Rahul Dravid suggested the BCCI to formulate a blueprint for the junior cricket and opined that, it was imperative to remove age fudging and illegal bowling action at the level for the development of Indian cricket.
Dravid opined that, age fudging and the coaches ability to correct the wrong bowling action, had a detrimental affect on cricket in the country
Speaking about the issue at MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture, Dravid said, “I think of this overage business as dangerous and even toxic and to me gives rise to a question: If a child sees his parents and coaches cheating and creating a fake birth certificate, will he not be encouraged to become a cheat? He is being taught to lie by his own elders.”
“At 14 it may be in the matter of the age criteria, at 25 it may be fixing and corruption. How are the two different in any way? In both cases, is it not blatant cheating?
“When I hear about some under-19 bowlers being reported for a suspect action, it upsets me deeply. What were the coaches doing until the boy got to that age - 17-18-19? Did his faulty action begin at the age of 10 years old, because his coach had him bowl the full 22 yards? Then as he grew up did his next bunch of coaches just let it go because the boy kept getting wickets and winning tournaments?,” Dravid said.
“So, at 19, when an eager, hard-working boy could have played the junior World Cup, he is left trying to correct his action instead. Did this collection of short-term goals achieved through short-cuts hurt the child because as adults we turned a blind eye?” Dravid said.
Dravid further spoke at length on the issues pertaining to junior level, saying that, he is now getting a first hand feel of junior cricket, after being appointed as the under-19 cricket team coach.
Both the Indian and South African cricket teams, top BCCI officials and a host of dignitaries were present at the event, which was also graced by the late Pataudi's wife Sharmila Tagore.
Talking about the issue of suspected bowling action, Dravid said: "Like the issue of bowling actions, it is a similar emphasis on short-term results that has led to the scourge of overage players in junior matches. That entire exercise begins when a coach alters a player's date of birth so that he can take part in a local tournament. The parents are happy to accept the value of an extra year or two, particularly in junior cricket and, academically at middle school.”
By Phani Ch