'We were expecting to help 20 to 25 cricketers but with the support of fellow cricketers we have managed to provide assistance to 57 cricketers.'
Boosted by significant contributions, the Indian Cricketers' Association (ICA) has managed to raise Rs 78 lakh and will provide financial assistance to 57 needy cricketers as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICA had originally planned to help 25-30 former players, who are struggling for funds amid the health crisis.
"We were expecting to help 20 to 25 cricketers but with the support of fellow cricketers we have managed to provide assistance to 57 cricketers," ICA president Ashok Malhotra said.
The new batch of 24 beneficiaries include blind cricketer Shekhar Naik, who was awarded Padma Shri in 2017, and three widows of the former players.
Naik, who captained India to victories at the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in 2012 and Blind Cricket World Cup in 2014, has been slotted in category A and will receive one lakh along with seven more.
The second and third category that also feature eight beneficiaries each will receive Rs 80,000 and Rs 60,000 per person.
Cricketers who don't have jobs, who don't get pension from the BCCI or their respective state associations will be offered help.
Greats like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are among the ones who have made financial contributions to the cause.
As many as 1,750 former cricketers are registered with the ICA, India's first-ever players' association which came into being last year.
The ICA had received an initial grant of Rs 2 crore from the BCCI in February to kick-start its operations.