payment has only compounded her woes.