Age fraud seriously detrimental to health of Indian cricket: Rahul Dravid
- Dravid has formulated strict rules whereby a cricketer can play only in one under-19 World Cup.
- Dravid implored the various cricketers present to remember why they started playing the game.
- Dravid exhorted all cricketers to remember and cherish the friendships in office cricket before they come in the limelight.
He was the first non-wicketkeeper to pouch 200 plus Test catches. He also faced 31,258 balls, the most by any player in Tests. "That though in today's world is not a virtue," he felt and said "Viru (Sehwag) always reminded me about it."
However, on Friday, as he donned the role of the Chief Guest at the Prize Distribution Ceremony of the 89th edition of the Times Cricket Shield sponsored by Sharp, at the sprawling BKC MCA lounge here, he felt that his resume still had a hole.
"The Times Shield, for all of us outside Mumbai, was a tournament that players looked at with a lot of envy. Among the many things I have achieved, I would have loved to add playing in The Times Shield to them," Dravid said and revealed that former India batsman and Karnataka skipper, Brijesh Patel, who played in the Premier Corporate Tournament also advised him to play in Mumbai to complete his cricketing education.
"However, as a young boy, I preferred being closer to home and instead played in the Chennai league," he said before praising The Times Shield for being the benchmark for other corporate tournaments in India and the world.
After speaking on loyalty to the company that hires you to play cricket, Dravid addressed the far more important issue of age fraud in Indian junior cricket.
As a former under-19 coach, Dravid, who is currently the director At National Cricket Academy, has formulated strict rules whereby a cricketer can play only in one under-19 World Cup.
"It is up to the maidan secretaries, the owners of the office teams, the club teams to ensure that this does not happen," Dravid exhorted and commended Prof Ratnakar Shetty, former Chief Administrative Officer of the Board, who was on the dias as a member of Times Cricket Shield technical committee, for working hard to eliminate it. Calling age fraud as "seriously detrimental" to the health of Indian cricket, Dravid stressed that a lot of state teams who flout age rules end up not being successful at the senior level.
"Age fraud leads to an erosion of culture," Dravid said. "It leads to a scenario where a lot of talented boys don't get to play, when they should actually be playing," he added and said it is up to the state bodies to ensure a more holistic approach when it comes to dealing with junior cricket.
In his 15-minute speech, Dravid also implored the various cricketers present to remember why they started playing the game. "Not everyone of you will go on to play Ranji Trophy or for India or get an IPL contract. But don't let selection come in the way of your enjoyment. If you are always worried about your next selection, you will never enjoy the game."
The former India skipper and U-19 World Cup winning coach exhorted all cricketers to remember and cherish the friendships in office cricket before they come in the limelight.
Apart from Shetty, the event was also graced by Unmesh Khanvilkar MCA Jt Secretary, MCA CEO CS Naik. Rohit Gopakumar, Chairman Times Cricket Shield and R Venkata Kesavan Hon Secretary Times Cricket Shield, conducted the welcome address and vote of thanks.