A coach can’t be expected to check what the players do off the field, writes Makarand Waingankar
This year, IPL Governing Council included uncapped Indian players for the tournament.
This decision should be welcomed because several uncapped Indian players deserved the amount they received.
Players such as Rishi Dhawan for example, have been toiling hard and performing consistently. Dhawan was ignored for the Irani Cup by the national selectors even after his superb allround performances.
One area of concern is if these uncapped players will be able to perform as they have no experience on handling the pressure on and off the field.
When you play for the country, you can be excluded if you don’t perform.
But in IPL, the franchises want you to perform all the time because you have been bought for big money.
The case is not the same for the national team, where players are not bought but chosen.
Take the case of Abhishek Nayar, one of the very expensive players of last year’s auction who just couldn’t perform.
Moreover, every time he failed, the coaches sitting in the dugout expressed displeasure. It is true that eventually they are the ones whom the franchise hold accountable.
Ravi Shastri has even cautioned the uncapped players.
At an age when none of them was sure if he will be even served tea, getting into a big team and getting big money can make him vulnerable.
Shastri has echoed these concerns and he feels that the players should be mentored.
Succumbing to temptation
There have been cases of uncapped players going astray in the first few editions of IPL.
One of the players landed in jail and the money even lured players from Rajasthan Royals to indulge in betting activities.
The family of one player that was allegedly involved in betting ignored their son’s lavish lifestyle.
Nobody had doubts on the player’s calibre. He was a respectful and well behaved boy. But gradually everything changed. Was he questioned by his parents and friends about his life style? He was doing well for his State team and was making rapid progress as an allrounder. His friends kept on saying he had changed a lot but nothing else was done about it.
Eventually upbringing and education count.
How can we make sure the young players don’t go astray?
One suggests that the franchises or the IPL Governing Council should appoint professional mentors for the teams.
A coach is often made to do this. But this can’t be the job of a coach who has to tackle 25 players which include nine foreign players.
The coach is expected to get the players to perform. He can’t be expected to check what the players do off the field.
We need a professional system with a mentor who can take care of the psychological health of the players.
Only this way, we can strike a healthy balance between success and humility.