Following India’s first-round exit from the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, a senior player in the team made it a point to call Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, Chief Administrative Officer, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and told him that some of the youngsters don’t have any feeling of sadness losing.
The senior players in the team are Sachin Tendulkar, the longest serving international cricketer, Rahul Dravid who has played with distinction for one and half decades and Harbhajan Singh, who is into his 11th year in international cricket. Skipper Mahender Singh Dhoni has been in the Indian team for near about five years.
That the senior player, Prof. Shetty did not name, voluntarily telephoned the BCCI official itself can be surmised as his well meaningful intent to pass on vital information to the establishment. It should ring the alarm bells and cause deep concern about the attitude of the youngsters.
The senior player’s remark was followed by Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi’s opinion that instant money and fame have spoilt many Indian cricketers, affected their attitude, especially the youngsters and that the BCCI should teach them how to handle success, fame and money. “I think it certainly distracts them a lot, many of them. Therefore, they are not committed as much as they should be,” Pataudi told a television channel.
Prof. Shetty revealed a part of the telephone conversation with the senior player at the Legend’s Club function to mark Vijay Merchant’s 98th birth anniversary at the C.K.Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India on Monday. “One can see the attitude of some of the youngsters after the IPL I, that’s a worrying fact,” he said.
When asked if the BCCI would review the money paid to Ranji Trophy and Under-19 cricketers (base sum of $ 50,000 to Ranji Trophy players and $ 30,000 to the Under-19 cricketers), Prof. Shetty said: “The BCCI introspected about the Under-19 players (before IPL I in India) and eventually felt that the most talented should be given a chance and a few of them have really excelled.”
The Legend’s Club gathered to debate on the survival of Test cricket and Prof. Shetty said that the BCCI strongly believes that Test match cricket, one-day internationals and Twenty20 can co-exist and he’s surprised that there is a debate on the subject. “The fielding standards have improved in Test cricket because of one-day cricket and the Indian team is ready to play very positive cricket without fear of losing. India has won and lost matches. Even in the ICC it’s the same feeling. In India people feel that there is a need for Test cricket to be popularised.
“I think the Test match staging associations, if they are willing to make a little compromise on the revenue, can do it. Sachin Tendulkar has said a section of the stadium should be free for access for school and college students. Even the associations that do not stage a Test match or One-day international receive between Rs.10 and Rs.15 crores as TV subvention. Either the school and college students can be given free access or heavily discounted tickets can be made available to them. Similarly the BCCI has increased the infrastructure subsidy and the associations should make the stadia spectator-friendly with better facilities.”
Nari Contractor said a four-day Test with 90 overs bowled in a day can be explored and Ayaz Memon, Editor-at-Large, DNA said there is a shift in focus from Test cricket to Twenty20.