The Sportstar’s first West Conclave here on Saturday saw speakers from different sports disciplines discuss vexing issues in the region and ways to better the playing conditions.
“I am pleased to learn that Sportstar West Sports Conclave Focus Gujarat is being organised at Ahmedabad. I am delighted to learn that the Conclave is being held as a precursor to the National Games,” was Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel’s message.
Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI’s first Chief Administrative Officer, spoke on the need for a contract system for domestic players. “The First Class contracts will happen one day but the modalities of it need to be worked out by players from each State,” said Prof. Shetty.
“The international contracts of Indian cricketers began in the Sri Lanka tour of 1997 when someone like Debasis Mohanty was getting the same match fee as Sachin Tendulkar. We met Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga and found out that they had a fixed grade system. We presented that to the BCCI, as a report, on our return. Sachin, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and I were some of the first to start the negotiations for an annual contract and it got implemented in 2004.”
Shishir Hattangadi, the former Mumbai player, feels while there is money in the Associations, “differentiating between a player who is young and doing well and one who has played for a very long time is a challenge because there is no yardstick.” But former India international Parthiv Patel said “players are being taken care of. It is not that player contracts are the only thing. Money is being spent.”
Narhari Amin, Rajya Sabha Member and veteran sports administrator, said, “In 1993 when I took the responsibility of the GCA, it had an 11-crore liability. There were litigations in the High Court and the Supreme Court, and the scene for cricket in Gujarat was almost over. But when I resigned from the post in 2009, the GCA had a surplus of over 50 crores.”
Meanwhile, swimmer Maana Patel, a multiple medal winner at the South Asian Games, believes Gujarat can finish in the ‘top five’ at the 36th National Games. “This time, we can expect a lot of medals from swimmers. We have a very good relay team as well, and I’m participating in five individual events and two relays later, and I’m hoping to win a medal in each of the five events,” Maana said.