Indian cricket needs to be taken to far greater heights. It is a game that evokes emotions, creates heroes and brings in pots of money. It is a full-fledged business and so the activities around it have to reflect transparency for it to succeed in future.
My 10+1 ideas for taking Indian cricket to further glory in 2014 begins with a transparent BCCI that is run by professionals. Accountability for money spent on development of cricket at the associate and district levels should be monitored. The Supreme Court’s observation that a sportsman should head a sports association could provide the ground for a good beginning.
Domestic cricket is the backbone of the game in India. The scheduling of matches must take into account all aspects to make the league stage playing conditions similar. To encourage the spread of the game it is essential to have matches at every turf centre. The Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy should be given more importance.
University cricket needs to be encouraged and it is never too much to highlight the importance of an educated sportsman. Youngsters at Indian universities have no opportunity to play at a higher level. An all-India university team could be a good way to get them into the fold.
Junior cricket is a part of the BCCI curriculum, but school cricket is not well organised in India. Coaching at most centres is handled by individuals and getting into a junior side happens through powerful lobbying by influential people. BCCI needs to ensure that exceptionally talented junior performers are offered scholarships.
In 2014, the Indian cricket team will need to concentrate on establishing itself as a force to be recognised in world cricket especially after the retirement of many senior cricketers. It will be necessary for the team to perform well overseas. The Indian team has talented youngsters who will need to raise the bar.
One of the most thoughtful programmes initiated by the BCCI was the appointment of Talent Research Development Officers (TRDO) – former cricketers who travelled around India to identify talented youngsters.
This should be revived with a proper format under an able for- mer cricketer.
BCCI will need to use technology to run its multimillion-dollar operations. Every state association needs to be connected to the parent body. A database of players, officials, umpires, administrators and all concerned with the game should be just a click away. Technology should be used to create coaching content for distribution to schools, individuals, clubs and academies. IA modern museum is now a necessity to add further to cricket's fan following in India. Historical milestones can be created through a Cricket World similar to Disney or Universal studios.
Coaching and certification through a systematic procedure is essential. Although there is a coaches programme for various grades and levels, local politics have kept quite a few of the Level 3 coaches idle. Most schools have cricket masters rather than trained coaches and their time schedule and costs do not give them the luxury of getting themselves certified. The BCCI should have mobile teams that can travel to various centres to hold programmes for cricket coaches and umpires, whose numbers are few.
TRAINING IS THE KEY
Health, nutrition and training are in complete disarray. Lack of proper medical facilities and trained physical instructors has been the reason for many injuries and delayed recovery.
There should be a standard fitness regime. At present the exposure to such processes are only implemented at the international level .
Drugs, gambling, cheats, match and spot fixers should be severely punished. There should be no escape for such offenders.
A proper law should be brought in immediately and the guilty should have their records and awards erased. An education programme about the ills of such activities should be forcefully conveyed.
Women’s cricket needs a serious thrust. A financial and structural boost with professional coaches, mentors and management could just be the right ingredients to make our girls winners. We have some outstanding women players who need to be encouraged through sponsorship and scholarships.
(The writer is a former Test Cricketer)
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.