Initially, India was vehemently opposed to the Twenty20 format. But after it found acceptance, the sub-continental giant has marketed it aggressively. And now, some of the States have adopted the IPL model.
It was the Maharashtra Cricket Association, which first held a T20 tournament on a small scale. The Karnataka Association has made it really big now.
Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath have voiced their objections to KSCA’s T20 tournament on the basis that it would deteriorate the already low standard of cricket in the State. Though their apprehensions are not entirely misplaced, it will have to be acknowledged that T20 cricket is popular, particularly among the youngsters.
It is debatable as to whether Twenty20 helps a cricketer or damages basic technique. But, the franchises who have bought district teams in the Karnataka Premier League should augment the resources of the KSCA, not to mention the economic benefit to the district cricketers of otherwise meagre means, provided the process is monitored meticulously.
For decades, Indian cricket was structured like a funnel, with the metros contributing the bulk of players for the national team. But, after the BCCI introduced the Talent Resource Development Wing in 2002, it has switched to pyramid mode, with the base of districts getting wider. Suddenly, talent has emerged from places like Ranchi, Rae Bareli, Ghaziabad, Moradabad and Kochi.
The KPL would not only give players an opportunity to enhance their bank balance, it could also provide them with a stage to exhibit their talent; and that talent needs to be nurtured.
The KSCA, after being the first to launch a District-oriented State cricket academy in 2001, is, for some reason, struggling to re-launch it.
This has certainly affected the growth of the talented teenagers in the State. With the KPL franchises inducting former Karnataka players and coaches, one hopes the enthusiasm of the concerned parties doesn’t vanish at the conclusion of the KPL.
The KPL will definitely throw up some talent the way the KSCA academy did after 2001, with quite a few of them going on to play for the senior teams.
The problem with the youngsters is that they are becoming far too cynical and materialistic. As long as the State association strikes a balance and guides the franchises, the tendency to play only T20 matches can be averted.
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Kumble showed during the IPL-II that unless one has the basics right, one can’t succeed, irrespective of the format of the game.
And if that message is driven home to all the participating teams, in a conclave, perhaps, by Srinath, Kumble and Dravid, it will have its desired effect on the players who may not have realised what else the KPL could do for them.
The first year of the KPL may pose some logistics problems, but to any problem there will be a solution. The more open one is, the quicker a solution will evolve.
If not the KSCA cricket academy at least the idea of the KPL seems to have infused some blood into Karnataka cricket and that is a good sign.