BCCI's commendable move

IT WILL HELP THE JUNIOR PLAYERS considerably if the rates charged for cricket kits are reduced.-Md. YOUSUF

For an aspiring first class player, the BCCI has provided a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to perform. But if this opportunity is used to jump from one state to another, the entire purpose of the hike in match fees will be lost.

Aspiring cricketers dreaming of being in the first class category are sitting with calculators. Oh, no, not checking their averages or strike rates of the last season but with the BCCI enhancing the match fee structure, they are busy calculating how much each one would get now. The BCCI needs to be complimented for generating and disbursing such a huge fund.

A club cricketer struggling to get a job doesn't have to worry anymore. All that he has to do is work hard to get into the state team and earn a minimum of Rs.1 lakh and perhaps more than that per Ranji Trophy match.

The Mumbai Cricket Association disbursed the logo money to its players and those in the A grade received Rs. 6 lakh each apart from the match fees. Even a player in the C grade got a decent amount.

Cricket, basically, is an expensive game in terms of time and equipment. Being not sure whether the time and money spent would help them earn a decent livelihood, many players either had to give up the game or borrow money to make the grade. A potential fast bowler from Gujarat gave up the game as he couldn't afford the cost of playing.

The scene at the junior level is pathetic with parents, who are struggling to make ends meet, doing everything possible to get their sons into the state teams. For these parents, getting their kids to play for a state is a dream.

There is a difference between "my son should play like Sachin" and "my son should become Sachin." The latter wish pertains to the huge endorsements of Tendulkar. This certainly puts pressure on the kids.

There have been cases of parents who sold their business to concentrate on their sons, but the sons failed miserably not because they were not talented, but having known what their parents had sacrificed, they just couldn't handle the pressure.

The BCCI has not yet announced the fee structure for the juniors, but one would like to suggest that the players should be provided the basic cricket kit at a nominal price. Parents feel that if the cost of bats and cricket shoes are brought down, the burden on them will be less.

The Maharashtra Cricket Association President, Ajay Shirke, has taken a decision to supply free cricket kit to all the probables in the Under-19 team because the team won the Cooch-Behar Trophy last year. This definitely has lessened the burden on the parents of these players.

For an aspiring first class player, it is a golden opportunity to perform. But if this opportunity is used to jump from one state to another, the entire purpose of the hike in match fees will be lost.

The biggest problem for the smaller states would be to get rid of the senior players. No longer will we hear of a player retiring from first class cricket. And the state selectors, having got to know a player well over a period of several years, will find it extremely difficult to drop him.

The situation is quite interesting and one would have to see how much advantage cricketers take of the generosity shown by the BCCI. All that the BCCI would be hoping for is the standard of cricket to improve.

Considering that their largesse also provides Rs. 25 crore to each association for improving infrastructure, dedicated effort is needed in the proper utilisation of this fund to complement the players' augmented incomes.

Infrastructure development and match fees are important for the development of Indian cricket. And as it is unlikely that the game would improve in the absence of either of them, the BCCI needs to ensure that the money serves its purpose, both short and long-term.