Thursday, November 24, 2022

An Interesting Conversation With a Young Cricketer's Father

I met a father of a young cricketer from Hyderabad the other day. He told me he got a call from one Mr F. He identified himself and spoke very pleasantly about the boy. He then told the father that the selection for the under 14 was coming up for the state team. The boy's father said he was aware. However only 5 league matches had happened till now (normally most of the season would be over by November) so the father was concerned about how the selectors would select the team - how they would see his boy and his performance.

Mr F said that was not a problem. There was a simple way - pay 2 lakh and the boy will be in the probables. Pay 5 lakh and the boy will play in the XI - guaranteed. The father was taken aback. F said is they did not want to play (pay and play) they better go some other place  because unfortunately things work like this only here.

Assuming there are 5 matches that the state team plays and assuming some 10-15 boys pay up to play in the XI, that's 50-75 lakh collected as selection money. And assuming some 101-5 kids pay 2 lakh to be in the probables (why would they want to be I wonder), that's another 20-30 lakh. And god knows who F is and how it all works.

Play three kids in one match, drop three, and play three more the next, and so on. The team will keep changing, may win some, lose some. But promises will be honored and every one (who pays) gets a chance. 

Some can, so they pay. Some cannot so they give up. Some probably take loans or sell houses, I heard of one fellow, son of a coach, who told a couple of parents that he will make the boys play IPL and collected 15 lakh each from the parents. Then obviously he could not get them to play so he said they should be patient. And he has paid the right people and if they file a complaint their kids will never play. The parents are obviously worried and 15 lakh short. The kids waiting in hope. Some kids pressure their parents to do the obvious because they have seen their friends do that. The parents are under pressure to keep the kids happy so they find the money somehow.

If this is true (and its pretty much an open secret) then one can understand why one would not conduct league matches because then performances will not come into the equation. All one needs to do is pay. Normally league matches began in June-July and at least 10-12 games were done by November, apart form Inter schools or one knock out tournament so the selectors can see enough performances. 

But now, this year the 3-day and 2-day have apparently not played a single game and the 1 day teams have played 4-5 games. How does one select a team like this?  

And for all this talk of women cricketers and pay parity etc they do not have a league. For all this money that is spent, women cricketers have no league. There is no school's league or Inter college league. It is amazing how these things are being turned a blind eye to - all BCCI has to do is check whether certain basic things are being followed - leagues, schools and colleges -  etc. 

I hear about parents buying league teams (a team now costs 1.5 cr), parents setting up academies, trying to get some agency to get their kids to play - one way or another. Right now it looks like most ways are being shut and there appears to be only one way. 

Boy, am I glad I am done with my playing days.               

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