Harsha Bhogle

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More time in domestic cricket will benefit young Indians

Ajinkya Rahane's success so far, and it is important to remember that it has only been two innings as I write this, is an interesting development for both young cricketers and selectors.


For those who think that getting your front foot out of the way, tonking a few and eyeing an IPL contract is the way ahead, the news is that the longer you bat the better you seem to get. Rahane has an outstanding first class record, has seen success and frustration and has shown the right attitude towards playing cricket. And 17 first class hundreds means he doesn't only know how to bat but also how to get runs. And those are two rather different things! He's shown himself to be quite capable in the T20I and the rained-out ODI against England as well.


He was India's top performer with the bat according to the Castrol Index in the T20I and contributed with a helpful 40 runs in the one-day match, too. The former was in a losing cause, but the ODI looked promising for India until the weather spoiled the show.


For the selectors it means letting a batsman feel his way for a couple of seasons at least in domestic cricket so that he can understand his game, and himself, better. A Sachin Tendulkar comes very rarely and Rahul Dravid had almost five seasons before he made his international debut. It is just as true of writers, broadcasters and news journalists to name just a few; the more time you put in before you hit the big stage, the better chance you have of being ready.


Meanwhile the verdict against Dravid at Durham, coupled with that against Phil Hughes in Sri Lanka, must make the ICC look very, very closely at where they want to go with technology. In the Dravid case, either the umpire - and Marais Erasmus is a decent umpire - got it completely wrong with the audio evidence or Hot Spot failed to find a nick again.


I know Hot Spot has had a rough tour by its standards, but if it was indeed correct (MS Dhoni says Dravid told him he didn't nick it), then you have to question the quality of audio evidence. We know already that the Snickometer isn't reliable in hands that aren't completely reliable but can we go with audio evidence? The playing conditions for the tour allow that but it is something we need to review.


The more I watch cricket the more I come round to thinking that as long as we can make the mat accurate, we should use technology to check the point where the ball pitched and where it made contact with the pad, use the super slo-mo to check if there was an inside edge in an lbw appeal and look for run outs and stumpings.


I don't think the umpires would mind that too much. There are some very decent umpires at the moment and maybe we should just empower them. And, by the way, like with batting and the other professions I mentioned, the more hours you umpire, the better you get!

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