December 12, 2007

No fringe benefits

Become such good and efficient players that you are picked in the playing XI quickly or stay at home as the longer you stay in the bench, the chances of progressing deteriorate, says Sanjay Bangar
67

The announcement of a team by the selectors for a match or tournament is greatly anticipated by all of us. Usually, in India, be it the national team or a first-class team, a squad of 15 players is named. We all get to see 11 players in action and can judge their skills and character on the field of play. But have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of players who are confined to the bench?

Most captains announce the playing XI before the day of the match and explain the role of each player. Players who are not picked are talked into how only 11 can play and how one can make a contribution to the team, or how he has to wait for his chances. However, till the toss and commencement of play, these reserve players have to be in a state of readiness if last-minute changes have to be made due to fitness issues or overnight changes in playing conditions.

Once it is certain you are confined to the reserves, some coaches keep a keen eye on the reaction of the player. He is expected to take the blow on the chin and not sulk, as if he does sulk, he is perceived to not be a team man. He is not expected to be relaxed and smile either as it could be taken that he is happy to be on the sidelines and does not want to play.

If the dressing rooms are small, the reserve player has to make room for the players, and in some rare instances, has to keep their kit bag in some adjoining room. He also has to ensure that he identifies each player’s kit bag so that he can cater to the requirement of the player like a sweater, glove, cap, shoe, etc.

Once the game begins, he has to work overtime to keep the players hydrated by making nimbu paani, salt water, electrol, or any carbo-drink and ensure adequate supply either on the boundary ropes or at the fall of a wicket if the side is fielding, and at any available instance when his side is batting.

He also has to play the role of a messenger and communicate to the captain or players in the middle about inputs regarding strategies, field placements or shot selection from the coach, or should I say coaches as there are at least three coaches as a part of the support staff now-a-days.

He has to understand and interpret sign convention; a batsman can ask for a change of grip, change of glove, a batting tape, cap, helmet and he makes the signals accordingly. One has to pick it up and respond quickly; players and coaches often let the reserves know sternly if there is any delay, if the players are not well looked after.

During breaks, if a player wants to dry his clothing or equipment, the reserve has to keep the stuff in the sunlight or use the dryer, if a washing machine is available. If the side is batting, the batsman might ask the reserve to bring him some lunch.

After catering to all these needs, the reserve has to train hard during the breaks, to ensure that he maintains his fitness levels as they are conceived to drop due to over-eating. They have to keep hitting balls to keep the form going, or bowl a few balls to keep the rhythm going, all during a lunch or a tea break and quickly return to the dressing room on resumption of play.

Often, during tournaments when there is less likelihood of a player playing, he does not get to bat in the net. A quiet word or reassurance from an understanding captain or coach can make a world of a difference to the reserves as they have to do all these duties selflessly.

All this is fine, but fringe players are often the soft target in the next team selection as the easiest way out for the selectors is to axe the player who has not got the opportunity to perform.

All I can suggest is, become such good and efficient players that you are picked in the playing XI quickly or stay at home as the longer you stay in the bench, the chances of progressing deteriorate.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 17, 2007, 6:20 GMT

    The same care should be taken to select all teams, as is taken to select The Indian Team. I believe, the game of cricket is being dictated to by commercial considerations. Interest must be given to the game. If the school system had been more developed, surely there would have been more Tendulkar's in Indian Cricket. Tendulkar, I believe, was not made because of his talent, but because of his interest in the game. All school teams, as well as state teams must have a large bench strength. Everyone on the bench, should be capable of playing. Children, who cannot make it to the school team, should be incouraged to play the game, for the game's sake, if it is not possible to practice on a pitch, let them do so elsewhere.

  • Anand Kochukudy on December 16, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Superb article.

  • Rohit Shetye on December 16, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    Third world country game? Is Ano in his senses? More third world and desperately poor and war ravaged countries play soccer than cricket.Most Americans think the rest of the world is stupid and poor because they play a brain dead game like soccer.Cricket is actually thought of a refined, elitist and gentlemanly game by the non cricketing world. You don't have to be very intelligent or skilled to play soccer, only need to be fit enough to kick a ball around on virtually any surface.It needs no equipment , investment or protection.People lie on the ground crying trying to fake an injury when there is none, just to get a penalty. Is there a worse sight in world sport? Football being a professional setup is a joke , the players are the least professional of all in the world. They have no sense of loyalty or service , only play for themselves. Maybe you need to stick to things you actually understand and have a grasp of , have you even played competitive cricket?Sanjay is spot on.

  • Ano on December 16, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    Unfortunately, cricket unlike football (or soccer for some of you yanks), is still a 3rd world country game. I can never imagine a reserve player in football drying up shirts for more senior players. It's a very professinal setup. All players are looked after regardless of your playing status.

    Cricket has a long way to go (maybe its impossible given football's ever growing popularity) if it were to become worlds #1 sport.

  • Sanjeev on December 16, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    Very thoughtful and honest commnets...I hope the silly BCCI notices this...Sanjay encourages people to excel or do something else. At this level you want to play and win...instead of the crap about it is important to take part.

  • Venks on December 16, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    I totally disagree with Sanjay. It is a great honour and Privilege to represent our country. Not everybody gets this chance. One has to wait for the oppurtunities. Nobody is appointed as CEO as soon as he finishes college. One has to go through the hardships to reach the top. Another point to note that reserve players also get paid (not sure whether they get the equal share..Sanjay can clarify that!!!). Dear Sanjay!!! I guess you lead the Railways team in the Ranji Trophy. The same "fringe benefits" apply to the reserve player in Railways Ranji Team.

  • Robin on December 16, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    Sanjay,it is not at all a good article i do not agree with u.Every domestic cricketer wants to play for India and it is a life time ambition of each player of being in a 15man squad, oboviesly talent is there that is why u r in the squad. Besides carrying drinks to the team members it helps u to learn so many new things,by siting and watch the great players of the game cricket performing in front of you.Being with them in the dressing room,reading the mind set of the player when they go in the middle to perform,watching their foot moments and shareing different ideas and views with great players makes u grow as a metiour player.Certianly you find youself a changed player.Even after that,if u come back to domestic cricket u can see the changes in yourself how u are playing.It will be completely different and i am sure that the next u will be selected in the team,u will be a much more confident player than the previous time u where selected in the team.It is a great feeling yar.

  • Sidhanta Patnaik on December 16, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    This is one of those articles I have been waiting for since ages. I always wanted to know what happens on the other side of the field ad what goes in the mind of a reserve at the international level. At the domestic level, I know the feelings a reserve goes through courtsey my friends in Orissa Ramji Team. Thanks Sanjay for the updation

  • Gurinder on December 16, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Honestly am pretty amazed as would have thought that Sanjay would rather have been on these tours than sit at home! And he has been a reserve long enough to know that he valued the opportunities that he got! Anyway... I suppose now that he knows he does not have a chance to play for India any longer, its easier to put these thoughts down of rather not being a reserve!!!! Good luc nevertheless

  • chakri on December 16, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    Sanjay,has always been at his thought provoking best.So many times the reserve players are dropped for the next tour with out being offered a chance and its some thing unique to Indian ckt.

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 17, 2007, 6:20 GMT

    The same care should be taken to select all teams, as is taken to select The Indian Team. I believe, the game of cricket is being dictated to by commercial considerations. Interest must be given to the game. If the school system had been more developed, surely there would have been more Tendulkar's in Indian Cricket. Tendulkar, I believe, was not made because of his talent, but because of his interest in the game. All school teams, as well as state teams must have a large bench strength. Everyone on the bench, should be capable of playing. Children, who cannot make it to the school team, should be incouraged to play the game, for the game's sake, if it is not possible to practice on a pitch, let them do so elsewhere.

  • Anand Kochukudy on December 16, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Superb article.

  • Rohit Shetye on December 16, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    Third world country game? Is Ano in his senses? More third world and desperately poor and war ravaged countries play soccer than cricket.Most Americans think the rest of the world is stupid and poor because they play a brain dead game like soccer.Cricket is actually thought of a refined, elitist and gentlemanly game by the non cricketing world. You don't have to be very intelligent or skilled to play soccer, only need to be fit enough to kick a ball around on virtually any surface.It needs no equipment , investment or protection.People lie on the ground crying trying to fake an injury when there is none, just to get a penalty. Is there a worse sight in world sport? Football being a professional setup is a joke , the players are the least professional of all in the world. They have no sense of loyalty or service , only play for themselves. Maybe you need to stick to things you actually understand and have a grasp of , have you even played competitive cricket?Sanjay is spot on.

  • Ano on December 16, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    Unfortunately, cricket unlike football (or soccer for some of you yanks), is still a 3rd world country game. I can never imagine a reserve player in football drying up shirts for more senior players. It's a very professinal setup. All players are looked after regardless of your playing status.

    Cricket has a long way to go (maybe its impossible given football's ever growing popularity) if it were to become worlds #1 sport.

  • Sanjeev on December 16, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    Very thoughtful and honest commnets...I hope the silly BCCI notices this...Sanjay encourages people to excel or do something else. At this level you want to play and win...instead of the crap about it is important to take part.

  • Venks on December 16, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    I totally disagree with Sanjay. It is a great honour and Privilege to represent our country. Not everybody gets this chance. One has to wait for the oppurtunities. Nobody is appointed as CEO as soon as he finishes college. One has to go through the hardships to reach the top. Another point to note that reserve players also get paid (not sure whether they get the equal share..Sanjay can clarify that!!!). Dear Sanjay!!! I guess you lead the Railways team in the Ranji Trophy. The same "fringe benefits" apply to the reserve player in Railways Ranji Team.

  • Robin on December 16, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    Sanjay,it is not at all a good article i do not agree with u.Every domestic cricketer wants to play for India and it is a life time ambition of each player of being in a 15man squad, oboviesly talent is there that is why u r in the squad. Besides carrying drinks to the team members it helps u to learn so many new things,by siting and watch the great players of the game cricket performing in front of you.Being with them in the dressing room,reading the mind set of the player when they go in the middle to perform,watching their foot moments and shareing different ideas and views with great players makes u grow as a metiour player.Certianly you find youself a changed player.Even after that,if u come back to domestic cricket u can see the changes in yourself how u are playing.It will be completely different and i am sure that the next u will be selected in the team,u will be a much more confident player than the previous time u where selected in the team.It is a great feeling yar.

  • Sidhanta Patnaik on December 16, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    This is one of those articles I have been waiting for since ages. I always wanted to know what happens on the other side of the field ad what goes in the mind of a reserve at the international level. At the domestic level, I know the feelings a reserve goes through courtsey my friends in Orissa Ramji Team. Thanks Sanjay for the updation

  • Gurinder on December 16, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Honestly am pretty amazed as would have thought that Sanjay would rather have been on these tours than sit at home! And he has been a reserve long enough to know that he valued the opportunities that he got! Anyway... I suppose now that he knows he does not have a chance to play for India any longer, its easier to put these thoughts down of rather not being a reserve!!!! Good luc nevertheless

  • chakri on December 16, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    Sanjay,has always been at his thought provoking best.So many times the reserve players are dropped for the next tour with out being offered a chance and its some thing unique to Indian ckt.

  • Ashwin Achal on December 16, 2007, 6:02 GMT

    Sanjay may i remind you that a player in the squad of 15 is representing the whole of India with its billion population? Do you realise what a privilege it is to be named as the best 15 of this country? People would give their right arm to be in your place. Also, please remember that you are not doing all these 'menial' tasks for free. You are getting a fat sum of money. You need to earn your money. I respect you as player who stood firm in testing conditions in England, but this article perhaps points otherwise.

  • Santosh on December 16, 2007, 1:17 GMT

    excellent article sanjay!very insightful... After reading the article it takes me back to my college days when I was a 12th man for two matches..It was very demoralizing,eventhough you know you are equivalent or better than those playing..... This article stands out in comparison to other boring ones... Sanjay I think you can be a good writer far better than other so called great cricketers.... Awaiting your next article

  • Nizar from Pakistan. on December 15, 2007, 22:09 GMT

    I didnot know all this work done by reserve players. This is a very good article. Very Good Job.

  • Ram on December 15, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    Excellent piece of article Sanjay... It provides an insight to the feelings which the bench player undergoes...Let the Board notice up... when they could have the luxury of three coaches, administrative managers etc, they could have one more personnel or make one of the above responsible for these duties. Someone have pointed above on the "camaradiere" developed.... but this would be true being in bench for a couple of test matches or ODIs... but if it prolongs it hurts deeply, when the playing 11 is no better than the 12, 13, 14th when you look at the outcome of a testmatch or a one day international. Rajinder Goel, PShivalkar, Abdul Jabbar, TE Srinivasan, V Sivaramakrishnan, Kanwaljit Singh were better players who did not have their luck due to the Politics of the Board. Another aspect is had the same number of chances given to the becnh players similar to the regular ones in the eleven, even the bench players would have proved better than..But again there should be a Godfather....

  • Vik on December 15, 2007, 19:17 GMT

    What an interesting article Sanjay. In my opinion a team runner should be hired for this job. I think in most countries (especially India and Pakistan!) you will find thousands of people who would be happy to go on tour with the team purely as the guy who runs around after the team. Hell, if someone offered to pay my flights I would travel with the Indian team(or any other test playing nation for that matter) for zero pay. I would consider it an honour and it would be fantastic just to be in that atmosphere. Thats why I cannot understand why a reserve player should have to do all this stuff. It is definitely not fair on the reserve. I agree with an earlier post that it could be detrimental to confidence.

    If anybody from BCCI is reading, please get in touch as I am on christmas holidays from university and am available to travel to Australia to help the Indian guys with their refreshments, lunch kit bags etc!!!!

  • Samy on December 15, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    Sanjay,once again your article is insightful. The BCCI has started a new policy of releasing players from the national team to play Ranji matches if they are not selected into the playing XI. Do you think it is a good move?

  • suresh on December 15, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    itotally disagree with what dinaker has commented about sanjay's cricket. he made a good contribution to the team's success when he played for the country.

  • mahesh rawat on December 15, 2007, 15:52 GMT

    superb article sanju bhai.its really a mind reading thought which u have presented infront of us.

  • sanjay venugopal on December 15, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    hi sanjay ,is it really so bad atmosphere for the reserve player in the dressing room,your comment on the fringe players state is like what we see in movies like "awall number" in the 80's. it is not that the reserve player is always confined to the benches,even he gets chance to field whenever some players gets injured are take time out,and in that limited oppurtunity if he can give some superlative performance in the field ,it is alwas remembered and appreciated.and definately u have to earn ur place in the side and not be given chance just because u r a part of the team.and being in the reserve is definately better than being in the stands.

  • Sunil Kumar Shardha on December 15, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    Nice article from sanjay...

  • Keyzad Anklesaria on December 15, 2007, 6:41 GMT

    In every walk of life things dont come so easy, and playing cricket for India is no exception.Im sure things might be tough out there not playing in the first 11 ,but one has to rough it out ,show a bit of character,which im sure if one has ,its going to be noticed and may help him eran his place in the side.Representing one's country is too big an honour,and if one has to sit on the becnches for a while , its well worth it.

  • R. Yeshwanth on December 15, 2007, 5:37 GMT

    Well said Sanjay, keep up this fantastic journey. Look forward to read more from you. Nice post.

  • AT on December 15, 2007, 3:37 GMT

    Nice article. Sanjay kept a nice matter of fact, (mostly)non-judgmental tone which made this readable and provided a nice insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Despite all the comments about being around the cricket, and camraderie and team spirit, it has to be intensely frustrating for any player to just watch from the sidelines and not take part in the action.

  • Rush on December 15, 2007, 0:39 GMT

    Insightful article Sanjay; many can connect with it at different levels of cricket.

    @Dinakar Sanjay isn't demeaning any of the 12/13th man duties. All he is trying to convey is that in the aftermath of a victory / postmortem of a defeat, the contributions, material & potential of these man, are often not acknowledged even though they are no less significant in the ultimate result. And yes, the toil required to reach the top isn't an unknown commodity to the players themselves, both current & aspiring. Least of all Sanjay Bangar

  • Chozhen Thenpandyan on December 14, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    What a nice and insightful article-Sanjay, Fantastic to read about what happens with the behind-the scenes people when spotlight is hogged by the actual playing XI-spot on about the morale bit, i guess the reserves also have a job of keeping the morale high, pass the occasional jokes and cheerful banter. However, i feel at time in our indian and general sub continental culture-reserves are asked to do more errands or fetch more stuff for the big stars in the middle be it international or Ranji trophy matches-i think that is going to go someday. Sanjay-wish u all the best and hope you will write a book one day-u certainly have the perceptions and required insight for this!!

  • P S Ashok on December 14, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    Wonderful effort Sanjay. I did not find time till today to read this excellent article. I am really surprised to see that you have been able to come out with one interesting article after another. Again all topics have been good surprises and really not sure how you have been able to think of these in the busy Ranji season. Like your writing your form also has peaked.

    This is a well thought out and written article where you have given a great insight on what the reserves go through. People are quick to pull down a person saying he has a bad attitude but the correct thing would be to see why was he behaving like this. Disappointment is a common thing in life and it forces people to behave in their own ways. What one person does would rarely be accepted as correct by others. We are all humans and need to sympathize with people who have not got their due.

    Keep entertaining us Sanjay with your wonderful articles. It was a pleasure seeing you play and it is the same applies here.

  • Scientist S.R. SHANKAR on December 14, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    A rare piece by someone who has undergone the ordeal of warming the bench often. He has lucidly brought out what must be going on in the minds of Badrinath or Ranadeeb Bose recently. But Sanjay I appreciate the feelings expressed, but don't you think there is a silver line in the grey work--I mean the comradiere a new player establishes with players of various hues. Any way For god's sake do not attack him personally for the views expressed--The article is as composed and balanced as the writer himself Sanjay Please provide us with more such insight. It is a wonderful piece that stands out among the listless cricket articles that are strewn all over

  • sohail on December 14, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    I am sorry guys, i totally disagree with all the views on this topic, there is so much politics in sub-continent about players selection. It is out of our imagination. See BBCI doesn't want healthy competition in India and the same with the cricketrs like ..... and everone, they don't want any junior players to come and take their positions, thus they will loose the revenue generates from sponsor, so the BCCI is involved directly and indirectly. I think we should be wise taking cricket as an ultimate goal. Its all politics and only rich would survive but for a common man like us its not our cup of tea.

    Apologize if i hurst someone feelings.

    However, i respect the feelings of others on this blog about sports in general. But not BCCI and senior player politics.

  • raj on December 14, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    Thanks for the up-close view Sanjay.A rare, candid article.I appreciate your views.I dont know why playing valet is part of cricketing education. Does that make you a better batsman, bowler or fielder? To those who say they'll be happpy enough to do that and soak the atmosphere, thats because they arent talented enough and will eb happy to get any chance to be near the team whereas for a talented 12th man, it is agonising. I fully understand Sanjay'sPOV and I dont see what 'manhood'anyone gains playing valet to superstars. An imaginary conversation: Superstar Cricketer: Arre yaar 12th Man, woh maine pizza order kiya tha na.Kya hua 12th Man: aa raha he sir, I have given the order SSC: Did you mention Jalapeno toppings? 12thM:Er, forgot sir. SSC: WhiskeyFoxtrotTango! Who do you think you are? Such insolence! You cant even remember to topping in a pizza, how are you going to face ShaneWarne?! 12th Man (to himself) yeah , right, ordering pizza helps me face Warne (loudly)Sorry Sir!

  • Rajesh NJ on December 14, 2007, 1:27 GMT

    Sanjay Bangar should know, having gone through it all himself. It indeed is tough being always a fringe player but never getting the chances in the playing eleven. And as Sanjay has said, finally such players become easy targets and gets dropped even before getting the chances they deserve.

    Bangar was one player who should have played for India a lot earlier and a lot more than he did. The selectors, captains, officials and even the public lament about the lack of quality all-rounders in India but when they do get or spot one, they just don't know how to handle them. And that's how Sanjay Bangar has been lost to Indian Cricket for a while now. I hope he can make a comeback and hope he has got a lot more to contribute at the international level.

    Good Luck Sanjay Bangar !

  • Kam on December 13, 2007, 23:23 GMT

    It is god to know on the duties but it will be nice to know if pay level is same as playing eleven especially in state level or International matches

  • Anil on December 13, 2007, 19:59 GMT

    Its unbelievable that reserve players doesn't get to bat in nets. They should be given chances like the playing XI coz the reserve players are expected to play if any of the regular players are sick/injured.

  • Pralay Chakrabarti on December 13, 2007, 19:58 GMT

    Hi Sanjay, a truly well written article which makes anybody empathize with the person sitting on the bench.It's not the humiliation of not being able to make it to the playing eleven which hurts,it's the anxiety, constant monitoring by the coach on your reaction to be on the bench and thanklessness to the job that can ruin the motivation level of a player.

  • Dhaval Brahmbhatt on December 13, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    Sanjay, Your articles are interesting to say the least - however, I don't quite agree with the fact that one should stay at home if he/she is warming the bench for a long time. On the contrary it should spur you to achieve what you have not and better yourself. Having said that, there is something else that I would love to have your inputs on - enforced retirement on players in first class cricket - how about coming up with an age at which, if you have not played for the country, you need to retire so that youngsters get a chance. I know, when I used to play for the school, we had a few guys who were really good enough to play for the state Ranji team - but because there were "seniors" in the Ranji team, they could not get a chance to play in the Ranji team, and the "seniors" had no chance of qualifying for the Indian team - that really sucks and frustrates reserves no end. Your thoughts? DB

  • Anup on December 13, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Dear Sanjay , Excellent article !! At last we got something refreshing and different to read . Not the same match reports/analysis and articles which add fuel to already burning Board/Player poltics . Very insightful peice . Keep them coming .

  • Dipankar Sen on December 13, 2007, 16:53 GMT

    Sanjay,a very well-written article.Feel extremely sorry for the treatment meted to you after an excellent tour of England.It will always remain a mystery to me as to how you were sidelined so quickly&an utterly inept,profligate Agarkar was preferred by selectors&the captain and went on to play so many Tests,ODI.

  • mnsudarsan on December 13, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    I surmise, the point Sanjay Bangar has tried to make is that a player who is good enough to merit a place in the 15 or 16 and a likely replacement for the 'firmed up players' in the squad(XI I mean)is relegated to the totally 'non-cricketing roles'. In the earlier decades, these players at least had a chance to play 3 day matches when their Big brothers opt to take rest or these players' abilities are put on test. This atleast would serve as a pointer to decide the retention or axing of these players. But, nowadays, there is no tour games, the bech sitters serve the seniors, by that time some fresh talent make hitlines in domestic circuit and thanks to Selectors' solem vow to make changes, for the sake of changes, these ill fated players are thrown into oblivion. I think Sanjay should have been more forthright and cited a few examples.

  • tonyblair on December 13, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    all the people who agree with u are ppl without talent and have adorned the benches more than they have played cricket.they r satisfied with posting conformance to crappy articles. better off to be playing some other sport than on the fringe. ur better of realizing that ur not talented enough to be in the team in the 1 place and join the ICL instead. top that losers

  • S. Sen on December 13, 2007, 13:39 GMT

    What exactly can a man in his 20s or his 30s, who has (presumably) already been playing first-class cricket, "learn" by carrying drinks and fetching kit for other players? It does nothing but humiliate and further demoralize the so-called reserve player. It's like expecting a tennis pro to serve as ball-boy in a major tournament. These "extra-curricular" tasks are best left to U-19 cricketers or local boys, who will gain something (pleasure, experience, prestige, whatever) from serving the seniors. Reserve players are better off spending their time at the nets, or at home if they prefer.

  • Shakti on December 13, 2007, 12:43 GMT

    Sanjay...It was great article that you shared...It gave us the insight as to how a fringe player is treated...But i must say sport is just about taking all this....Being a sportsman is about work selfless and above all work for the team...One should always take oppurtunity to help team be it on or off the field...But yes...it may get frustrating if you become too emotional on selection...One need to keep the emotions on hold and take in stride...work harder and persevere and above all luck needs to be there....easier said than done..

  • Sankalp on December 13, 2007, 10:47 GMT

    Dinakar, I don't think Sanjay was in any way referring to the tasks performed by reserve players as demeaning or menial. But it is tough being a reserve player. Believe me, when they read out the team sheet and you have missed out, it hurts like crazy. Yes, you do learn a lot and its something everyone goes through, but that doesnt make the process any nicer. Being a reserve player is also a very lonely experience. Esp when you go through whole tours with hardly a game.

  • Shadab on December 13, 2007, 10:25 GMT

    hi Sanjay, Being a reserve is better than sitting at home. he can learn that how important is to get a place in first 11. once he ll be choosen for 1st eleven, he will perform 100%. nowadays, too much cricket has opened the doors for reserves. there r too many injuries can keep reserve player IN. reserve player can think & satisfy himself that he is the first choice if anything happens to any 1st eleven player. there are so many around you which has never been selected for 15 even. you are ahead of so many. keep up ur hard work gentleman!.

  • SR GOPAL on December 13, 2007, 10:15 GMT

    Excellent article,Sanjay.The more i read articles from you,i feel that you are a NATURAL as far as writing is concerned.Pl keep writing and educating us more and more.After reading your present article one really feels sorry for the reserves.

  • Atul Bhogle on December 13, 2007, 9:48 GMT

    Sanjay, your batting resembles your game - simple and sweet. May I suggest you write a book? We havent had a good, original book written by an Indian cricketer for a long time.

  • Dinakar on December 13, 2007, 9:25 GMT

    It looks like lore of a case of sour grapes. Each man is defined by what he does and when he does it. By being a fringe player, one does learn a lot. Each player goes through this. The case is same as a Corporate setup. One has to rise through the ranks. Talent alone is not enough. Many a player has been given a chance and not everyone has become a Dravid or a Ganguly or a Lakshman, no need to mention Tendulkar. Even Ganguly and Dravid had to do all these things when they were on reserve status but by their grit and determination, they have made it to the top. One can understand that a person like Lakshman could feel bad the way he has been treated even after his regular performances for India. He has never complained. Now this guy, after so many chances being given to him to be a part of the team, cries foul, is enough to show why he did not succeed at the top. If one feels it is menial to do things from which one can learn in life, it is a foregone conclusion success would elude.

  • Muralee on December 13, 2007, 9:17 GMT

    How ironic... Cricketers are treated as professionals and they let another professional work for them. Why cant the team hire administrative staff to carry out stuff llike kit management, drinks, bat/glove changes, etc.? Even if somebody is not in the playing XI, he came into the 15 because of merit.

  • Mohammad Isam on December 13, 2007, 8:55 GMT

    I could completely relate to it. I have been a fringe player and it is such a terrible time. You are a nobody. Thanks Sanjay for appreciating the 12-13 man club!!

  • Madhusudan (62) - From Hyderabad. on December 13, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Dear Mr.Bangar: There are some positives and negatives that are derived from being a reserve player.Sourav Ganguly in his first trip to Australia, was reluctant to do these odd jobs as a reserve player as per reports.These jobs are better left to be done by attendants than reserve players during domestic Circuits. This would allow players to play in domestic matches to improve their performance. On international circuits, those that are not playing in the XI, may learn a lot by being part of the team, and ever ready to play in the event of injuries to established players.It is an excellent suggestion to prove your worth and excel to such an extant that a player straightaway gets into the XI. Many a player in the past, though brilliant as players NEVER got into the national side, because of Selectors whims and fancies.Padmakar Shivalkar, Rajinder Goel come to my mind immediately.At the outset, you have nicely highlighted another face of Cricket a player needs to be aware of.

  • Raghuveer on December 13, 2007, 7:40 GMT

    Great piece sanjay....its insights like these that make us keep coming back to cricinfo throughout the day...looking forward to more such articles

  • Amuthakkannan on December 13, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    Great sanjay. Indian cricket community lost and also loosing lot of great cricket players like this only. 10 years back, I have seen atapattu was like this only when gurusinghe and aravinda were in the srilanka team.But he stayed in the team long time as bench player, then he got his place and proved himself and came up as a captain.But this will not happen in indian cricket. They will pick the great players,and without giving a single chance, dropped.This was happen to Badrinath in last season. He is a great palyer and having avg more than many of the international players. If it is happening to the domestic best players they will loose their confident. Once picked in probables means, It is needed to give some chances to prove them.other wise like sanjay opinion, pick only the players who are going to play the real cricket, and announce the name of washer man,room cleaner,waiter and helper names along with the players instead of teasing and cheating some great domes. cricketets.

  • Naval Patel on December 13, 2007, 6:29 GMT

    Very pertinent and informative article about background realities, Sanjay. Do keep writing such pieces. I trust the players who are actually in the XI behave courteously towards the reserves supporting them, and not treat them as servants.

  • krishmaddy on December 13, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    Sanjay should understand in any field let it be cricket, film etc there would be hardships to be on the top. And considering the remuneration a player gets for being part of the team is 100 times better than what an IAS officer in the country get. There is no short cut to stardom gentleman....U need to sweat it out and cop it with sweet till u reach where u want u to be.

  • Swaminathan on December 13, 2007, 5:36 GMT

    Interesting stuff. It is quite an eye opener , however it is in the best interest of the ganme that it is done by reserve players ( not in the playing eleven). The reserve players get to understand the game better by discussing various strategies with the coach. I feel one should not view what gets done by the reserve players as something that should be done by someone else ( not in the team squad or only by the junior most players). It is indeed a thoughful piece but no tears since the approach towards reserve players follows the Bottom - Up Approach.

  • Cinyar on December 13, 2007, 4:49 GMT

    wow i never knew that they had to do so much, i thought it was just watch and bring them drinks.

  • Swithin on December 13, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    Another thoughtful piece

  • sub777 on December 13, 2007, 4:24 GMT

    Sanjay--that is a very insightful blog. We all need to be reminded about what the reserves go through.

  • S.R. CHANDAR on December 13, 2007, 4:09 GMT

    Dear Bangar, the article was nice. I can understand your feelings. hope some of the selectors or board members read the article. there are many players like you who were never given the opportunity at the right time.

  • Lester on December 13, 2007, 4:06 GMT

    i totally agree with what Sanjay says. Once I was classified as a bench member of the college cricket team, I was never given a chance in the nets or a game to prove myself again. And I can say without any egoism coming in, that I was certainly a better player than a few in the playing XI after a period of time. But the coach only looked after the playing XI.

  • Inder Arora on December 13, 2007, 3:29 GMT

    So true.... While I was reading this article, all I could think of was Mohammad Kaif. I wonder if we will ever see him again. I can still remember his electrifying ways while fielding. I am glad for ICL, now we may get to see some players that could have or should have made it....

  • Kishore on December 13, 2007, 2:56 GMT

    Nice post. Quite an insight into what happens in the dressing room and with the players "on bench"!

  • Jamie Dowling on December 13, 2007, 0:47 GMT

    Once again Sanjay you have written a wonderfully educational and eye opening piece. More, please!

  • Sandip on December 12, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    Another fantastic article Sanjay!! Insights you provide are pure joy to read.

  • Sardar Suddazai on December 12, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    Excellent Article. Specifically International players! The reserve does however, gain the experience of being with the senior squad! Therefore, the reserves should consist of those players who are representative of 'u' 19 or domestic cricket that are potentially a target for selection for the future. Once a fringe player is not named in the squad than he should be sent back to his regular first class side so that he maintains his form! There is an argument that it builds team unity etc.. but a potential first team player should not be carrying drinks or gloves. This develops a mindset of being a second rate member of the side! The donkey jobs should be reserved for very junior players not selected for the squad!

  • Rohan Singh on December 12, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    Sanjay, This is as good as one can write about the frustrations of a fringe player and the duties of a reserve. My suggestion is to keep someone fully employed in a squad to do all the stuff that a reserve player has to do without his approval. Reserve players must not be treated like that. After all they are good enough to be in the squad and on a day can replace one from the playing XI. Keep practicing and keep the moral up, by doing all the stuff that the someone from playing XI wants done, just gets the confidence down. I think its a big psychological blow to the reserve players.

  • shashi on December 12, 2007, 22:10 GMT

    well said sanjay, i remeber when i was in school i was the 12th man for 1 year and suddenly one day our captain slipped in the bathroon and had to be taken home and here i was unexpectedly playing in the 11. I din't even bring my kit because i knew i woun'nt play. but that feeling that u get when u take up the field is so amzing and actualy play in the 11 is so amazing. i cannot forget that day

  • Girish on December 12, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    Hi Paras, I think I disagree with you on the last statement. You may have a point about chances deteriorating the longer you are on bench, but that definitely is no reason to send the message out to youngsters to stay at home. I think bench period, in cricket or in any walk of life, is as important or more important than being in the playing XI. It's the time when a man comes face to face with himself, a time when he introspects, a time when he learns most about himself and his game - much more than he would by practising in the nets, a time when he challenges himself and with a little bit of luck makes it to the XI by sheer power of will and perserverence. It is period when a players character is tested; if he is able to think beyond himself and about himself. I think bench time not only makes a player a better player but also hopefully a better person. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed your post. Keep'em coming.. Regards,

  • Dont take it for granted on December 12, 2007, 21:03 GMT

    If you love Cricket, being with the team, serving the players and enjoying the atmosphere is worth it all. I would give anything to trade places with a reserve. When I used to play club cricket, there was a lot of competition and I would often be excluded from the playing 11 but I would keenly wait for any opportunity I could get to come in as 12th man or as a runner just so that I could be in the game. I would not trade those moments for anything. It may be difficult for a player's ego to be on the fringes but if you love cricket, being around the game is good enough.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Dont take it for granted on December 12, 2007, 21:03 GMT

    If you love Cricket, being with the team, serving the players and enjoying the atmosphere is worth it all. I would give anything to trade places with a reserve. When I used to play club cricket, there was a lot of competition and I would often be excluded from the playing 11 but I would keenly wait for any opportunity I could get to come in as 12th man or as a runner just so that I could be in the game. I would not trade those moments for anything. It may be difficult for a player's ego to be on the fringes but if you love cricket, being around the game is good enough.

  • Girish on December 12, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    Hi Paras, I think I disagree with you on the last statement. You may have a point about chances deteriorating the longer you are on bench, but that definitely is no reason to send the message out to youngsters to stay at home. I think bench period, in cricket or in any walk of life, is as important or more important than being in the playing XI. It's the time when a man comes face to face with himself, a time when he introspects, a time when he learns most about himself and his game - much more than he would by practising in the nets, a time when he challenges himself and with a little bit of luck makes it to the XI by sheer power of will and perserverence. It is period when a players character is tested; if he is able to think beyond himself and about himself. I think bench time not only makes a player a better player but also hopefully a better person. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed your post. Keep'em coming.. Regards,

  • shashi on December 12, 2007, 22:10 GMT

    well said sanjay, i remeber when i was in school i was the 12th man for 1 year and suddenly one day our captain slipped in the bathroon and had to be taken home and here i was unexpectedly playing in the 11. I din't even bring my kit because i knew i woun'nt play. but that feeling that u get when u take up the field is so amzing and actualy play in the 11 is so amazing. i cannot forget that day

  • Rohan Singh on December 12, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    Sanjay, This is as good as one can write about the frustrations of a fringe player and the duties of a reserve. My suggestion is to keep someone fully employed in a squad to do all the stuff that a reserve player has to do without his approval. Reserve players must not be treated like that. After all they are good enough to be in the squad and on a day can replace one from the playing XI. Keep practicing and keep the moral up, by doing all the stuff that the someone from playing XI wants done, just gets the confidence down. I think its a big psychological blow to the reserve players.

  • Sardar Suddazai on December 12, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    Excellent Article. Specifically International players! The reserve does however, gain the experience of being with the senior squad! Therefore, the reserves should consist of those players who are representative of 'u' 19 or domestic cricket that are potentially a target for selection for the future. Once a fringe player is not named in the squad than he should be sent back to his regular first class side so that he maintains his form! There is an argument that it builds team unity etc.. but a potential first team player should not be carrying drinks or gloves. This develops a mindset of being a second rate member of the side! The donkey jobs should be reserved for very junior players not selected for the squad!

  • Sandip on December 12, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    Another fantastic article Sanjay!! Insights you provide are pure joy to read.

  • Jamie Dowling on December 13, 2007, 0:47 GMT

    Once again Sanjay you have written a wonderfully educational and eye opening piece. More, please!

  • Kishore on December 13, 2007, 2:56 GMT

    Nice post. Quite an insight into what happens in the dressing room and with the players "on bench"!

  • Inder Arora on December 13, 2007, 3:29 GMT

    So true.... While I was reading this article, all I could think of was Mohammad Kaif. I wonder if we will ever see him again. I can still remember his electrifying ways while fielding. I am glad for ICL, now we may get to see some players that could have or should have made it....

  • Lester on December 13, 2007, 4:06 GMT

    i totally agree with what Sanjay says. Once I was classified as a bench member of the college cricket team, I was never given a chance in the nets or a game to prove myself again. And I can say without any egoism coming in, that I was certainly a better player than a few in the playing XI after a period of time. But the coach only looked after the playing XI.