Look East for Indian Cricket’s Future
For the first time in history a former cricketer has been elected as the president of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). And who else can be a better candidate for the post than Sourav Ganguly who led from the front to make India a formidable force in international cricket? Taking over as the BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly has promised to serve Indian cricket in the same manner as he did when he was the captain of Indian cricket team. In his first press conference as the boss of Indian cricket, he has also reiterated to enthuse a fresh lease of life to first class cricket in India. If he can keep his promise, beyond a shadow of a doubt it will be a real gift for Indian cricket.
But to make the gift really special, the new BCCI president should keep in mind that since Independence none of his predecessors has made any attempts to make the North-Eastern states a cricketing power house. For decades, only two states from the region, namely Assam and Tripura participated in Ranji Trophy. Though there was no dearth of talent in the Region. It was proved when Abu Nachim, a pacer from Assam made his way to Mumbai Indians showcasing his talents in front of cricketing stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Jhonty Rodes and few others. So it is certain that if proper attention is given, the Northeastern people will prove themselves eligible for international cricket. But the intention was missing all along. Things have changed for the good in the last couple of years. After the Supreme Court verdict, BCCI has now virtually been forced to allow Northeastern states to participate in Ranji Trophy. But the decision of allowing them into the competition was made so abruptly that most of the states virtually sent underprepared teams.
Here the region needs the BCCI president to stand beside the Northeast. As a sportsperson, he must be aware that at present the states of the region need advanced coaching in cricket. So the new BCCI president should do well if he forms a panel of coaches dedicated only to the Northeastern Region. Many former cricketers have now taken up coaching as their profession after retirement. They can be engaged in training the budding cricketers of the region from grass root levels. As a cricketer he is also aware that it’s an era of specialisation in cricket. Every team is now moving with a huge support team of coaches, physios, video analysts and throw down specialists. When the Indian cricket team plays a series, all of them stay with the team round the clock to help the players. Sourav’s real gift to the Northeastern states should be to provide the necessary support staff for every state team of the region. Merely allowing the states to participate in Ranji Trophy will not take cricket forward. Proper support should be provided to build a strong supply line for Indian cricket, Due to geographical distance and some misgivings about the region, many may not be interested in being associated with Northeastern cricket teams. To avoid such a situation the new BCCI president may think to make the working experience in the Northeast mandatory for those who are willing to coach India in various levels in the future. Just like his cricketing career, as BCCI president this time too Sourav will not disappoint the region.