India news August 14, 2013

Not about selection but love for the game - Srinath

Rohan Sharma

Javagal Srinath, former India fast bowler, believes young cricketers should play for the love of the game, and not focus as much on getting selected in various age-group teams. Srinath was speaking, along with former India captain Rahul Dravid, at a discussion on club cricket as part of the Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) platinum jubilee celebrations.

Srinath, currently the KSCA secretary, spoke fondly of his time in club cricket, playing for Sunny Side Club in Mysore. "If I missed one session of practice, I was very hard on myself. I resolved to stick to the club. The loyalty factor was very high, and with that loyalty I gave a lot. I cherished every second and gained a lot in terms of dedication and commitment."

His resolve, however, was shaken when he couldn't crack the Karnataka Under-15 squad. "I remember coming here to Bangalore in 1985 or so for an U-15 trial and not being picked in the side. I went back to Mysore and refused to bat or bowl. My coach told me not to come back for training again: 'You are here to play this game and develop a sporting habit. That is more important to me.' This changed my mindset towards selection and put less pressure on me to perform."

Srinath's notion proved a recurring theme throughout the talk as Dravid weighed in. "What are the aspirations of the player?" Dravid said. "Is it only to get selected into the state U-19 team? Only fifteen boys get selected, so there will be a lot of young, disappointed kids, and people will start giving up the game. There is a huge amount of pressure from schools and parents. You have to play it for the enjoyment factor; making friends, getting physically fit, and learning about life through sport."

Dravid spoke of his experiences growing up. "One of my great memories was playing with the likes of Roger Binny, Carlton Saldhana and Sadanand Viswanath. To play against GR Viswanath, who was still playing for State Bank of India and Raghuram Bhatt on a matting wicket, you knew these were great cricketers. It was a great opportunity for a 16-year-old boy to learn and play with these great cricketers."

Dravid also mentioned that long train journeys with the likes of Viswanath and Binny contributed a lot to the development of him and Srinath as players, as it allowed them special insight and access to their wealth of knowledge. These journeys also helped forge a special bond between the players, he said, one which ultimately transcended into the Indian team, which at the time boasted a significant contingent of Karnataka players.

One other point, which was touched upon by each member of the panel, which included N Doraiswamy, club secretary of Friends Union Cricket Club, and Dr S Krishnamurthy, former administrator, was the growing need for facilities and open spaces for cricket to continue to thrive in and around Bangalore. With the advent of urban sprawl and the coinciding population boom, commute times have lengthened and the competition for club spaces have increased. The KSCA has attempted to rectify this to an extent with the introduction of their summer coaching camps, which allow aspiring cricketers access to qualified coaches and a robust infrastructure. Private academies have also shot up, but the costs may prove a deterrent to impoverished players.

Rohan Sharma is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Navdeep on August 17, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    No matter which level you are playing at, be it at the school level or the National Team level, one must enjoy the thrill of the victory rather than getting clouded by the thoughts of being selected for the next match. It is imperative to perform well however, one must enjoy the bells of victory rather than pondering over personal milestones and then worrying about being selected in the next match/series. The LOVE for the game must be one's driving force.

  • Dummy4 on August 15, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    I think it is great to see/ hear what the former indian cricketers have approached the game and shared their wonderful experiences, it simply shows their mental abilities and their pedigrees.......

  • Harish on August 15, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    Legends. What a privilege to have watched over 10 Ranji matches where these guys have played. And in 4 of them RD cracked centuries and showed the likes of Uthappa and Manish Pandey how it is done.

  • Dummy4 on August 15, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Love for the game remains for a life time even if one does not make the cut. That is why the game has such a huge fan following. Many are those fans are those who love the game. In my experience junior cricket selection is controlled by coaching camp organizers and ex-crikecters. Many of those are ones who missed out the bus in their junior cricket days.Cricket aspirants do get carried away and spend a lot of time and money on cricket coaching whilst ignoring education. Good point Dravid made regarding its only the 15 that get selected. Howeve I am sure even Dravid knows not all those selected are deserving. Cite and example how Arjun Tendulkar gets selected before a few others who were deserving. And Sachin cites his selection to love for the game. This is sad, but true that junior cricket is in the grasp of these middlemen who fleece aspirants of their time/money and also responsible for killing talent. A research on this topic can help Parents prepare for the outcome.

  • Sriram on August 15, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Uttapa should hire Dravid as his batting coach for this season, he is now in the India A team. This is his last chance as India is still searching for a solid opening pair in ODI. There is Rohit, Vijay now being tested and there is Rahane, but none has nailed the spot. Then there is Gautam who could make a comeback. If at all there is hope for Robin this is the season!!

  • narbavi on August 15, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    It was tough on the kids like Rahul said, when a kid tells his parents about his aspirations to become a cricketer, parents are naturally worried for his future as only a few people make it big, but these days state level cricketers are earning a lot as well to make a living, and also with lots of local t20 tournaments coming up, people do make money!!