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Sight Screen

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hear it for Rayudu

Every day brings more nuggets from the Chappell presentation before the Board's selection committee -- thus today, Rajaraman in Outlook has more on the matter.
What Rajaraman says ties in with recent emails I've had from friends within the administration, who were made privy to the Chappell presentation. Each of those emails focussed on a different aspect, but they were all unanimous in saying that it was not only professional, but -- unlike the others -- showed clear signs that Chappell had done a lot of homework, not just on the current players but even on the talent hidden within the domestic structure.
Consider, for instance, this quote from the Outlook piece:
Chappell believes that Yuvraj Singh, Mahender Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ambati Rayudu will keep Indian batting world-class into the immediate future.

It is interesting that where most people who talk of Indian cricket hit the populist high-spots by naming 'the world's greatest batsman' and such, Chappell throws up, as an exemplar, the likes of Rayudu.
That lad is one of those examples of missed opportunities that Indian cricket abounds with. A couple of years back he was on fire; with talent and desire fusing perfectly. Since then, he has tended to fall away a bit -- and part at least of the blame goes to our cricketing structure.
A Michael Clarke, for instance, knew he was being considered for higher things, a good two years before he made the grade -- but in India, neither the selectors, nor the administrators, have a record of noticing talented young players and going out of their way to stoke their fires. No one talks to the young kids, no one tells them they are earmarked for greater things -- and thus, the lads go through the domestic motions without ever knowing if what they do is even being noticed.
Rayudu led India U-19 to an Asia Cup win; Irfan Pathan played under him. Irfan made the big league thanks largely to luck -- senior seamers became injured, we badly needed seam options. Rayudu though is primarily a batsman -- and we have enough of them, so the selectors aren't really keen on examining other options.
Give you an example of how we handle our talent: Many years ago, a youngster (on this one, I'd rather not go into names) who had a fair degree of ability and desire was picked out of the local first division leagues and asked to try out for the state team. He was then 18.
On the day, he went over to the ground. 10 nets had been set up; the state selectors -- all ensconced in chairs near net number one -- had lists of the players, divided into bowlers and batsmen.
The youngster's name was called. 'Go to net 10 and bat', he was told. He went, took guard, looked around, and realized that there was no way the selectors, at the other end of the ground, would even see what he was doing. He went through the motions, he was dismissed after five minutes, another name was called.
The demoralized lad went to a then national player who was his coach, and asked what the point was. Don't worry, he was told, it happens, you are still young, you have more chances ahead of you. Do well in the leagues, next year you can try out again.
He did. Next year was the same story. He gave up; he stopped playing the game with any seriousness and pretty soon, stopped playing even in the league. For why? Because, as he explained it when he was asked, 'When my father scolded me for spending so much time on cricket practise I would tell him I thought I had a future in the game; I'd fight with him to get him to let me practise when I should be studying. But now, I am not so sure -- it doesn't matter how good you are, the selectors have already made up their minds. So, when I am not convinced I have a future, how can I convince my father to let me play?'
Lord knows how many potentially good players we have lost to such apathy; if the new coach -- who, as he points out, was a key part of the Australian rebuilding process -- can introduce into Indian cricket a more player-friendly ethos, if he can build a system where young players are identified early and handled with sensitivity, he would have justified every penny we are paying him, and more.

2 Comments:

  • Everything that has come from Greg Chapell so far has been interesting. But we must not expect miracles from him. It is the same 11 that is going to go on the field and play for India. I hope the the people and media give Greg some time before judging his performance. If we expect a lot too soon we'll only set ourselves up for disappointment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:25  

  • amen...i was one such player...that kid's story was mine!! or just like mine.

    and i know so many others like me

    By Blogger Roshan, at 07:51  

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