Back in the day when Lalit Modi was ruling not just the Rajasthan Cricket Association but was ‘Super Chief Minister’ for the whole state, one of his initiatives was to develop local cricket talent in the state.
True to his style, it was not local talent he relied on, but the more high profile services of Greg Chappell, who was invited to set up an academy in Jaipur designed to find, train and hone talented young cricketers from the region. As this story I did at the time should indicate, Chappell brought his trademark theories to the job — but apparently forgot that in the final analysis it is about human beings not chalkboard theories, about empathy not impatience…
Those thoughts occurred while reading Aakash Chopra’s quick take on why Rajasthan went from the absolute bottom to the very top of the domestic table. Relevant clip:
The emergence of Chahar and Menaria isn’t a mere coincidence either. Chahar was ignored by Greg Chappell and it was Sinha who brought him back into the fold. Menaria’s season was as good as over after his groin injury, but RCA didn’t leave any stone unturned to get him up and running in double-quick time.
From the Indian Express, this on the RCA’s talent director Tarak Sinha:
It was Sinha who had spotted Chahar in the district of Hanumangad during the RCA’s state-wide ‘talent search programme.’ “Here was an extremely talented fast bowler who almost ended up being wasted. We just had to iron out a few flaws after which he was a complete product,” explains Sinha.
Aakash’s piece is a mini primer on how a state association serious about developing the game can — should — function.
Rajasthan had identified both its personnel and their roles way back in August while most teams were not even thinking about the season yet. You would be surprised that the squad which defeated Vadodara in the Ranji finals is almost identical to the one which played in the Buchi Babu tournament in August. This shows consistency in the selection process which not only provides continuity but also stability. Due credit should be given to president C P Joshi, who allowed things to run its course and never interfered.