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'Future of cricket in small towns'

Team India coach Greg Chappell said it would be better to tap talent in remote areas rather than spend millions on cricket academies.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 17:07 IST

Team Indiacoach Greg Chappell has predicted that the country's future cricketers will come not from metros and big cities like in the past but from non-traditional small towns.

Stressing the need for identifying talent and investing in developing them, Chappell also advocated "setting up club structures" that would nurture youngsters who would help India keep pace with world cricket.

"It's a great trend. That's where (small towns) the future champions are going to come from. They are not going to come from the metros, the big metros, like they have in the past," Chappell told.

"They will come from the outlying areas because the guys like (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni, (Irfan) Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao - all these are coming from the areas that haven't been considered traditional cricket areas," he said.

Dhoni belongs to Ranchi, Jharkhand, Pathan is from Vadodara, Gujarat, RP Singh was born in the Uttar Pradesh district of Barabanki and grew up in Rae Bareli, and Rao is from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

There are others small-town players like young leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (from Aligarh) and left-handed batsman Suresh Raina (Ghaziabad) who have made it to the Indian Test team for the first Test against England starting in Nagpur On Wednesday.

"It's got to be good for the future of the Indian cricket," Chappell said recently.

The former Australia captain also hinted that it would better to tap talent in remote areas rather than spend millions of rupees on academies, as the Indian cricket board is doing.

"There's a lesson to be learnt there -- it's not necessarily about spending a lot of money on academies, but getting into areas that haven't been tapped before or that have started to throw up players now and seeing what is causing these young players to come from these areas," he explained.

Chappell, 57, gave his own example of how he grew up in an environment that had cricket in the air. His grandfather Victor Richardson and two brothers, Ian and Trevor, played Test cricket.

"From my past experience, it's about the environment they grow up and learning to play the game rather than being taught to play it," he stressed.

"There's a lot that Indian cricket can do in the development area or in the talent identification area. That will be good for the Indian cricket and it will make Indian cricket stronger."

Chappell, who took over as coach in May last year, seemed to suggest that the board change its ways of working vis-à-vis the identification of talent.

"In this day and age it is not appropriate to sit back and wait for an ad hoc system to throw up the players you need. You need to identify the areas that are likely to throw them up and then put in some investment into those areas; setting up club structures that will nurture the young players that will come through," he said.

"That's an area we will need to get better in if we are to keep pace with the world."

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 16:56 IST