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Domestic cricket needs development at grass root level

By Aakash Chopra
Wednesday, November 03, 2021
What appeared to me for long as a rather nonchalant approach of the managers towards a plain Indian domestic cricket and its slip-ups, is to my delight, now being swapped by a more informed and involved outlook. For instance, not only genuine lovers of the game, but also the top honchos seem to be sitting up and taking note of the abysmal quality of teams in the Plate Division.

While this change of heart is good news, I ask a slightly different question to get a possible answer — What do we do with the teams which aren't showing any real progress?

There are a lot of teams in the domestic cricket, which are participating for sure, but not competing at all. They turn up season after season only to produce an almost identical performance before fading into oblivion for the next six months.

Some teams are more than happy to be just there without making the effort to stretch the envelope. If they are in the Elite Division, their only endeavour is to ensure that they don't get relegated, for qualifying for the knockouts and eventually winning the Ranji Trophy never crosses their mind. Some of the teams in the Plate Division have no reason to worry because relegation is not a possibility for them.

Let me assure you that it's not only the teams from the Plate Division who're guilty of not doing enough, the teams in the Elite Division are to be blamed equally for the poor show.

In fact, some Plate Division teams spend more time and effort to upgrade the facilities and have a proper structure in place to ensure progress. That's why we are increasingly seeing good players coming from small towns and teams.

There are two ways of improving the fate of cricket in a state. The easier route, albeit taken by a lot of teams, is to hire professionals and expect them to take the team to the next level. But this is only a quick-fix, which is guaranteed to backfire in the longer run.

While there's nothing wrong with the first approach, it's mandatory to supplement it with serious work at the grass-root level. Eventually, homegrown talent must take over from the seniors and take their team to place.

Then, there're certain associations which neither spend the money to hire professionals nor on cricket development. How they are spending the money received from the BCCI is anybody's guess. These associations must be taken to task by slapping a financial penalty for non-performance. 

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