Former India captain and current ‘A’ team coach Rahul Dravid has urged that overreaction to some recent controversies that have caused a massive storm in Indian cricket should be avoided.
“It is not that players did not make mistakes in the past,” Dravid told The Hindu. “It is not that mistakes will not be made in the future despite our best efforts to educate the youth. But let us not overreact please.”
Comments made by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on a TV talk show recently forced BCCI to suspend both the players and an incident involving an Under-16 cricketer from Mumbai indulging in an obscene act in the dressing room also came to light. In light of these incidents, the Indian cricket board, with help of some former players, are planning to organise sessions to educate young and grooming players about how to conduct themselves both on and off the field.
“This has been my concern and, in fact recommendation, for youngsters in the game,” said CoA chairman Vinod Rai. “I have already started the process for the same. We will start in the NCA (National Cricket Academy) with all players U-23 – all categories.
“We will also take it forward with the senior team in the window that we can get within their commitments. Saba Karim is already in touch with Rahul Dravid for guidance and I am hoping we can rope in Anil Kumble also. Both being in Bengaluru is a tremendous advantage.”
Board Cricket Operations Manager Saba Karim also confirmed the development, saying: “There are certain things within our control. Some are not. At various stages we organise lectures for the youngsters on handling the media, understanding the laws, managing the finances. Dravid does it on a regular basis. It is an ever-evolving process of workshops on gender sensitisation for players and officials."
Dravid said they can mentor young players at NCA, but the outcome will also be influenced by how they are being trained at various levels.
“Before the last two under-19 World Cups we did have lectures on various aspects,” he said. “We brought in psychologists to speak to the players. We had workshops on building roles of responsibility. These lectures are also part of the NCA already.
“We need to keep refining and keep getting better. We can only try to ensure but we are not in a position to completely take charge or be responsible for every action of the player. We can look to be meaningful and impactful in grooming them at the NCA. This training has to be done at various levels, from homes to schools and then the dressing room at the state level.
“Players come from different teams and their roles of responsibility need to be addressed. Issues will always be there and we have to educate and guide then. They should be told they can’t abuse the system. I learnt from watching seniors in Karnataka, from parents and coaches. They were my role models. No one sat me down and gave me a lecture. I observed and learnt.
“The best learning process happens in the dressing room from your seniors. But we should not overreact. People forget in the past also incidents have happened.
“Today it gets highlighted more but I agree we need to keep mentoring them, educating them because challenges today are different on and off the field. They have to remember their responsibilities as Indian cricketers. It can’t be everything was great earlier and everything is bad today.”