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In-Depth Jobs

Volume 2, 2017

Cricket As a Career

Shreeprakash Sharma

The engaging scene of boys  playing cricket with improvised kits, on the roughly prepared and unsophisticated pitches of farms and meadows of the countryside and in the blind alleys of the highly congested towns and cities are very much common and one of the favourite pastimes in the country like ours where halo and magic of cricketers rules so much in the hearts of billions of people that players are considered as super models and cricket matches invoke very enthusiastic response.
Also more common is the enthralling scenario of the frantic and maddening crowd clapping, jumping, shouting, frolicking and dancing at each 4s and 6s which are hit by their favourite celebrity players on the 22-yard-long pitch of what we all call as the game of gentlemen. But unfortunately what is most uncommon is the enlightenment of thousands of those youths who since their childhood have been dreaming and dying for playing for their country and making career in the sport which has virtually become a craze among the teenagers from rural and urban areas alike and which has also been established as an insignia of national pride of the largest democracy on the earth.
The history of cricket in India is as old as the saga of freedom struggle of the country. The colonial period in India witnessed the growth of this foreign-but-now-most-popular-game of cricket. Cricket is said to be brought in India by the European merchant sailors during the 18th century and erstwhile Calcutta is credited with establishment of the first ever cricket club in 1792 and yet India succeeded  in playing its first Test match only in 1932 at Lord’s in London. From the period of 1970s the cricket in India witnessed an unprecedented surge with the introduction of stalwarts like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapildeo, Ravi Shastri, Gundappa Vishwanath, K. Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, Dilip Vengsarkar and many others among the galaxy of the cricketers.
What do you require most to be a Cricketer?
In the present age of the cut-throat-competition, a career in cricket and the success as a cricket player are fraught with challenges. To survive and succeed in this war-like situation, which is so fiercely fought, the prospective cricket players must have the following professional qualities to survive and sustain the glory and charisma of the sport -
*They must be very good sportsmen and natural athletes, and most importantly, hard working and with never - say- die attitude.
*Adaptability to accept odd circumstances of international cricket like those of culture, cuisine, creed, language, weather, unfavourable audiences and fan followers of the foreign countries.
*The aspirants must possess very good functional fitness to freely bring about flexibility in the various organs of the body.
*Cricket is a dynamic sport where the players are expected to bowl, bat and field for hours and for the perfection of which what you need most is the very good physical fitness and mental stoicism.
*Excellent skill in athleticism, fitness, attitude, batting, bowling and fielding.
*The aspiring player must be excellent in these eight segments of cricket - athleticism, fitness, skill to brave the tense circumstances, fielding, running between the wickets, bowling in the danger zone, dealing with balls accurately to duck being out and, most importantly, perspicacity of taking on - the - spot – decision.
*An aspirant must be punctual and indomitably determined to reach out to one’s goal.
*Must possess talent in one or all the three aspects of cricket- bowling, batting and fielding.
*Stoic personality who braves the defeat as naturally as possible. What it does mean that he must be very courageous and sportsman of never-give-up attitude.
*Must have willingness and natural interest to travel across the nations of the world for playing tournaments and series of the matches.
*Must have flexibility to live apart from the family and friends for a long time. Nostalgic feelings ruin the performance of the players.
*And, last but not the least; he must have a very good emotional bonding with his family and good financial background to live the life peacefully and comfortably even if not selected for a particular series, tournament, championship or national or international visit.
You must know
All the important international cricket formats are grouped into the following three categories-
1.International Test Matches
2.One Day International Matches, and
3T 20 International Matches
The domestic cricket consists of the following formats of cricket matches:
1. First Class.
2. List A, and
3. T20 Matches
How much can you get?
The fast sweeping wave of globalization and liberalization of 1990s has brought a string of radical changes in the way cricket matches are played today and the cricket players are paid. Gone are the days when the cricket players were not paid handsomely and the facilities were not so fabulous. In the post-reformed era of today, cricket players have proved to be no less than a global icon whose social status and personal fame are nowhere less than that of superstars of the Bollywood and Hollywood.
The BCCI has divided the players into three categories of A, B and C from the salary structure point of view and the parameters of which make the stint of experience and last year’s performance in the matches played by an individual player. The ranking of the players lasts for one year and if any debutant joins in between the year he is kept in the grade C.
The BCCI consists of two-tier of selectors -
1. All India Senior Selection Committee
The responsibilities of this committee include selection of teams for all the international matches like those of Test Matches, One Day International (ODI) Matches and T20 International Matches. It also selects the players for the India A teams. Players for the teams like those of President’s XI OR BCCI XI are also selected by this committee. The President’s XI team plays cricket matches with international cricket teams which visit the country.
2. All India Junior Selection Committee
This team selects players for the formation of the following teams-
*Under-19 Cricket
*Under-17 Cricket
*Under-15 Cricket
The BCCI consists of 5 members who are selected from each zone i.e. North Zone, Central Zone, West Zone, East Zone and South Zone.
How to become a successful, big hitter and star cricketer?
Unlike other professions, the career in cricket is not a bed of roses – it is full of challenges. The aspiring players must be hundred percent dedicated to cricket. He must stay focussed on the game. A promising and prospective cricket player must eat, drink, sleep and live cricket.
Have you ever imagined what chemistry functions behind the mettle of a batsman when he scores a number of 4s and 6s and ends up mounting the score of single and double century? Obviously the answer is so much easy - the hard and consistent labour to excel at cricket. And nothing else.
Sometimes, it is easy to get entry into the cricket world but very hard to survive there because the audiences’ craze and fans’ expectations run so wild that once you fail to rise to their expectations they do not take much time to disapprove your performance. This game can earn one bouquets as well as brickbats. So the task of a cricket player is not so much easier as easy as we sometime feel.
Therefore for  a big and much-wished success and long-survival in the arena of cricket an aspiring youngster must take into the consideration the following points very seriously, scrupulously  and sincerely -
Opportunities are not the same
It is a bitter fact that urban youth have more opportunities to become  successful cricketers vis-a-vis that of rural boys. The youth from towns and cities have more facilities and exposure and as a result they can very easily get enrolled with the cricket association and get trained in the academy run by it. Moreover, the urban candidates have access to a number of cricket clubs and private cricket coaching institutes. But it does not mean that rural people do not have any chance to be a star cricketer. The rural aspirants have more time and better concentration to devote to their favourite play of cricket.
You need to be an all-rounder to dovetail yourself in any position
The world scenario of cricket has undergone a host of drastic changes over the past decade. This is the world where the Charles Darwin’s famous theory of ‘Survival of the fittest’ applies so aptly. Not only this, the present world of cricket is also the world where the chances of survival of an all-rounder cricketer exist more than anything else.
You need to hone yourself to fit in all roles of the sport of cricket like those of bawling, batting and fielding. If you fail once to score a fifty or century... no problem, you can considerably lead your team to victory by preventing every fast speeding ball coming from the bat from going to boundary and across the boundary. You may not take a single wicket on a certain day—-. You can prove your inevitability in the team by scoring a few much-needed runs to see your team win the match. Hence, be proficient in all the segments of the cricket to prove your meaningfulness in cricket..
Have indomitable faith in yourself?
You must have got bewildered and angered having found your star cricket players standing on the crease and failing to score even a single from a score of balls bowled to him. But the reality on the crease is so bizarrely different from the cosy seats of the stadium from where the audiences watch their heroes play the cricket.
The bottom line is that cricket requires a very high level of courage and patience to brave the adverse situation in and out of the stadium. Not only this, you also need to be very patient when you fail to make it to the national list of the players despite your hard labour, sincere effort and sole dedication. Keep playing  the matches which will ultimately perfect you in it. Besides, you need to be mentally very strong. Keep yourself away from negative comments and criticisms which are so natural when your fans expect so much from you and dream so earnestly to become like you.
Cricket is the game of hard labour, perfect skills, absolute dedication, unyielding commitment, unendurable pain and heavy perspiration. There is equal share of pain and prize, red carpet and red faces of your die-hard fans, money and magic of luck, love, laurels and a lot of other things beyond the control of the players. There is no short-cut to success and survival in this game of instant success, fame, name and fortune. 
Success here means sacrifice, life-long struggle and hard labour. So, wasting time on looking for some Godfather to push you forward in this game of fierce competition and immense wealth is not wise. For the sustainability and longevity in this sport of uncertainty, there is only one time-tested rule of success which the would-be cricketer must not afford to forget, “Look always to your laurels rather than sitting on your laurels.”
(Shreeprakash Sharma teaches at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Birauli, District - Samastipur (Bihar) - 848113) e-mail :  spsharma.rishu@gmail.com Views expressed are personal.
 Image: Courtesy Google