The landscape of professional cricket has changed dramatically since the last decade. The rise of Twenty20 leagues and the monetary benefits associated with them has coincided with a wholesome change in professionalism, making today’s ideal player a different specimen from the laid-back days of the past.
Talking to Sportstar , Nicky Boje , the former left-arm spinner from South Africa, elaborated on the growing importance of training and competent support staff in a different world of cricket than his own playing days for his country. Boje will impart some present-day training to interested candidates in Chennai as part of a coaching initiative, alongside other former distinguished cricketers Desmond Haynes, Courtney Walsh and Herschelle Gibbs.
“The game is now a professional game and lots of sponsors and money around, more TV, media and more cricket is been played. So players need all the support they can get from management group,” he said.
A lot hinges on this ‘management group’ in shaping a player, it seems, as the incessant scheduling for a professional and rising levels of fitness demands a lot out of them. Boje claims his eminent team of coaches are set to showcase the level of training required to match the international level.
“The project focusses a lot on fitness to show players what is needed to play for their countries,” Boje said.
The coaching in cricket has to be based at least on two major fronts – physical fitness, especially in today’s Twenty20 era, and skill-based polishing. Boje said gym work is as essential as cricket-based training.
The regimen is more demanding for an allrounder, but Boje, an ex-allrounder himself, admits it is tempting to have a say in any game as a bowler as well as a batsman. “It's a hard skill to be a true all-rounder in all formats, but if you want to have a say as a player in a match it's nice to bat and bowl.”
The one major change around which everything seems to hinge, Boje believes, is cricket’s newest format. “We did not play T20 cricket and that changed the players’ skills even in the other formats.”
This is indicative for an observer as players seem to be pushing the envelope in Tests and One-Day Internationals. The phenomenon is continuous.
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