40 years after he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Tamil Nadu, former top order batsman Peter Fernandes is seeing turbulent times, financially.
This is due to the lockdown.
His coaching assignment was signed off sometime ago and the savings dried up. But now, a private body of cricketers has come to Peter’s rescue and he is breathing easy.
In the 1970s, Peter played for the Madras University team that won the national Rohintan Baria tournament. In 1980-’81 domestic season, he played 3 matches for Tamil Nadu under the captaincy of legendary S. Venkataraghavan. He was roped in by Sri Venkateswara Paper Boards, Udumalpet in 1976 to play for the team in the Coimbatore league, where he played for almost 25 years.
In the 1990s, Peter Fernandez donned the role of a Ranji trophy state selector for three years. He has also been an under-17 and under-22 selector for Tamil Nadu.
In 2001, he joined as coach at the MAC Spin Foundation, Kotturpuram. During his stint that lasted 15 years, he came into close contact with legendary spinner EAS Prasanna, Aussie off spinner from the 1970s Ashley Mallet, Lankan legend Muralidharan and Shane Warne’s coach Terry Jenner that turned out to be an enriching experience for him.
He also graduated to a BCCI Level 3 coach during the period.
Since January 2016, when the Spin Foundation shut down, Peter Fernandez has had a tough time financially with no cricket coaching work of any kind. Once in a while he has been involved in coaching/helping young kids in cricket but financially he has found it challenging with the health issues of his son adding to his worries.
He had hoped for the Spin Foundation to re-open but the promoters shut it down well and truly.
Then, Peter found some solace.
The Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) which was formed last year to promote the welfare and interests of former domestic cricketers has come forward to support Peter Fernandez in his time of need. Last Friday, ICA sanctioned financial support of Rs.80000.
Peter says that this financial support will be of great help to him at this stage of his life. He says that he has also spoken to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association to explore some sort of engagement in terms of a coaching role once the lock down is lifted and is hopeful that being a Level 3 coach and with the experience he has had at the Spin Foundation he will be able to get an assignment this year with the TNCA that will help him tide over the financial challenges.
Peter Fernandez resides on K. B. Dasan Road.
- Report by S. Prabhu