Batting for the Indian women cricket players, the National Commission for Women has written to Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken alleging discrimination in acknowledging and awarding the contribution of women players to the sport.

The letter comes a week after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) disbursed Rs.70 crore from the Indian Premier League (IPL) surplus as one-time payment benefit to 160 former international and domestic players who retired prior to 2004. Now demanding that women cricket players too be given “some sort of monetary encouragement, we have written to the Minister asking for his urgent intervention,” Commission chairperson Mamta Sharma said here on Saturday.

“We are also demanding a one-time payment benefit for former women cricket players from the profits of the IPL, as was done recently for their male counterparts. Why should there be discrimination? A woman is second to none. If former male players are entitled to the payment, women should also get it,” said Ms. Sharma.

Slamming the BCCI for ignoring the effort of women players, she added: “We have raised the issue with Mr. Maken and told him that efforts made by these players should be praised, encouraged and awarded. We are also planning to write to BCCI president N. Srinivasan asking him to consider the matter.”

Ms. Sharma also mooted the idea of an IPL featuring women cricket players. “Well it's an idea, and I don't see why an all-women IPL is impossible to achieve. However, that Commission has to take a collective view on this issue.”

Reacting to the support by the Commission, veteran woman cricketer Diana Edulji said: “In our individual capacity, a group of former Indian women players had appealed to the BCCI asking them to consider us for the one-time payment too. Depending on the amount that is being given to the players, the monetary benefit would help all former players.”

Welcoming the move, Indian national women's cricket team member Anjum Chopra said: “It's a good feeling to be acknowledged…. being awarded for playing for the country gives every player a sense of pride and the feeling that he/she is part of a family. Of course, I am not comparing ourselves to the men's cricket as they play for the masses and we still have to raise our game to that level. And I also believe that if we win a World Cup, the public perception in India about us will change.”

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