April 5, 2013

The problem with Indian cricket academies

Increasingly young players (and their parents) look at them as ways to generate returns on investment
25

A few years ago my son was protesting about the way he had to prepare for his ICSE exams. "I won't be tested on my knowledge anyway…" he started. "They only want to check if I can reproduce the answers that someone has already written." He was right, our education system seeks to produce homogeneous masses, production lines of identical students. This reduces us to excellent followers of a particular system.

I was reminded of that when I read Greg Chappell's thought-provoking article in the Hindu about how modern batsmen are struggling to "survive, let alone make runs, when the pitch is other than a flat road where the odds are overwhelmingly in the batsman's favour". He thinks it could be a result of academies that "do not produce the creative thinkers that become the next champions", and whose "highly intrusive coaching methods… have replaced those creative learning environments".

Even as academies mushroom everywhere, there is little proof that they are enriching Indian cricket and not merely providing another source of income to retired cricketers. It is a good exercise at social events to say, "You know, my son goes to such and such academy run by so and so former cricketer", but it does little else. My fear is that it thrusts eager children into another school of regimented learning; instead of the unfettered joy of hitting and chasing and bowling a cricket ball, they are checking out their stance, their foot movement and the alignment of the shoulder. That is like answering a question on five aspects of the architectural layouts of 16th century temples, instead of learning history. Sport can run the risk, as my friend Shyam Balasubramaniam says, of "becoming an industrial time and motion study".

You can see why academies flower in urban jungles like Mumbai, where playgrounds are cruelly encroached upon. With no place of your own, you get pushed into camps; cramped, crowded factories where you pay to become nobody. When you pay a stiff fee, you very quickly start looking for returns on it. Playing cricket becomes an exercise where returns are sought on monetary investment. Mumbai understands that language well, and so, caught between no space, long journeys and expensive gear, potential cricketers become insecure and feel the need to produce results quickly. The fun goes out of it, and fun is such a vital ingredient in producing a champion. When you are growing up, when you are learning, you have to play for no reward, and it is my thesis that that is where a financially driven city like Mumbai loses talent early.

And so as playgrounds vanished, as time began commanding a premium, as academies flourished and as experiential learning diminished, Mumbai started going downhill. They still win the Ranji Trophy but the only genuine international Mumbai have produced since Sachin Tendulkar is Ajit Agarkar in one-day cricket. One in 24 years is poor.

Chappell also talks about MS Dhoni, and of how he evolved his own style, unfettered by a curriculum. That is how it should be, with a player free to play in the way that comes naturally to him. Academies can then become finishing schools where you nudge a player a bit here, prod him a bit there but largely let him remain the natural player he is. I think that is best done when a player is around 16. I know that is the age when Tendulkar played international cricket but he was a freak; you cannot hold him up as a product of a system. Critically, Tendulkar was not over-coached; his heavy-bat, bottom-handed style would never have survived otherwise. What Ramakant Achrekar did was make him play matches, face different bowlers, different situations, and though his arm was on his ward's shoulder, though they talked cricket, Tendulkar learnt to play it by himself.

And so, accepting that Tendulkar is an aberration, and almost from another era, I am convinced that the best talent will come out of the small towns, where time and space are not rapidly perishable commodities; where a young Harbhajan Singh wants to bowl late into the evening with a revved-up scooter providing light. There are academies there too, but players who emerge from those places seem to talk fondly about their coaches, amateur sports lovers who give freely of their time.

If academies can retain joy, and provide time, they will give themselves a chance of producing unique cricketers. But if coaches and parents are looking at academies for a quick return on investment, they will continue to gobble up talent.

Harsha Bhogle is a television presenter and writer, and a commentator on IPL 2013. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vasi-Koosi on April 6, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Right on the money!!! The only thing I was taught was how to hold the bat and how to look for frontfoot or backfoot play. We then developed ourselves a technique and I was one of the stubborn opening batsman; Once in a blue moon, we will have a coach from chennai coming and spending 2 weeks with us; he taught us various strokes and how to prepare for them. But even before that we found a way to play shots and score runs. These were pre-TV days; there were a few who would play what is called a copy book cover-drive with the elbow up; it just came naturally if we apply our minds

  • SherjilIslam on April 5, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Bingo!.Perfectly timed and represents the truth of Metros of India.But like to share some truth about small towns too:Even in small centres, the space crunch has now begun and academies are coming with paid coaching.But having said that, the coaches of small towns are still very much centred about player's overall development and delighted to see their ward doing well.

  • on April 7, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Having lived in two metros of India for over the past three years and twenty two years before that in a very nondescript sleepy town, I have observed an important difference between 'life in a metro' and 'life in a small town', and it quite aligns with Harsha's tenor here: youth from the smaller towns of India are a more positive bunch.They are not overly cynical and more important they are willing to give their time and stay patient.Maybe that comes naturally to them because life in small towns does tend to move rather slowly,and time does not just fleet by with a million things vying for your attention.They are more likely to take disappointments in their stride,to learn from it,and to get back at it, than the kids in urban centers who have a million avenues to try and have attention spans of three year olds.Cricket emulates many virtues of life;it's one of the most important charms of the sport.At the moment those virtues are more in vogue in the smaller towns of the country.

  • on April 6, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Cheers for your son Harsha for the revolutionary thought. However, one's greatest coach is one himself and his ability to learn. No matter how you are taught, the thing which matters is how you perform. In Cricket, you can have coaches to guide/teach you skills but at the end you have to deliver. There comes your ability and will power which is vital. With regards to Sachin, even Achrekar can now not help him from his current poor run...it is Sachin who has to learn from his mistakes.It's not only reflexes but shot selection. With Cricket growing and new bowlers coming in with great/innovative skills...Sachin and others will always be tested. Cricket is not about Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore......it's everywhere in India.....it was just not explored. Now with players coming in from all regions, competition has grown.....which is EXCELLENT for the growth of INDIAN CRICKET.

  • ThatsJustCricket on April 5, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Wonderful article and absolutely to the point.

  • sundaram530 on April 5, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    The fact that Mumbai does not produce that many international cricketers anymore may have nothing to do with the increase in number of cricket coaching academies. It probably has to do with better talent scouting in far flung areas of India, less prejudice from BCCI towards non-metro areas, more available money hence more overall participation, etc. After all, Kohli, the new kid on the block, is from Delhi. I don't know if he attended any academy or not, but certainly Delhi has no fewer academies than Mumbai? My point is that true talent will come out - academies or no academies.

  • on April 5, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    Its same everywhere.... whether its cricket or education or music !!!! Its same .... you want to learn cricket come to us.. you want 99%,... home tutor ... you want to be singer come to us ....its everywhere...if a person is really good at something he should be encouraged to do that ...that is not happening ... we are forced to do everything so that once we pass out we at least get a job!!!! I remember i had a friend once who was really good in maths but very poor in all other subjects...I wonder if people like him who are really good in something are allowed to pursue that than mindlessly following a curriculum we might see more of Tendulkas, Rehmans, Einsteins and S.Jobs... Who knows ..but its all fantasy..:):):P:P

  • itsthewayuplay on April 5, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    The sub-title of this article and the bragging rights that going to the right academy gives to the parents are right are spot on. A redistribution of the money generated by the IPL into test cricket and an uneven balance of reward in favour of test players would soon sort the wheat from the chaff.

  • Rahulbose on April 5, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    The notion of "fun", in most professional sports the fun part comes from personal ambition and career goals, the idea of professional athletes/ trainees playing with the glee of a teenager on a holiday is not realistic. As for natural style vs technique, I think it depends on the individual player. The very best in any sport are always gifted people who play their natural way. But there are also those who hone skills through years of training. So what style of coaching works for a player depends on where he/she is on the bell curve.

  • cricket-india on April 5, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    i wonder what the batting coaches of today would have said of lara's high backlift...:-)

  • Vasi-Koosi on April 6, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Right on the money!!! The only thing I was taught was how to hold the bat and how to look for frontfoot or backfoot play. We then developed ourselves a technique and I was one of the stubborn opening batsman; Once in a blue moon, we will have a coach from chennai coming and spending 2 weeks with us; he taught us various strokes and how to prepare for them. But even before that we found a way to play shots and score runs. These were pre-TV days; there were a few who would play what is called a copy book cover-drive with the elbow up; it just came naturally if we apply our minds

  • SherjilIslam on April 5, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Bingo!.Perfectly timed and represents the truth of Metros of India.But like to share some truth about small towns too:Even in small centres, the space crunch has now begun and academies are coming with paid coaching.But having said that, the coaches of small towns are still very much centred about player's overall development and delighted to see their ward doing well.

  • on April 7, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Having lived in two metros of India for over the past three years and twenty two years before that in a very nondescript sleepy town, I have observed an important difference between 'life in a metro' and 'life in a small town', and it quite aligns with Harsha's tenor here: youth from the smaller towns of India are a more positive bunch.They are not overly cynical and more important they are willing to give their time and stay patient.Maybe that comes naturally to them because life in small towns does tend to move rather slowly,and time does not just fleet by with a million things vying for your attention.They are more likely to take disappointments in their stride,to learn from it,and to get back at it, than the kids in urban centers who have a million avenues to try and have attention spans of three year olds.Cricket emulates many virtues of life;it's one of the most important charms of the sport.At the moment those virtues are more in vogue in the smaller towns of the country.

  • on April 6, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Cheers for your son Harsha for the revolutionary thought. However, one's greatest coach is one himself and his ability to learn. No matter how you are taught, the thing which matters is how you perform. In Cricket, you can have coaches to guide/teach you skills but at the end you have to deliver. There comes your ability and will power which is vital. With regards to Sachin, even Achrekar can now not help him from his current poor run...it is Sachin who has to learn from his mistakes.It's not only reflexes but shot selection. With Cricket growing and new bowlers coming in with great/innovative skills...Sachin and others will always be tested. Cricket is not about Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore......it's everywhere in India.....it was just not explored. Now with players coming in from all regions, competition has grown.....which is EXCELLENT for the growth of INDIAN CRICKET.

  • ThatsJustCricket on April 5, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Wonderful article and absolutely to the point.

  • sundaram530 on April 5, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    The fact that Mumbai does not produce that many international cricketers anymore may have nothing to do with the increase in number of cricket coaching academies. It probably has to do with better talent scouting in far flung areas of India, less prejudice from BCCI towards non-metro areas, more available money hence more overall participation, etc. After all, Kohli, the new kid on the block, is from Delhi. I don't know if he attended any academy or not, but certainly Delhi has no fewer academies than Mumbai? My point is that true talent will come out - academies or no academies.

  • on April 5, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    Its same everywhere.... whether its cricket or education or music !!!! Its same .... you want to learn cricket come to us.. you want 99%,... home tutor ... you want to be singer come to us ....its everywhere...if a person is really good at something he should be encouraged to do that ...that is not happening ... we are forced to do everything so that once we pass out we at least get a job!!!! I remember i had a friend once who was really good in maths but very poor in all other subjects...I wonder if people like him who are really good in something are allowed to pursue that than mindlessly following a curriculum we might see more of Tendulkas, Rehmans, Einsteins and S.Jobs... Who knows ..but its all fantasy..:):):P:P

  • itsthewayuplay on April 5, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    The sub-title of this article and the bragging rights that going to the right academy gives to the parents are right are spot on. A redistribution of the money generated by the IPL into test cricket and an uneven balance of reward in favour of test players would soon sort the wheat from the chaff.

  • Rahulbose on April 5, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    The notion of "fun", in most professional sports the fun part comes from personal ambition and career goals, the idea of professional athletes/ trainees playing with the glee of a teenager on a holiday is not realistic. As for natural style vs technique, I think it depends on the individual player. The very best in any sport are always gifted people who play their natural way. But there are also those who hone skills through years of training. So what style of coaching works for a player depends on where he/she is on the bell curve.

  • cricket-india on April 5, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    i wonder what the batting coaches of today would have said of lara's high backlift...:-)

  • JayanDamodaran on April 5, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    Great article! We may never see a Kapil Dev, Krish Shrikanth or Virendar Sehwag, lete alone Tendulkar in future! The mere remembrance of the emergence of Lakshmanan Sivaramakrishnan, Chetan sharma and Narendra Hirwani still gives goosebumps!

    But gone are those days and this is bound to happen. When money flows in billions and even an average cricketer gets contracts to tune of crores, what else we could expect in country like India! Each parent wants his son to make billions like Sachin or Dhoni. Yes! Huge majority of them want their sons to become batsmen, not bowlers let alone good fielders!

    This is very well timed article and if the cricket administrators and experts can sit together and choke out a strategy on how to facilitate the evolution of natural players that would be great. We can formulate guidelines for cricket academies. Academies will no doubt, flourish in this country especially after the phenomenal success of IPL!

  • Tvaranitra on April 5, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Harsha, what an article, spot on. I also recollect Laxman stating recently about his nephew talking about shoulder positions while batting etc etc versus his son hitting the ball without any inhibitions. I don't disagree with academies, but they should nurture talent not change the natural abilities of a player, subtle guidance's on how to tackle different situations, like how to effectively play a bouncer or bowl an outswinger pitching in line of the stumps to outplay a batsmen and some subtle variations. May be we may not see the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar, Vishy, Kapil, Gavaskar or even bowlers like Javagal who are so natural and yet they adapted to different situations and excelled and enthralled all of us - cricket enthusiasts. I wish these greats are actively involved in identifying the cricketing talents across India and nurture them for the future of Indian cricket. I wish and hope BCCI takes the right directions in saving Indian cricket for many generations to come.

  • rameses on April 5, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    A timely article by Harsha. With the lure of IPL most of the young cricketers want to get into the game as early as possible without realising the consequences of playing for long and that too in Test matches for India. Test matches are the real test for a cricket player to hone his skills. As Akash chopra has stated in one of his columns in Crickinfo some time back, BCCI is more interested in building more stadiums rather than good grounds for the game to grow and stay. And as rightly pointed out by Harsha, the Mumbai or other metropolis are unable to produce good cricketers ( exceptions are always there and that is with the individuals) and only in remote/semi urban areas produce good cricketers like MSD, Bhuvaneshwar kumar and so on. It is high time for parents/coaches to look beyond fast return on investments and go for the fun of the game. I played cricket in my younger days with lot of fun and we use to enjoy the game. That should be the spirit of modern cricketers.

  • ninad008 on April 5, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    "Our education system seeks to produce homogeneous masses, production lines of identical students. This reduces us to excellent followers of a particular system". Harsha, you've nailed it here!!! What a brilliant article!

  • iHitWicket on April 5, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Great article Harsha. You hit on all practical aspects without losing your touch for the sublime. This article is not just great in terms of the content but equally great writing style. Pure joy.

  • venkatesh018 on April 5, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Harsha, superb piece again.

  • on April 5, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    tendulkar is product of that system which was just emerging but 20 years on it has lost its sheen and it has failed to find real talent. every sports has a system and cricket cannot be blamed for that. the real solution is to spot talent and groove them in to future cricketers

  • Pinarsh255 on April 5, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I agree with the part that the "fun" element is missing somewhere. All these technical things at an early age may prevent the kid from enjoying the game. Let him hit the ball as far as he can, as hard as he can. What's the point of making pretty shapes, high elbow, still head if he misses the ball finally. Not everyone is going to be an international cricketer. Let him play gully cricket and enjoy the game. He will learn competitiveness, team spirit that will help him in other things life. And as you say, he might develop his own technique.

    Thank you sir for a refreshing read.

  • on April 5, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    See what Australian Academies of excellence did to Cricket. Today they have bowlers by the dozen but half of them are injured at every given time. They dont have many batsmen of good calibre who can play test cricket well.

  • on April 5, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    ah! finally an issue i wanted to be addressed, but was disappointed with its content. all indian cricket coaching centres have one thing in common: they coach the kids into becoming great batsmen and bowlers, but NEVER cricketers. a batsman is taught to move his bat and pad together, survive good bowling, but is never taught to put team before selves. and it shows on the field: you could never associate a tendulkar with the kind of team team success a ponting could be proud of.

  • aruntheselector on April 5, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Right observation Harsha.I agree lack of space is a reason.Fast paced life & priorities fails to build motivation.Best players used to come frm Mumbai/Karnataka.Cricinfo all time XI has 7 players frm these places and around 12 in the 33 shortrlisted.I grewup in Banaglore and there were number of large grounds in my locality.Vacations were spent playing 7-8 hrs and we just loved to play.Today the grounds have become commercial space/public parks/institution etc.Hence a kid has to go in search of a ground and gives no option but go to academy and rest is as what the article says and many can afford.As a result we are not seeing any new talent coming from Mumbai/B'lore.However good to see some talent in recent yrs frm Delhi.5 yrs back who would have imagined 3 Saurashtrians to play tests.Indian cricket future is small town.@US_Indian:ZAK plays for Mumbai but he's frm Srirampur in Ahmedngr and started career with Baroda.All credit to the passion & hardwork of the small town guys incl MSD.

  • RahulMankad on April 5, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Very timely piece, Harsha. About time someone tackled this issue in an open forum. The fundamental problem with academies in India that are run in metros is that there is a clear commercial angle attached to them. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but the fact is that the name player spends very little quality time with the young player. Most of the "coaching" is done by half-baked and inept people with little or no communication skills. The coach:players ratio is too high to deliver quality instruction. The best coaches are the one that leave players to develop their natural instincts and steer them in the right direction to minimise errors and inculcate sound cricketing values. Most importantly, the coaches must ensure that the players enjoy the game and play in the right spirit, regardless of ability.

  • on April 5, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    May be it is true But I don`t think Indian Academies have failed in producing Good Players .......... Now a days due to their IPL , international cricket is not a tough place for their youngsters , Their players are starting their career very beautifully as compare of others ; BK , Dhawan , Jadeja are recent examples ......... They are surviving little bit in producing fast bowlers but as their domestic is going ..... Vinay , Yadav , Bhuvneshwar are ready to stand out there for next 5 to 6 years so with such young but great batsmen , best spinners & good fast bowlers , they are rebuilding as a great & tough team in the future But the only concerning thing is management if they did it right & the way it should be so No one will able to resist them from making another WC for India :)

  • cric_options on April 5, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Harsha, A tad philosophical, but spot on with this article. But ain't it true with all forms of academics and coaching. It is a sign of the times. Some may say, late eighties with the way the society and our environment had changed, could had produced a 'Sachin', but not a 'Sobers'. We are a product of our environment. To steal from what Steve Jobs said, 'Be lean and be hungry'. A well fed Indian middle class will rule themselves off most such skills of the yesteryear's, but may be perfectly poised to make the most out of the 'poverty' and 'desires', for the next levels of achievements, hitherto, not visible to them as a 'desire'. Soon enough, an obese mind and society will start relying on creative marketing skills to survive. Cricket will go on, if not from Mumbai, then the Ranchi's of the world.

  • US_Indian on April 5, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Well Harsha you said it perfectly but one thing i differ is that you mentioned after Sachin only player of repute (international) produced by mumbai is Agarkar ( only if you consider him so because he didnt set stadiums on fire even though he excelled on a couple of occasions) but you have missed this guy called Waseem Jaffer. if Zak is from mumbai too then his name should have been mentioned and if i am wrong then its ok. Secondly i would like to quote K.Srikant's interview in a tamil weekly long time ago when he was frank, free and honest,who used to speak straight from the heart and in your face just like the way he used to play his cricket, much before he started playing politics and dancing to the tunes of the big and powerful in the administration " he said if you want raw diamonds go to the public/corporation maidans where 100 teams play in the cramped area, some with barefoot and some without proper accessories but with passion pick,polish and groom them not from the academies

  • US_Indian on April 5, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Well Harsha you said it perfectly but one thing i differ is that you mentioned after Sachin only player of repute (international) produced by mumbai is Agarkar ( only if you consider him so because he didnt set stadiums on fire even though he excelled on a couple of occasions) but you have missed this guy called Waseem Jaffer. if Zak is from mumbai too then his name should have been mentioned and if i am wrong then its ok. Secondly i would like to quote K.Srikant's interview in a tamil weekly long time ago when he was frank, free and honest,who used to speak straight from the heart and in your face just like the way he used to play his cricket, much before he started playing politics and dancing to the tunes of the big and powerful in the administration " he said if you want raw diamonds go to the public/corporation maidans where 100 teams play in the cramped area, some with barefoot and some without proper accessories but with passion pick,polish and groom them not from the academies

  • cric_options on April 5, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Harsha, A tad philosophical, but spot on with this article. But ain't it true with all forms of academics and coaching. It is a sign of the times. Some may say, late eighties with the way the society and our environment had changed, could had produced a 'Sachin', but not a 'Sobers'. We are a product of our environment. To steal from what Steve Jobs said, 'Be lean and be hungry'. A well fed Indian middle class will rule themselves off most such skills of the yesteryear's, but may be perfectly poised to make the most out of the 'poverty' and 'desires', for the next levels of achievements, hitherto, not visible to them as a 'desire'. Soon enough, an obese mind and society will start relying on creative marketing skills to survive. Cricket will go on, if not from Mumbai, then the Ranchi's of the world.

  • on April 5, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    May be it is true But I don`t think Indian Academies have failed in producing Good Players .......... Now a days due to their IPL , international cricket is not a tough place for their youngsters , Their players are starting their career very beautifully as compare of others ; BK , Dhawan , Jadeja are recent examples ......... They are surviving little bit in producing fast bowlers but as their domestic is going ..... Vinay , Yadav , Bhuvneshwar are ready to stand out there for next 5 to 6 years so with such young but great batsmen , best spinners & good fast bowlers , they are rebuilding as a great & tough team in the future But the only concerning thing is management if they did it right & the way it should be so No one will able to resist them from making another WC for India :)

  • RahulMankad on April 5, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Very timely piece, Harsha. About time someone tackled this issue in an open forum. The fundamental problem with academies in India that are run in metros is that there is a clear commercial angle attached to them. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but the fact is that the name player spends very little quality time with the young player. Most of the "coaching" is done by half-baked and inept people with little or no communication skills. The coach:players ratio is too high to deliver quality instruction. The best coaches are the one that leave players to develop their natural instincts and steer them in the right direction to minimise errors and inculcate sound cricketing values. Most importantly, the coaches must ensure that the players enjoy the game and play in the right spirit, regardless of ability.

  • aruntheselector on April 5, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Right observation Harsha.I agree lack of space is a reason.Fast paced life & priorities fails to build motivation.Best players used to come frm Mumbai/Karnataka.Cricinfo all time XI has 7 players frm these places and around 12 in the 33 shortrlisted.I grewup in Banaglore and there were number of large grounds in my locality.Vacations were spent playing 7-8 hrs and we just loved to play.Today the grounds have become commercial space/public parks/institution etc.Hence a kid has to go in search of a ground and gives no option but go to academy and rest is as what the article says and many can afford.As a result we are not seeing any new talent coming from Mumbai/B'lore.However good to see some talent in recent yrs frm Delhi.5 yrs back who would have imagined 3 Saurashtrians to play tests.Indian cricket future is small town.@US_Indian:ZAK plays for Mumbai but he's frm Srirampur in Ahmedngr and started career with Baroda.All credit to the passion & hardwork of the small town guys incl MSD.

  • on April 5, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    ah! finally an issue i wanted to be addressed, but was disappointed with its content. all indian cricket coaching centres have one thing in common: they coach the kids into becoming great batsmen and bowlers, but NEVER cricketers. a batsman is taught to move his bat and pad together, survive good bowling, but is never taught to put team before selves. and it shows on the field: you could never associate a tendulkar with the kind of team team success a ponting could be proud of.

  • on April 5, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    See what Australian Academies of excellence did to Cricket. Today they have bowlers by the dozen but half of them are injured at every given time. They dont have many batsmen of good calibre who can play test cricket well.

  • Pinarsh255 on April 5, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I agree with the part that the "fun" element is missing somewhere. All these technical things at an early age may prevent the kid from enjoying the game. Let him hit the ball as far as he can, as hard as he can. What's the point of making pretty shapes, high elbow, still head if he misses the ball finally. Not everyone is going to be an international cricketer. Let him play gully cricket and enjoy the game. He will learn competitiveness, team spirit that will help him in other things life. And as you say, he might develop his own technique.

    Thank you sir for a refreshing read.

  • on April 5, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    tendulkar is product of that system which was just emerging but 20 years on it has lost its sheen and it has failed to find real talent. every sports has a system and cricket cannot be blamed for that. the real solution is to spot talent and groove them in to future cricketers

  • venkatesh018 on April 5, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Harsha, superb piece again.