Ever widening gap between domestic and international cricket

Makarand Waingankar
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Domestic tournaments are supposed to be the ground for preparing players for the international stage. But in India, the difference in the quality of the domestic and international cricket is so huge that this shift is not happening.

Kings of Indian domestic cricket are seen to fail miserably in Test cricket. The significant question here is what indeed is wrong with the system? Or is the weak mental make-up of Indian players to blame?

For decades, we have discussed the nature of flat pitches and poor quality of coaching, but the factor that we have constantly ignored is not making international players play domestic cricket.

The more you play, the better player you become may be the adage.

But it is also a fact that the more you play poor quality cricket, the more terrible cricketer you become.

Vijay Manjrekar aptly described such players as ‘first class batsmen of second class bowling’.

Quite a few Indian players like Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman have always been eager to play first class cricket. But how many matches has M.S. Dhoni played for his State? Are we to believe that he was playing international cricket for the entire year or indisposed most of the time? When Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir showed keenness to play Ranji Trophy, Dhoni opted out of a Ranji match citing cough and cold.

Vital point

Another important point is that the BCCI picks 15 players for a Test in the home series whereas England picks 13 for its home series but after the final XI is picked, the other players are released to play county cricket.

They invite local players to do the duty of reserve players. In India, four reserve players are not released to play for their respective States in the Ranji Trophy.

Once the first Test starts on November 15, won’t it be prudent to release the reserve Indian players for the next round of the Ranji Trophy which will be from November 17?

In the only Ranji Trophy that Harbhajan has played this season he didn’t do anything of note in the more than 20 overs that he bowled. Surely, he would like to get among wickets playing for Punjab if he doesn’t make it to the final India XI in the first Test.

He has a very good international record but to displace Ashwin he has to be among the wickets which can happen only if he plays Ranji Trophy.

Ashwin has been bowling exceedingly well and unless he is not fit, it will be a luxury to play three spinners in the team.

BCCI’s clarification about the Pataudi Trophy is quite baffling. When the BCCI has been doing its duty of attending to its needy and deserving players well in the form of the one-time payment cheques, a sentimental issue like the Pataudi Trophy could have been tackled in a dignified way and not through a curt media release.

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