Casting their votes in support of the Punjab Cricket Association’s (PCA) decision to control the influence of T20 cricket on youngsters, experts feel a similar system should be in place across the country to ensure complete development of players so that they can succeed at the highest level.
“Somebody has to take a call and the PCA has taken the lead,” said 1983 World Cup hero Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who is also a member of the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Cricket Improvement Committee. “The IPL has changed the attitude and goals of young cricketers. The only thing they want now is an IPL contract and, in the process, we are not producing skilful cricketers, who can play the longer format of the game,” he averred.
Sandhu suggested that the under-22 players, who have not played at least 15-20 first-class matches, should not be given IPL contracts. He was also wary of the standard of Ranji Trophy matches. “Things are seriously wrong with Indian cricket. We need to improve it for a better future,” he said, pointing to the lack of quality bench strength to replace the ageing players.
The BCCI’s batting academy head coach, Lalchand Rajput, also lent his voice in support of the PCA’s decision. “We don’t organise any T20 event in Mumbai for u-19 and u-16 players. I can’t say about u-22 players but players below 19 should not play T20 cricket. It’s MCA’s turn to carry PCA's initiative forward.”
However, Deccan Chargers official, Venkatram Reddy, held PCA’s decision an internal issue between the BCCI and state association. “The BCCI will sort it out,” he said. BCCI officials could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.