The glitz and glamor of a successful cricket career draw thousands of youngsters into taking up the sport, however, not all of them go on to get the money and fame like a handful of players, who have managed to get a good IPL deal or play for India.
In today’s India, sports as a career and particularly cricket has become a reality with parents pushing their children to take up sports. However, when the success doesn’t come, the dropout rate becomes higher and the Indian board is mulling to come up with a plan to help cricketers get jobs outside cricket.
The idea was first put forth by former India captain and current U19 and India A coach Rahul Dravid. He emphasized the need to enhance the life skills of young cricketers outside of the sport. Dravid pointed out that with the cutthroat competition in cricket, youngsters don’t get enough time to focus on education or developing other skills and often the promise of riches prove to be a mirage.
Recognizing the immediacy of his suggestions, the National Cricket Academy (NCA) COO Tufan Ghosh and the board officials are working on a structure to give this idea on imparting life education a shape.
"Dravid and the other coaches here had pointed out the need to start such a process. We are working towards formulating a structure before it is sent to the higher authorities in BCCI to get things going," Ghosh told TOI.
BCCI is taking a leaf from a similar system at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala where trainee athletes complete their primary education through open school examinations. "Right now, we can't be teaching them like what happens in NIS, but Dravid has emphasized on life education," said Ghosh.
As a start, the board will be targeting players between the age of 17 and 21 for vocational training.
"Most of the cricketers these days are so engrossed in playing the game that they don't look at any other aspect of life. It has been observed a lot of these young players quit cricket by 21. Then it's a struggle for them to lead a stable life. We are looking at life coaching, internships with companies and training in other vocational courses and then facilitating jobs for the youngsters," said Ghosh.
Despite knowing that there are obvious logistical issues in spreading this concept, NCA has high hopes. Ghosh said, "We will try to align the state bodies and academies. And if the players from various state bodies feel the need to avail this facility then they can do that easily. We are looking at roping in a good number of companies."
Rahul Dravid has started doing his bit with devoting time in helping the wards developing their personalities by holding sessions. Before the last two U-19 World Cups, lectures were organized on various aspects. Psychologists were brought in to speak to the players along with workshops on building roles of responsibility. These lectures are already part of the NCA curriculum.
(with inputs from cricbuzz.com/TOI)