Sandeep Patil: BCCI Must Award Contracts to Shaw, Agarwal & Others
The BCCI’s list of centrally contracted Indian cricketers for 2018/19 has been met with a few raised eyebrows.
The idea of a contract system, awarded to senior and junior players alike, is something we could never have dreamed of. The recognition and incentive accorded to the present Indian crop is something we couldn’t have thought of in our wildest imagination.
But cricket has changed with time, and it has changed for good – and nobody from our generation has any complaint with the BCCI’s central contract scheme.
In fact, hats off to the BCCI, and the think-tank behind the system, for providing our cricketers not just an incentive, but also an assurance.
It has only been beneficial to the players; it has driven them to lifting their standards and improving their performances.
Both have started their international career positively. yet neither finds a contract in his hand.
In my opinion, it is essential to recognise the talent of India’s bench strength. I say this out of having been part of the process myself – when together with the BCCI establishment of the time, I was involved in awarding central contracts not only to established stars, but also the players who were trying to cement their spots in the Indian team.
The idea worked well, and no questions were raised during my tenure of four years.
The guys who form today’s Indian team were the bench strength from six years ago, players on whom we had kept a keen eye in the domestic circuit.
One must look at the broader picture; those responsible for the decision need to show more faith and confidence in players.
I wonder whether the selectors have done real justice in drawing up their list.
Rishabh Pant has emerged as the blue-eyed boy, it appears – but Prithvi Shaw hit a hundred on Test debut, and it seemingly went unnoticed. Not too long ago, Karun Nair hit a triple century – but that seems forgotten too.
One way or the other, corrections should be made immediately. As I said earlier, the whole idea behind this contract system is to encourage players, to provide assurances to them – not to discourage them.
It’s great that the top-performing cricketers can now slot into the A+ category, but for a player to lose a contract after performing well is wrong, and I hope the BCCI takes note.