In cricket’s fast-evolving landscape, several international players are contemplating choosing white ball cricket over the longer format. Former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi believes that soon a situation will arrive in domestic cricket where players will choose their respective formats.
“I think cricket is going through that stage where every format will occupy a shelf. What it will do positively is that it will give young cricketers, who have different skill sets to excel in a particular format. Players, over a period of time, will start choosing which is the format they are probably excelling in or are most accustomed to,” Hattangadi said on the sidelines of Sportstar West Sports Conclave on Saturday.
“You will have the shorter version and the longer version. And, the players who are talented enough and have the skill sets for the shorter version will choose that this is my journey, while others will choose the longer version. I think we will come to a stage where every player will decide for himself what is going to be his journey - the white ball or red ball,” Hattangadi, a former cricketer and an administrator said.
“That journey is so critical because you will probably get different youngsters playing these two different formats with skill sets that are actually tuned to their excellence…”
Having seen what a cricketer goes through, Hattangadi believes that the coaches will have to play a key role in helping the cricketers choose their preferred format.
“The coaches will have to play a key role in mentoring and advising youngsters as to where their real skills lie. It is up to the players to understand that the coaches mean well and they are able to identify what suits them better,” the former cricketer said.
“If you make money a motivation, you will find IPL being the Pied Piper and everyone following that route. But that may not be the case, because somewhere you need to be analytical as to where your core strengths are. Because you don’t want to miss out on the longer format in pursuit of the shorter format, where you may not be as talented for that format,” he said.
So, Hattangadi believes that a player has to be pragmatic, but at the same time, should be able to identify what the real skills are.
After two years, the BCCI will host a full-fledged domestic season. “For some players, it is just a dress rehearsal for the IPL, so they will play the white ball cricket and will perhaps stay away from red ball cricket. For some, it will be a question of survival, to be able to run a living out of cricket because they are not going to play the IPL,” Hattangadi said.
“Clearly, I see a lot of players in terms of player attrition. Once they are done with the white ball format, they might just say that I am not fit for the red ball, and that’s a reality we have to accept in today’s times…”