01 December, New Delhi
Former India skipper Rahul Dravid on Tuesday urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to pay attention and care to cricketers from a very young age for the development of the sport in the country.
“When I hear about some under-19 bowlers being reported for a suspect action, it upsets me deeply. What were the coaches doing until the boy got to that age – 17-18-19? Did his faulty action begin at the age of 10 years old, because his coach had him bowl the full 22 yards? Then as he grew up did his next bunch of coaches just let it go because the boy kept getting wickets and winning tournaments?” said the India Under-19 coach at the annual MAK Pataudi Lecture here.
“So, at 19, when an eager, hard-working boy could have played the junior World Cup, he is left trying to correct his action instead. Did this collection of short-term goals achieved through short-cuts hurt the child because as adults we turned a blind eye?” he added.
“Like the issue of bowling actions, it is a similar emphasis on short-term results that has led to the scourge of overage players in junior matches. That entire exercise begins when a coach alters a player’s date of birth so that he can take part in a local tournament. The truth is that the player who has faked his age might make it at the junior level not necessarily because he is better or more talented, but because he is stronger and bigger. We all know how much of a difference a couple of years can make at that age. That incident will have another ripple effect: an honest player deprived of his place by an over-age player, is disillusioned. We run the risk of losing him forever,” the 42-year-old said.
‘The Wall’ also stressed that there must be strict guidelines as to what a child does at an academy – what age group plays with what ball, how many yards do they bowl from, how many overs they bowl and what the coach to child ratio must be.
He asserted that the BCCI must publish a Minimum Standards guideline which academies must adhere to.