Cricketer Abid Ali Battling Ill-Health

Cricketer Abid Ali Battling Ill-Health

Post by Prasad Chodavara » Thu, 30 Nov 1995 04:00:00

 The Hindustan Times, Nov 17

 NEW DELHI - Nov 17: Within days of Sachin Tendulkar signing the most
 valuable endor***t contract in Indian cricket history, comes the
 distressing news that a former Indian national star is battling
 ill-health and living on the brink of a poverty.

        Abid Ali, opening bowler and alrounder in the Indian team of
 the early seventies, lies stricken by a heart problem in the United
 States, the land he migrated to some two decades ago. Since undergoing
 an open heart surgery in Feb. 1995, Ali has been living in permanent
 disability. "His family tries making ends meet on $300 a month", a
 friend contracted in the US said. "This is not even enough to pay
 Abid's medical insurance".

        After retiring from Cricket, Ali found his job at the State
 Bank of Hyderabad unexciting and "not conducive to growth". Sponsored
 by a relative, he took his family to the US and worked for 14 years as
 a computer technician in California.

        While financial difficulties always plagued Ali, he managed to
 send his son college and get his daughter married. His heart, however,
 continued to deteriorate and he underwent cardiac operations in 1983
 and 1984.

        Despite his physical weakness, Ali's love for cricket has not
 waned. For years, he has coached cricket clubs in California free of
 charge and even played friendly games.

        Early this year, Abid Ali had spoken to Mr Jagmonhan Dalmia,
 secretary, Board for Control of Cricket in India, interms of a coaching
 assignment in Calcutta. Unfortunately, he could not return to India due
 to his open heart surgery.

        Ali is eligible to receive a sum of money from the Cricketers
 BEnefit Fund Series, which organises international matches in Sharjah.
 His name has been recommended by the BCCI in the category of cricketers
 who finished their test careers before 1976.

        However, Ali's name is fairly low on the list. IT will be a
 while before he is honored in Sharjah unless the CBFS makes allowance
 for his critical condition and helps jump in the queue.

        When contacted in Calcutta, Mr Dalmiya said the BCCI was ever
 willing to help former cricketers in need. "If Abid Ali apprises us
 about his state, the finance committee can decide to help him
 financially".

        As Mr Dalmiya pointed out, there are precedents aplenty.
 "Recently, the board gave Chandra Shekar five lakh rupees for an
 operation".

        As a cricketer, Ali's position in history was assured in 1971.
 India won tests in the West Indies and England for the first time that
 year, with Syed Abid Ali scoring the winning runs on both occassions.
 The matches were played at Port of Spain, Trinidad and London's Oval
 ground.

        A combative cricketer, one of Ali's best innings was his 71 on
 a cold, damp day at Old Trafford, Manchester, in 1974. Involved in a
 face saving partnership with Ali in that test against England was Sunil
 Gavasker, who scored 101. Given the treacherous weather and the pitch,
 the "little master" regards this his finest century.

        Now, life has called upon Abid Ali to display his resilience
 all over again.

--
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