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    Women demand share after BCCI pay-out to male stars

    New Delhi: Former women players who turned out for the country have appealed to the Indian cricket board for a one-time pay-out as was done for their male counterparts from the profits of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

    The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last week decided to disburse Rs. 70 crore from its coffers accruing from the IPL and Champions League T20 tournaments to former Test and first-class cricketers who retired prior to 2004.

    Former women cricketers are happy at the BCCI's gesture and said they should also be included in the one-time payment scheme. "The BCCI should include us since women's cricket is also part of it since 2006," said Diana Edulji, the former captain and a top class left-arm spinner.

    "It is good that the board is helping the former players and it would be great if they include women cricketers also in the benefit scheme. In fact, it is great that the widows of the former players are also part of it. It is a small amount for the board and a big boon for women players," said Diana, who played 34 one-day internationals (ODI) and 20 Tests from 1976-93 and is also an Arjuna Awardee.

    Diana said that they have approached top BCCI officials and they were receptive. "I spoke to [BCCI member and IPL chairman] Rajiv Shukla and [secretary] Sanjay Jagdale two weeks ago and they said they were considering our case. I am waiting for a response from them."

    Another former captain, Shubhangi Kulkarni, concurred with Diana and said the one-off pay-out would be a great gesture as we are also covered by the Board's pension scheme. "Thanks to Sharad Pawar's intervention, we came under the pension scheme along with the men players. Now that the men have been paid, we should also be treated on a par with them," said Kulkarni, who played for India in 27 ODIs and 19 Tests between 1976-91.

    Asked what the Board's thinking about the women players' request, BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah said: "As of now, it is only at the consideration stage and we will soon take a decision."