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Sight Screen

Monday, September 26, 2005

Silver lining

A sliver of a one, but in these troubled times, every little helps: the India Under-19 team has taken a 3-1 lead over its Australian counterparts.
Oh damn, I think I'll take a break from this blog and get back to it maybe later in the evening -- right now, even when I look for silver linings, all I can see are clouds. Has it struck you as odd that year after year, our Under-19 teams earn high honors in competition -- and yet, those promising boys never really seem to step up to the next level?
Sure, in any such team, you will find boys who are precocious for that particular age group, but not talented enough to step up to the next level -- but surely at least one, two of these promising boys who play for our U-19 sides each year should be heard from since? And that in turn leads to the cloud I noticed in this silver lining: Where, in our cricket structure, in the way we administer the game, is there a set-up, a provision, for picking these kids, nurturing their skills, shepherding them along to the next level so there is a feeder base of talent for the national team?
Where, in all this fuss about who should coach the national team and how, is there any appreciation for the fact that it is these lads who will really benefit from high quality coaching?
Reminds me of a chat I had with Robin Singh a couple of years ago. He was fresh from coaching the U-19s, and was in Detroit, Michigan, to attend a cricket function at which both of us were guests.
Robin spent some time talking of the real talents among his wards. The greatest praise, at the time, was reserved for Ambati Rayudu, but Robin made a very perceptive comment at the time: The boy, he said, has oodles of talent, but he will benefit from a strong guiding hand, he is the kind who should work with a quality coach who will keep his nose to the grindstone and make him perform time and again; if you don't do that, Robin said, Rayudu's talent will dissipate.
Sure enough, those words have proved true this past year and a half -- left largely to his own devices, without the board and the selectors giving him a feel for what his place in the scheme of things is, Rayudu appears to have fallen away in terms of performance.
And that brings up the tangential thought I had -- Robin, for instance, has done superb work with the juniors. So on that occasion I casually asked him how long he was contracted to coach the youngsters.
What contract, was Robin's surprising answer. He told me he didn't have a clue what his role was -- the BCCI, he said, will call, maybe a week before some tournament, and ask him to coach; once that is over, he goes back home with no clue when, whether, and if he is going to be needed again.
Robin is a very placid sort of bloke, not given to bitterness -- but it was hard to miss the angst in his tone when he said, so what is new? As a player I never knew what my future was, now as a coach, it is the same thing, I am used to this.
Right -- enough depression for one morning, let me go get some work done, talk to you guys later in the day.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger tombaan, at 12:35  

  • Tombaan, Don't be like one of the so called journo's who publish without verifying..
    Nagma was supposedly SG's girlfriend, not Khushboo

    By Blogger Dementor, at 12:42  

  • Prem, There's little chance that SG can make a good cross examiner. Unfortunately, This is more about smooth talking and about either dazzling with brilliant mumbo jumbo or baffling people with bull shit. And GC will win hands down in this contest that you suggest. This is about control of the team. no doubts about it. And since SG did not win the triseries cup and to boot has been very much on the defensive with his batting form and recent losses of the ODI team its a good time for GC to go for the jugular. Unfortunately SG will crack at this hearing and will make a hash of his presentation and Ganguly bashers will go " Ganguly yeda Maanus hai...uska batting bhi kharaab hai…CHappell tho Hoshiyaar lagta hai......Kya sakht aadmi hai.. sabko line mein karega". We Indians seem to always strive for excellence .… in others. Looks like “good bye SG” to me. The leak (hopefully not well-orchestrated) is a huge boon for GC to win the battle of public opinion. Remember The person who makes the first charge gets most of the attention and is believed the most .. always. The defendant is always playing catch up and is behind the 8 ball..(to use, ironically, a Pool term). There's a famous quote in legal circle...Justice has as much to do with Truth as a Hot Dog has to do with a Puppy.

    My prediction.. SG will go from ODI team.. may hang on to captaincy of Test team (with Gavaskar pushing hard for it) but only for a while. Team will continue to suck in ODI’s (think about it.. Kaif, Yuvraj facing up to Murali while chasing a target..shudder… but it could be worse…Yuvraj facing Murali in TESTS !). Indians should be thrilled to make it to Super six or whatever in WC2007. GC will maintain the fine Indian cricketing tradition and take us to the dizzying heights of ….mediocrity…just as he did with South Australia.

    As a side bar Prem.. I personally think GC's contract should be re-worked and he should given a *lifetime* appointment as Director of National Cricket Academy, Bangalore. Then by WC2011 we will have the first of hopefully many installments of a pure aryan race of indian cricketers with an aussie outlook on cricket. We will then always be in with a chance of winning all our cricketer matches year after year. And then we can all go:
    "Hail Chappell" and rush out and buy his new best selling book “Mein Kriket”!

    Hope all’s well with you Prem and good to catch up with you after many interesting (and a few contentious) e-mail exchanges during WC2003 ! Take care, friend.

    By Blogger Prasad, at 12:43  

  • Robin has been a gem for Indian Cricket

    By Blogger Parvath Reddy, at 13:50  

  • A lot of the kids from under 19 team have been nurtured in last 4-5 years. Where from do you think Yuvi, Kaif, That Haryana Wicketkeeper, Parthiv, Raina, RP Singh, Dinesh Karthik, come from?
    There have been several of them who have been given scholorship to go to Australia. Just because Rayudu couldnt make the cut doesnt mean that others are not being given the opportunities. I have listed 6-7 of them who have played for India. And there could be few more of such. Some of them like Sodhi, Rayudu couldnt perform at top while some have.

    By Blogger Vick, at 14:28  

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