Has cricket done everything it can to attract and retain them? At risk of stereotypes, these are the kids who are most likely not to play the three football codes that compete with cricket in this country. In fact, for many, cricket is their only team sport. The skill pipeline must burst. But it is not.
Greg Chappell thinks second-generation immigrants from South Asia could easily fill three to four places on the Australian Test team with proper nutrition. However, he does not think the focus of Australian cricket is on ripening or plucking these low-yielding fruits. “These boys need to get involved in clubs and on the other hand the social system needs to catch up with them,” Chappell said. “But are they under-represented? Do clubs welcome them and understand their needs?
His questions are valid. Diversity and inclusion is not in vain until it is truly reflected in both our cricket boardrooms and teams. Most of them are still male, pale and old.
One of the most talented cricketers of Indian ethnic talent, I followed his career closely and was amazed at the pattern of behavior he encountered in the game of grade cricket and the culture around it. He instead studied school cricket and eventually became a doctor. You hope this is just a ridiculous anomaly.
Neil de Costa, who coached and coached West Sydney coaches Michael Clarke, Phil Hughes and Marnus Labuchen, said his academy has many children from sub-continental backgrounds. Being an Indian and coaching a western team in the West Indies, De Costa was well aware of the problem but rarely did the cricket administrators take them to the next level.
“We have very few administrators who understand our game, our game culture and the ins and outs of our game,” he said. It’s good to have people who are interested in the sport, but it’s important to have people who have gone from zero to hero, ”Costa said.
Former Test captain Steve Waugh believes there will be a handful of South Asian-origin cricketers in the men’s national team in the next five to ten years. He has seen good participation from these communities for junior cricket in western Sydney and feels that one or two exemplary characters are doing a miracle in encouraging thousands more.
“It shouldn’t be so hard, they’re really enslaved by strict families who love cricket. SCG and MCG feel like a home tour of Indian cricket teams and there is a white ball game at any time so those capabilities can definitely be utilized, ”he said.
Ian Chappell says that we have awakened to the remarkable athletic prowess of our indigenous community and that by nurturing them thoughtfully and patiently it will give us outstanding cricketers.
Therefore, the priority of the next CA President and CA Board should be to: Find and develop talented and competitive cricketers from communities currently not represented.
One more thing: I am amazed at not only the underestimation of the quality and gravity required for our representation in the ICC but also our complete disregard for our most valuable cricketers, India and England.
We do not want to send delights or partners to Dubai, Mumbai and London. Around the table we are honored that our team is a box office draw and that our agent is a clear, honest person with extensive cricket knowledge and connections. Building relationships is just as important as survival. Frequent employee changes cannot help our goal. Of course, we should know all of this, but it seems that it does not help to dampen our desires.
Finally a question: should the CA’s annual general meeting be held at the end of our cricket season and not at the beginning? Bleeding and surgery can all occur, leaving some time to heal. Instead, we are here to acknowledge our oldest cricketing enemy with raw and innumerable wounds. Fortunately, they have leveled the competition because their administration is also chaotic!
Darshak Mehta is the Chairman of the Chapel Foundation. A businessman, investor and philanthropist, he was an informal advisor to the Australian cricket team on three trips to India.
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