TRDW's basic principle is to assess talented players in the prescribed format, writes Makarand Waingankar
In 2002, the BCCI formed the Talent Resource Development Wing to identify raw talent, and despite having loopholes in the team selection process, the TRDOs through objective assessment system recommended some indubitable talent that has then made it into the Indian team. In fact, the majority of players in the Indian team are from the districts.
The technical committee headed by Sunil Gavaskar has now strongly recommended the continuance of the TRDW. It is to be hoped that the BCCI will not apply the convoluted process while accepting the recommendation of the technical committee.
It was in 2001 that I introduced the system in Karnataka to unearth hidden talent in the districts, and within three months the talent that was identified from the districts made things difficult for the Bangalore boys. The principle of the project was simple. The talent parameters were assessed by different TRDOs of the KSCA, thereby removing the bias.
The BCCI, impressed by the success of the KSCA project, formed the Talent Resource Development Wing in 2002 under the chairmanship of Dilip Vengsarkar. To the credit of the BCCI, it never interfered with the implementation of the project and left it to Dilip Vengsarkar and Brijesh Patel.
In a country where the selection process can still be manipulated, the appointment of the TRDOs by these experts was challenged as the associations could not push their supporters. Not letting the associations interfere with the appointments of the TRDOs was one of the important principles of the project.
The selection process in India, based on vote-cost principle, has shaken the confidence of many top quality cricketers. After scoring 774 runs in the West Indies, Sunil Gavaskar and his opening partner Ashok Mankad were replaced in the West Zone team by batsmen who were neither talented nor prolific scorers. At the junior level with money coming in, the manipulations were just as devastating.
To halt the trend of manipulations, the TRDW was formed. The basic principle of the TRDW is to ask its officers, who are experienced first class players, to assess talented players in the prescribed format. With each boy getting assessed by different TRDOs, there was no bias as there was no way any of the TRDOs could know how their colleagues had assessed a particular boy.
The percentage in the talent section was then compared with the field performance and the boys excelling in talent and performance then were selected for the development process at the NCA.
With each of the 20 TRDOs watching not less than 15 to 20 matches, they were each assessing around 350 players thereby helping the five-member national junior selection committee. Pathan, Dhoni, Raina, R.P. Singh, V.R.V. Singh, Piyush Chawla and many others are the products of this system.
The problem that needs to be addressed is that after the talent is identified, it has to be developed and for that to happen the NCA has to have a proper monitoring process. A boy is more with his personal coach than with the NCA coach and unless a communication system is established between the personal coach and the NCA coach, the nurturing aspect which is so crucial will not give us expected results.
The TRDW should be involved in the selection process of the Indian junior teams. Though neither the chairman of the TRDW nor any of the zonal chief TRDOs has a vote in the selection committee, their technical inputs would definitely strengthen the process.
The TRDOs are an experienced lot and their commitment to the job reflects in the reports they submit to the NCA.
In fact the BCCI, by asking each association to have a TRDW, would be able to unearth more hidden talent. At the moment, the BCCI TRDOs are assessing the talent by watching inter-state junior matches but if each association forms TRDW, the talent base will be broader. It can create more options for the national selectors.