In 2013, the year he bid adieu to cricket, Sachin Tendulkar suggested a revolutionary 15-player-a-side concept. Tendulkar had suggested that inter-schools and inter-college games should be a 15-player affair. Although only 11 players will take the field, the players on the bench too will get a chance to bat or bowl in the playing XI, depending upon the captain’s call.
Three years later, the plan is set to be implemented in Mumbai’s inter-school cricket (Harris and Giles Shield) this season. The plan has been given a nod from the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA).
Haryana Cricket Association were the first to implement it while the MCA introduced it earlier this year in an U-12 selection trial matches.
“It is a positive move for Mumbai cricket. This should have happened earlier though,” Tendulkar told Hindustan Times on Saturday.
With around 300 schools expected to participate in the tournament, the legendary Indian batsman estimated approximately 1800 more school cricketers to benefit from it. “Six more players will now get an opportunity in every game. That’s going to be incredible. It is all about encouragement. If the boys are missing their school and leaving academics to play cricket then they should be either bowling or batting. Otherwise they would be wasting their time. Now, all the 15 players in the team will have some performance to share with their neighbours. The whole idea is to encourage them by creating more opportunities,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar is confident that the 15-player concept will lift the standards of the game. “A batsman will get a variety of bowlers to face (as the captain can call-up anyone from the squad). Similarly for a bowler, all his wickets would be of a proper batsman,” said Tendulkar.
MSSA cricket secretary Nadim Memon will call for a meeting of school coaches a week before the tournaments begin in November to explain the rules. “Whatever Sachin thinks for cricket will always be for the betterment of it. We should wholeheartedly support it,” said Memon.