The IPL money and perks are for a few fortunates, writes Makarand Waingankar

The proper scheduling of domestic cricket programme ensures desired success at the international level. With 339 matches in junior and 182 in senior divisions of Indian cricket, players get plenty of opportunities to exhibit their talent.

The Match Referees-cum-TRDO’s assess the talent on the basis of the performances. By and large, the scheduling of the tournaments is meticulously planned.

The Technical Committee of the BCCI has now recommended that four outstation players including one overseas player can be allowed to play for the state team.

There was a move by a couple of associations to invite renowned overseas cricketers and Rajasthan did have England’s Vikram Solanki and Kabir Ali playing for it. Maharashtra too toyed with the idea of roping in overseas players.

The argument for inviting them was that the team would be strengthened and the overseas players would be able to share experience with local players.

Many of the youngsters who played with top overseas players in the IPL learned the tricks of the trade from these experienced players.

Recent move

But the recent move of the Maharashtra Cricket Association to sign two unknown overseas players — a Bangladeshi and a Sri Lankan — who are not even regulars for their respective countries has raised one very important issue; wouldn’t local players get demoralised when unknown overseas players are signed for the state team?

Most of the state players participate from under-13 to under-22 (nine years) and when there is a chance to play for the state, players who have been discarded by their countries are being preferred ahead of local performers.

The move is all the more surprising because Ajay Shirke, Chairman of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), is also Vice- President of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) which was formed to identify and nurture local talent.

The sudden invasion of foreign coaches too has affected the very fabric of domestic cricket programme. Be it Dav Whatmore at the NCA or Shaun Williams at the Maharashtra Cricket Association, they have not let their wards play in any of the pre-season tournaments.

Either they have been forced to carry out the instructions of their bosses or they have suggested this as the best remedy for keeping the players fresh.

Defeating the purpose

The very purpose of having three major tournaments played in August and September is nullified by players at the NCA or with the MCA not being given permission to participate.

The NCA can always have under-19 camps till July so that the trainees could play in the tournaments in August and September.

The MCA didn’t even let players represent their employers in these tournaments. To them, the so-called expert coaching of their coach seemed more important.

With all the methodology that the foreign coaches were allowed to indulge in by the MCA earlier, if cricketers are stopped from playing for their employers, they will lose their jobs.

The IPL money and perks are for a few fortunates. The majority of players rely on employment for security.

Apart from Chennai, the corporates in Mumbai and elsewhere — because of lack of participating opportunities — don’t seem keen on employing cricketers. The least the BCCI could do is have an inter-corporate tournament at the state level so that not only will employment opportunities for cricketers be generated, but also state associations will be prevented from ruining the cricketers’ careers.

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