Ravi Shastri has been at the helm of affairs in Indian cricket for long time, first on the field, then with his commentary and then as the Team Director. He is someone who has seen Indian Cricket sprout and become the huge phenomenon that it is today. So, when you see him talk about BCCI and its methods, you know he’ll talk sense because he has seen it all through.
Shastri has lauded BCCIs efforts in providing players with world class facilities and having the right system is place from the start to help nurture the game and everyone involved in it. He feels other boards to take cues from the BCCI and if they follow suit, India could produce world champions in every sport.
“If you want to cut and paste something out of cricket into other sports it is very simple. Ask this question to the youngster who is training to become an Olympic champion: Is he or she getting the same facility as a player from overseas. In cricket, I don’t care what Australia has, what England has, India is up there 90 per cent, so they might have that 10 per cent extra,” Shastri said at the FICCI Frames in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“But I want to see other sports (up there). Is the gap only 10 per cent? I would say it is 70 per cent. So give those facilities to the youngsters and have the right people watching them like a hawk and you will see results”
He feels that Television broadcasting brought in a lot of cash into cricket, something which helped increase players salaries and that filled BCCIs pockets so as to help them invest more in developing world class facilities for players.
“The system (that BCCI) has is as good as any in the world if not the best. There is an opportunity with the money coming in through television. You are getting more and more facilities for people who did not have facilities like in Ranchi, Visakhapatnam, Dharamsala, Rajkot.”
“For a guy in Rajkot to become big, you don’t have to go to Ahmedabad or Baroda to play a game, even though Saurashtra had the odd ground. What television has done is, it has taken the game into the drawing rooms where people are being educated about the game”
“BCCI were a fantastic body. You would not have had the Tendulkars, the Gavaskars, the Kapil Devs or Ravi Shastri without them being a good body. If you have got a professional body running, the focus is on delivering champions and giving them the best of the facilities, then you can (be good at other sports).”
“Could you have imagined Ranchi staging a Test match or Rajkot having a cricket ground? You are taking the sport into the tier II towns, the tier III towns and making people believe and giving them the facility to play the sport at the highest level,” he said.
Shastri has emphasised on the point that all sports in India need to look for broadcasters, because TV is the fastest way to reach households in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, where people might not be even aware of that particular sport. Money coming into the system is of paramount importance, because only then will budding players not have to look for alternate job opportunities to sustain themselves and can fully concentrate on their game.
Also, with money comes in technology, which helps the broadcasters provide the viewers with a better viewing experience, something that is very essential in attracting people towards the game.
“It has just helped the game spread and the grassroot level is now getting the attention. That is where you need professionals to make sure the money is spent well where you produce champions,” he said.
If other boards can emulate BCCIs initial system and how over the years they have emerged as the richest cricket board in the world, it will surely help aspiring atheltes to become world beaters.