March 21, 2009

Indian domestic cricket

Are domestic players paid well?

Aakash Chopra

Dear Readers,

As promised here are the answers to some of the questions you'd asked.

Posted by: Chintan Shah on February 24, 2009 11:00 AM

Hi Aakash, I’m a big fan of your articles on Cricinfo. I was trying to find your book in local bookstores but could not get it. Maybe I didn’t try enough, but I would surely buy it soon. My Question to you is about our domestic cricket scheduling. County cricket has four tournaments just like we do, they also have a two-tier approach, plus they have Twenty20 tournaments too which we do not – in our domestic circuit - thanks to the IPL. Why can’t we have a schedule just like them? The counties play four day-games in a week and play a one-day match over the weekend, that way both the Ranji Trophy and Ranji one-dayers can be held together. Similarly, the Duleep Trophy needs more matches, it simply cannot be a knockout tournament.

Dear Chintan, We used to follow a similarly formatted schedule earlier i.e. playing a one-day match a day before the longer version. But all this changed when the Elite and Plate divisions were introduced in the Ranji Trophy. The old zonal system continued for the one-day tournament, though. Hence, it isn’t possible to hold both formats in the same week. I won’t be surprised to see the Elite and Plate divisions introduced soon in the shorter format as well. Yes, I completely agree that there could be more matches in the Duleep trophy.

Posted by: Angi on February 24, 2009 11:20 AM

Dharamsala is a beautiful place - wonderful scenery and locations. I'm a bit curious to know one thing: when did you first debut in the Ranji Trophy? I mean, did you represent your school teams first and then some clubs - basically, how did you get noticed?

Dear Angi, I made my first class debut in 1997 against Services.

Yes, one needs to play for the school team, then some club and eventually in age-group tournaments for the state. One must do well enough in the age-group tournaments to get noticed and picked to play for the state team at first-class level.

Posted by: Vikram Kewalramani on February 24, 2009 12:31 PM

Hey Aakash, Love your book. I live in Canada but I made sure that I got one sent to me as I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts.

According to you, what is the difference in pre-match preparation between a Test player v/s an above-average Ranji player for the same game? (Let’s say a Laxman versus a Mithun Minhas.) Or to compare Apples with apples (how do you/ Gambhir differ in preparation versus a Rajat Bhatia/ Minhas? ) Thanks, Vikram

Dear Vikram, Many thanks for your feedback and I appreciate the effort you made to get hold of my book; and I’m glad that you liked it.

There is always some difference in the way each one approaches and prepares for an event i.e. a match in our case. Some players like to bat for hours prior to the match and on the eve of the match, they simply refuse to leave the nets. Then there are some who don’t bat in the nets at all especially on the eve of the game. They prefer to have a few throw downs instead. Some people give a lot of emphasis on visualization and try to simulate the match situation before the game starts.

In the end, it’s all about what works for each individual. There are no fool proof methods of preparing. As they say, if you’re not prepared to succeed you must be ready to fail. Hence, prepare we must.

Posted by: Raghu on February 24, 2009 3:18 PM

Aakash, saw your scores in the tournament, looks like you’re on a purple patch, hope you continue making the big runs.

Here's my question - I am sure its hard to adjust to a higher level of the game when you take a step up but how difficult is it for a player to adjust to a lower level of the game after having played at the highest level? For instance you have played in the best of the grounds and against the best bowlers in the world in Australia, so how difficult is it to adjust to the not-so-great grounds and face lower quality - if I may say so - bowling in domestic cricket.

Dear Raghu,

Thanks for your wishes.

Well, it doesn’t take me a lot to adjust to domestic cricket because I’ve been around for a while. I played quite a few seasons in this circuit before making it to the top and therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise. Yes, the difference does seem more blatant when you’ve played at the top.

Posted by: Ravi on February 24, 2009 4:19 PM

As usual, a nice article from you Aakash. Nowadays I’ve got so habituated to reading your articles, I am checking for one everyday when I logon to Cricinfo.

You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding scheduling. As you said the elite/plate should be introduced here to bring out the best out of the players. But why is it that players get selected in the ODI team based on their performances in four-day games instead of the shorter format?

Dear Ravi,

Yes, there’s some food for thought in what you say. As I’ve said earlier, I won’t be surprised to see the Elite and Plate division system introduced in the shorter format as well. Yes, it does seem a little unfair to select players to represent India in the shorter format based on their performances in the longer format, but that’s where the selectors come in. They’re the ones who decide whether someone is suited for the shorter version or not. Since they’ve played at the highest level, they generally tend to get it right.

Posted by: Denzil Correa on February 24, 2009 4:54 PM

Hi Aakash,

I am a near regular follower of your blog and most articles on Cricinfo. I would like to know whether players’ opinions are taken into consideration while deciding the itinerary. In international cricket, the two member boards sit and decide the itinerary. Who decides the same for the domestic matches?

All the best for your one-day campaign. If possible, can you explain how teams qualify for the Ranji one-dayers?

Thanks

Dear Denzil,

Thanks for your feedback.

No, the players’ opinions aren’t taken into consideration while chalking out the schedule for the domestic competitions. There’s a valid reason for that. There are 27 teams playing the domestic circuit and it’s impossible to have a representative from every team on board while chalking out the itinerary.

The top two teams from each zone qualify for the Knock Out one-day competition.

Posted by: Aditya on February 24, 2009 4:57 PM

Hi Aakash,

Beautiful post again.

I had a question for you: Just like you discussed about cricket balls in your two previous blogs, can you give us insights into a batsman's gear such as bats, pads, helmets, etc? I know there are English and Kashmir willow bats. Which ones are better and why?

Keep writing, regards, Aditya

Dear Aditya,

Thanks for your feedback.

The bats made from English willow are much better in comparison to the bats made from their Kashmiri counterpart. The difference lies in the climate in which the tree is grown. The climate in Kashmir gets hotter in the summer and hence the wood gets dry as compared to the region in which the trees are grown in England. The wood from England is less dense and has more moisture when compared to the willow from Kashmir which is more dense and dry, and hence makes the wood heavier, which isn’t ideal for a top quality cricket bat.

Posted by: Satyanand on February 25, 2009 4:10 AM

Hi Aakash , I have always wondered why the domestic matches are not popular ,whereas the IPL seems to be such a success. If we ignore the four foreign players per team , it would basically boil down to a majority of Indian players.

Most Ranji matches nowadays are playing to empty stands . Any thoughts on how to improve the attendance? For one, I think the State/Club youth teams can be encouraged to watch and learn from the matches (at least).

Dear Satyanand,

At the risk of sounding bizarre, I think that we might have to make the Ranji trophy matches day-night affairs. It wouldn’t be a bad option to start the game under lights at 3pm. This would mean that the second half of the day's play would be at prime time and I’m sure that people in this country would like to watch live cricket even if it’s a domestic match.

Posted by: Akash on February 25, 2009 11:41 AM

Hi Aakash,

Very good one mate.

A request for your next blog: is the money earned through domestic cricket sustainable? Can all domestic cricketers earn enough for sustenance of their families or they have to alternative work during off season......after they retire ...etc?

Dear Akash,

The BCCI must be given credit for pumping in the money for domestic cricket. Nowadays if a player plays an entire season of domestic cricket he makes enough money to maintain a decent lifestyle. Besides that, most first class cricketers are working for one organization or another and are therefore drawing a comfortable monthly salary from their employers as well. So they don’t really have to work in the off-season, but they are required to turn up for the matches their respective organizations play during the off-season.

I'm sorry for not being able to answer all the questions as that's a slightly difficult task on the blog. So in the meantime please browse my website which is called www.cricketaakash.com and feel free to ask questions and give feedback.

Cheers.

Posted by: Raghu on February 24, 2009 3:18 PM

Aakash, saw your scores in the tournament, looks like you’re on a purple patch, hope you continue making the big runs.

Here's my question - I am sure its hard to adjust to a higher level of the game when you take a step up but how difficult is it for a player to adjust to a lower level of the game after having played at the highest level? For instance you have played in the best of the grounds and against the best bowlers in the world in Australia, so how difficult is it to adjust to the not-so-great grounds and face lower quality - if I may say so - bowling in domestic cricket.

Dear Raghu,

Thanks for your wishes.

Well, it doesn’t take me a lot to adjust to domestic cricket because I’ve been around for a while. I played quite a few seasons in this circuit before making it to the top and therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise. Yes, the difference does seem more blatant when you’ve played at the top.

Posted by: Ravi on February 24, 2009 4:19 PM

As usual, a nice article from you Aakash. Nowadays I’ve got so habituated to reading your articles, I am checking for one everyday when I logon to Cricinfo.

You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding scheduling. As you said the elite/plate should be introduced here to bring out the best out of the players. But why is it that players get selected in the ODI team based on their performances in four-day games instead of the shorter format?

Dear Ravi,

Yes, there’s some food for thought in what you say. As I’ve said earlier, I won’t be surprised to see the Elite and Plate division system introduced in the shorter format as well. Yes, it does seem a little unfair to select players to represent India in the shorter format based on their performances in the longer format, but that’s where the selectors come in. They’re the ones who decide whether someone is suited for the shorter version or not. Since they’ve played at the highest level, they generally tend to get it right.

Posted by: Denzil Correa on February 24, 2009 4:54 PM

Hi Aakash,

I am a near regular follower of your blog and most articles on Cricinfo. I would like to know whether players’ opinions are taken into consideration while deciding the itinerary. In international cricket, the two member boards sit and decide the itinerary. Who decides the same for the domestic matches?

All the best for your one-day campaign. If possible, can you explain how teams qualify for the Ranji one-dayers?

Thanks

Dear Denzil,

Thanks for your feedback.

No, the players’ opinions aren’t taken into consideration while chalking out the schedule for the domestic competitions. There’s a valid reason for that. There are 27 teams playing the domestic circuit and it’s impossible to have a representative from every team on board while chalking out the itinerary.

The top two teams from each zone qualify for the Knock Out one-day competition.

Posted by: Aditya on February 24, 2009 4:57 PM

Hi Aakash,

Beautiful post again.

I had a question for you: Just like you discussed about cricket balls in your two previous blogs, can you give us insights into a batsman's gear such as bats, pads, helmets, etc? I know there are English and Kashmir willow bats. Which ones are better and why?

Keep writing, regards, Aditya

Dear Aditya,

Thanks for your feedback.

The bats made from English willow are much better in comparison to the bats made from their Kashmiri counterpart. The difference lies in the climate in which the tree is grown. The climate in Kashmir gets hotter in the summer and hence the wood gets dry as compared to the region in which the trees are grown in England. The wood from England is less dense and has more moisture when compared to the willow from Kashmir which is more dense and dry, and hence makes the wood heavier, which isn’t ideal for a top quality cricket bat.

Posted by: Satyanand on February 25, 2009 4:10 AM

Hi Aakash , I have always wondered why the domestic matches are not popular ,whereas the IPL seems to be such a success. If we ignore the four foreign players per team , it would basically boil down to a majority of Indian players.

Most Ranji matches nowadays are playing to empty stands . Any thoughts on how to improve the attendance? For one, I think the State/Club youth teams can be encouraged to watch and learn from the matches (at least).

Dear Satyanand,

At the risk of sounding bizarre, I think that we might have to make the Ranji trophy matches day-night affairs. It wouldn’t be a bad option to start the game under lights at 3pm. This would mean that the second half of the day's play would be at prime time and I’m sure that people in this country would like to watch live cricket even if it’s a domestic match.

Posted by: Akash on February 25, 2009 11:41 AM

Hi Aakash,

Very good one mate.

A request for your next blog: is the money earned through domestic cricket sustainable? Can all domestic cricketers earn enough for sustenance of their families or they have to alternative work during off season......after they retire ...etc?

Dear Akash,

The BCCI must be given credit for pumping in the money for domestic cricket. Nowadays if a player plays an entire season of domestic cricket he makes enough money to maintain a decent lifestyle. Besides that, most first class cricketers are working for one organization or another and are therefore drawing a comfortable monthly salary from their employers as well. So they don’t really have to work in the off-season, but they are required to turn up for the matches their respective organizations play during the off-season.

I'm sorry for not being able to answer all the questions as that's a slightly difficult task on the blog. So in the meantime please browse my website which is called www.cricketaakash.com and feel free to ask questions and give feedback.

Cheers.

RELATED LINKS

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

RSS Feeds: Aakash Chopra

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Posted by isaac neelam on (September 1, 2009, 18:31 GMT)

Hi Aakash,I've a big fan of you after reading "beyond the blues"..I want to know why some players are neglected from being selected to international format inspite of thier talent..I know a player,Prabhu Kiran from Andhra who is a great talent himself has represented India U-19 but never selected for India nor for IPL..This is very unfair in sports..There is hardly anyone from Andhra representing India..

Posted by Aditya Mookerjee on (May 16, 2009, 11:54 GMT)

Aakash, in your book, beyond the blues, have you written at all about the famous Aussie tour in 04-05? Why do you not write another book on that tour?

Posted by Vikram Maingi on (May 13, 2009, 10:32 GMT)

I think IPL is giving a great opportunity/exposure to the domestic players. Kolkata Knight Riders had as many as 46 domestic players in their squad, which went to South Africa for IPL-2.

Posted by akash on (May 9, 2009, 18:49 GMT)

heyy Aakash i have a cricketing question for you whose answer is unknown to me. My question is that what is the right technique for playing a SWITCH SHOT.on which ball is it easier to play it.Is it a safe to play this short.

Posted by Sekhar on (March 24, 2009, 9:47 GMT)

Visited your website and found that you have all the makings of a good coach.Good coaches these days (except Gary Kirsten) are not necessarily the ones who stuck around international teams for long.Example:Lalchand Rajput (t20 WC 2007),Darren Berry (assistant coach of Rajasthan Royals.He never got to play for Australia though he was in the squad for some time.Now he's teamed up with Warne and look at the Royals.I'm already imagining you teaming up with Virender Sehwag for coaching) That information about cricket academies was useful enough.Hope that roster grows to include the rest of the cricket states as well.But why isn't National Cricket Academy present against Bangalore?

Posted by Sanjay on (March 22, 2009, 22:53 GMT)

Hi Akash, Excellent blog and great writing. Thanks for the good work. I have few questions. Appreciate if you could answer in your leisure time.

1. Could you throw some light on the exceptional (or near exceptional) talent you may have noticed in domestic season this year ? Both Ranji/Duleep and One-dayers. They may or may not have topped the stats; but as per you they should have the right temperament and technique/skills to go to higher level of cricket.

2. From you international and national experience, who are your top three most difficult bowlers you have faced over these years ?

Thanks,

Sanjay

Posted by ravi on (March 22, 2009, 6:06 GMT)

hai akash nice u have answered a lot of questions in readers minds..thanks for them.. well as i have seen some games are being recorded for umpires training..but here i dont undestand the logic behind this i have seen the umpires who are being recorded (lot of them) are nearing their retirement period (nearly2-3 yrs left) what will they improve at this point if the same system is followed for younger gen. umpires then these guys have lot of thing to learn and also will try to improve their skills..which will help them in their career..why not BCCI think in this way but go on in old format seniors first????.... even the coaches provided are also not upto the mark i heard some umpires saying that each one will say a different thing for the same issue,,,some say stand like this in one game and the other comes and says no its wrong and do the way u were doing earlier..

Posted by Tango on (March 22, 2009, 0:41 GMT)

Dhoni is equally aggressive. I reckon Dhoni is a bit shrewd and smarter. Also his down-to-earth attitude helps while Ganguly's bit of antics will always work against. You can't dilly-dally and be your own man with strong character when you have antics. KP, Warne are of similar nature when it comes to similar attitudes and that mostly works against if you are a captain than in favor because you will not always be on top and people will immediately point it out when chips are down.

Posted by Tango on (March 22, 2009, 0:34 GMT)

Hi Aakash,

How much a first-class cricketer makes in average in a year. Are there other incentives or it's challenging to be a first-class cricketer when you know for sure that your chance of making to the Indian team is slim.

Posted by Neha J on (March 21, 2009, 16:14 GMT)

Hey!

A lot of comparisons are made between MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly as captains. What separates them however is their temperament. Ganguly was the aggressive and angry one in his days, while MS is one of the coolest captains today. Do you think MS will end up with better numbers as captain than Ganguly did? What do you think makes him the good captain he is? Would you attribute it to the 'luck factor' ?

Thanks for the feedback!

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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