|HOME | SPORTS | INDIA DOWN UNDER | COLUMNS | DILIP VENGSARKAR|
|January 28, 2000||
Flat and futileDilip Vengsarkar
Don't we have cricketers who can replace some of those currently playing over here?" This was a query I was repeatedly asked by expatriates settled in Australia.
To be honest, I couldn't single out even one player from our domestic circuit who ought to have been on the tour. Ask any of the selectors, and the answer will be the same. Tell me, they say, the name of any cricketer who is good enough to play international cricket, and that too face McGrath & Co. Rather unfortunately, there is none, and that's the bitter truth.
For years I have advocated in this column the need to drastically improve the standard of our domestic cricket, junior cricket and, of course, schools cricket. But is the Indian cricket board really bothered? Sadly, they are not.
Indeed, the board continues to turn a blind eye to domestic cricket and the problems it faces. All they are interested in is international cricket -- and you know why! When such an attitude prevails, who has the time -- or the inclination, for that matter -- to care for the game and facilities at the grass roots level. And this is the thinking not only of those who constitute the board, but even members of local associations who secretly harbour ambitions of making it to some committee of the board.
Look at what transpired in the Deodhar Trophy at Rajkot. Huge totals were piled up, centuries scored at will, and even totals in the excess of 300 easily chased. So what happens to these guys when they play at the international level. And to think there is no Lillee and Thompson around, forget about Hogg and Pascoe. Not even Holding, Roberts, Garner and Marshall, never mind Patterson and Daniel. Or a Hadlee or an Imran, not to mention Botham and Sarfraz.
There are many factors the board will have to look into if they seriously intend to improve the game in the country. You can see that the standard of bowling is going down considerably. The wickets are absolutely flat and offer no help for the poor bowlers. That is the crux of the matter.
Krishnamachari Srikkanth has been appointed chairman of the wickets improvement committee. I, for one, would like to know whether he was present at Rajkot for the Deodhar Trophy. The quality of wickets dished out were detrimental to the game, and that's putting it mildly.
Every bowler there, during his quota of 10 overs, was tonked around mercilessly for 50 to 60 runs. And, if we are to believe reports, the ball did not bounce higher than the batsman's shin. So, was Srikkanth present at the venue, and, if not, then is he appointed to prepare wickets only for international cricket? If that be the case, why the eyewash? Whom are they trying to fool? Personally, I have nothing against Srikkanth, but the purpose of his appointment will stand defeated if he is not going to look after wickets prepared for important doemstic events.
The good news for Indian fans, however, is that the Under-19 lads have been doing very well in the Youth World Cup in Sri Lanka. No doubt, they are playing on wickets of the subcontinent, but they're doing so with a lot of confidence and, more importantly, dominating most matches, which is a good sign. It is, therefore, very important to induct two or three players from this side in the national squad to take on South Africa and get rid of those found wanting at the international level.
Players like Mohammed Kaif, Reetinder Sodhi and Yuvraj Singh have performed creditably in almost every match, and have been doing so for some time now. In fact, Yuvraj, who is the son of former Test cricketer Yograj, had a stint at my academy in Mumbai a couple of seasons ago and showed much promise. Blessed with a very good physique, it was encouraging to hear his coach Roger Binny talk highly of the lad.
It's about time the selectors thought in terms of including players who are not only good, but also enthusiastic and hungry for success. You never know, they just might change the very approach of the entire team, and with that, its fortunes.
Mail your response to this piece
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK