Rahul Dravid, Coach of the U-19 Indian team, has lauded BCCI’s decision to place caps on the number of junior World Cups. Speaking to PTI, the legendary batsman believed that the major issue of age-fudging will be limited as a consequence.
Earlier, the cricket authorities in the country had introduced a radical resolution which prohibited Indian players from participating in multiple U-19 World Cups even if they are well below the stipulated age.
Dravid felt, “Being allowed to play only one U-19 World Cup will mean people are less motivated to alter the age. Honestly, U-19 cricket should be more about exposure and less about results.The focus should be on giving more youngsters an opportunity to play rather than on winning. And that's what this new rule will result in. The long term results of this step will far outweigh the potential loss of results in the short term.”
He added, “Really glad that the BCCI is taking some steps to try to address the overage issue. There is no quick fix to it but at least a step in the right direction has been taken. The age fudging issue is a major problem and I see it having an adverse impact on the development of cricketers and the continued participation of more deserving people in the game.”
The present day cricketers who have played more than one U-19 World Cup in their respective careers include Ravindra Jadeja and Sandeep Sharma. Some key members of the Indian side in the 2016 edition such as Sarfaraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan had taken part in the preceding tournament as well.
‘2 years of U-19 cricket enough to progress to the next level’
One of the reasons behind this move was to tackle the prevalent problem of age-fudging in Indian cricket which plagues other sub-continental nations like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh too.
Dravid shed more light on the matter by noting, “Another practice that is prevalent is people getting young kids at 10-12 to change schools and obtain new birth certificates. Unfortunately, I have heard that getting a new birth certificate isn't too hard. The BCCI needs to make a rule that birth certificates are eligible only if they are dated within two years of the child's birth.”
The legendary batsman admitted, “We might miss out on a few authentic guys who for some reason haven't been able to obtain a birth certificate. But, it will be a strong deterrent to the many wrongdoers and will make age group cricket a much fairer reflection of talent. Cricketers at that level, if they are good enough, two years of U-19 cricket should be enough for them to graduate to the next level.”
He also wanted the U-19 circuit to focus more on the longer format rather than restricting the attention to ICC tournaments alone. More importantly, overseas tours should be arranged to acclimatise them to the rigours of international cricket.
The former Indian skipper hoped, “Having more kids tour overseas will mean more future first class cricketers would have experienced playing in different conditions and that will certainly help in improving domestic cricket as well. Apart from the cricket, it will give a chance for more youngsters to experience other cultures which will aid their overall development.”Published 30 Jun 2016, 19:31 IST