Owing to the spread of the disease, cricket activities in Thiruvallur have been on a halt for over three months, with the last competitive fixture taking place on March 17. Umpires and scorers, who approximately earn Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 per matchday respectively during a regular season, were left in deep waters when sport was forced into a break.
So, in a bid to bring some cheer on their faces, the Umpires Sub Committee – comprising its chairman AV Loganathan, V Ganesan and K Raghuram – and Scorers Sub Committee – consisting of its chairman A Manikandan, R Devatirajan and S Prabhakara Sharma – have joined forces with their association president N Srinivasa Rao and secretary RN Baba.
The group has come up with a noble initiative, which provides stipend support to 15 officials on a monthly basis. “Some people in our community have been badly affected. Even those who have day jobs are struggling in these difficult times. Hence, we decided to come forward and help them,” said experienced umpire Loganathan, whose company Railway Employees Cooperative Credit Society has paid him full salary even during lockdown.
“Initially, I had a chat with scorer Manikandan regarding this a couple of months back. We then took the idea to the TDCA president and secretary, with both responding positively. They put money out of their own pockets for this initiative. In fact, it was secretary Baba who asked us to assist those in need every month,” he added.
Apart from the above-mentioned higher-ranked officials, other office bearers, fellow umpires, scoring colleagues and well-wishers of TDCA have contributed funds. A stipend of Rs 2,000 was given to each of the 15 officials for June, with the committee members hopeful of continuing the practice for at least the next two months.
“We calculated the average of their TDCA income and arrived at a figure, which is Rs 2,000. We have so far collected Rs 75,000 from various sources. In case we fall short of funds in the coming months, the association will fill up the balance amount,” said Manikandan, a BCCI scorer.
Umpire S Natarajan is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the initiative as his livelihood is dependent on cricket. “I am grateful to TDCA. Even my close relatives were reluctant to assist me in this tough period,” said Natarajan, who has been active in the circuit for 20+ years.