18 May 2024 last updated at 10:26 GMT
‘Gender Sensitisation’ Programmes on the Anvil: BCCI GM Saba Karim
Wednesday 23 January 2019

Stung by the negative fallout from the comments made by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on the TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’, the BCCI has begun the process of introducing ‘Gender sensitisation’ programmes for the players. Lectures and workshops that mostly focused on media management and financial planning, especially for Under-19 and Under-23, will now be covering ‘gender sensitisation’ as well, even if it requires the hiring of external agencies.


BCCI’s General Manager (Cricket Operations) and former India wicketkeeper Syed Saba Karim confirmed to CricketNext that workshops focusing on ‘gender sensitisation’ will be mandatory for both men and women cricketers at all levels as well as all BCCI officials.


“We have regular camps in the summers at the NCA in Bengaluru for U-19 and U-23 boys and at the camps we organize lectures on media management, financial planning, laws of the game and character building,” Karim said. “But we need to evolve with the modern time, the changing environment throws its own set of challenges.


“BCCI being the parent body of cricket, we need to handle the change in dynamics. We intend to start programs on gender sensitisation and other similar issues from external agencies. Under this both men as well as women cricketers in all age-groups will be educated. Generally, we start around end of March till July-August, that’s when we’ll incorporate such lectures and workshops.”


The move comes in the wake of India ‘A’ coach and former India captain Rahul Dravid pointing to need for educating the young cricketers.


“Before the last two under-19 World Cups we did have lectures on various aspects. We brought in psychologists to speak to the players. We had workshops on building roles of responsibility. These lectures are also part of the NCA already,” Dravid told The Hindu.


“We need to keep refining and keep getting better. We can only try to ensure but we are not in a position to completely take charge or be responsible for every action of the player. We can look to be meaningful and impactful in grooming them at the NCA. This training has to be done at various levels, from homes to schools and then the dressing room at the state level.”


Karim also confirmed that contracted senior players will also need to attend these workshops.


“Whenever they have a preparatory camp, we’ll love to get the players on board,” he said. “Most of the young players have come through the above system and undergone lot of these workshops. As and when they are in NCA for the senior national camps, they will be attending the workshops. Gender sensitisation will be for office bearers, players at all levels.”


The move also means BCCI CEO Rahul Johri could be among the first few to attend such a workshop as mandated by Veena Gowda, a member of independent inquiry committee investigating sexual harassment charges against Johri. Gowda had not found Johri guilty of sexual harassment but suggested that he should undergo some form of ‘gender sensitisation counselling/training’.


Karim also informed that BCCI has already incorporated suggestions Justice RM Lodha into the BCCI handbook dealing with appropriate player behaviour.


“The BCCI handbook is pretty exhaustive and is available on the official website,” he said. “It deals with everything required by players that they need while growing up — pressures of media management and financial planning. We are always reiterating things from this handbook to the players in the camps.”


Asked about the need for financial education for young Indian cricketers like Prabhsimran Singh and Prayas Ray Burman, Karim said, “Most of the young IPL players are BCCI registered players. We need to have proper communication with the different IPL franchises and I look forward to having a productive meeting with them on the issue of educating the young players sometime soon.”

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