Former India skipper Rahul Dravid today called upon the BCCI to formulate a blueprint for junior cricket in India and said that it was imperative to remove age fudging and illegal bowling action at the junior level for the development of the game.
“When I hear a under-19 bowler reported for suspected bowling action, it upsets me deeply. What were the coaches doing until he reached that age. Did his faulty action begin at 10 years old. Did the next bunch of coaches just let it go because he was getting wickets and winning them matches,” Dravid said.
“When at 19, an eager hard working boy who could have played the junior world cup, is reported for suspect action he is left correcting his action. These short term goals achieved through short cuts hurt the child because we as adults turn a blind eye.
“It is a similar emphasis on short term results that has led to the issue of overage players in junior matches. The entire exercise begins when a coach alter a player’s date of birth to allow him to play at a local event.
“The truth is a player who fakes his age, might make it to the junior level not necessarily because he is better but because physically he is stronger and bigger. It will have a ripple effect and an honest and talented player will be deprived of a place and we run the risk of losing him forever. Overaging is toxic and dangerous,” Dravid said while delivering the fourth MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture here today.
Dravid also said that BCCI needs to do more to attract youngsters to cricket.
“We are not doing enough to attract youngsters and thus losing out on talent. Cricket is not the number one sport for youngster anymore. A top sports equipment company told me that the sales of cricket equipment have gone down. I think we need to have a blueprint for junior cricket in India. We need to find a way to guide out coaches. There has to be well explained guidelines,” he said.
Dravid also suggested to have a rotational system in junior cricket. “We need to invest time and energy on junior cricket,” he said.
He also talked about the trend of young cricketers giving up the sport too early and also how parents put pressure on the young cricketers.
The 42-year-old also stressed on the need to continue education so that they can become well-rounded adults.
The event was attended by members of both the Indian and South African cricket team, who will be playing the fourth cricket Test at Ferozshah Kotla stadium here. Also present at the function was Pataudi’s wife Sharmila Tagore.