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15-a-side can raise talent pool: Sachin

Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, on Tuesday, suggested that Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) can improve its talent pool by making its inter-college and inter-school competitions a 15-player affair.

“How can Mumbai cricket step ahead of the opposition? My brother and I were chatting about that, casually, one day at home. I thought this would be the best forum to give MCA that suggestion,” Sachin said after being felicitated by the MCA, here.

“When we have the inter-school and inter-college matches, we can take 15 players instead of a 11-member team in them. It can raise talent pool. The boy who leaves his home everyday to play a match with a hope that he will do something, a lot of times he doesn’t know whether he is going to play or not,” he said.

The legend said that many aspiring cricketers might not be as gifted as others, but deserved a chance to play at least a few matches and give a shot at the opportunity.

“To avoid this situation, because for a small kid, Prithvi (Shaw) and Mushir (Ahmed) are talented. But many are on the borderline. Many a times, the wicket may be a turning track as having a third seamer will make no point then.

“Sometimes, there is only one seamer, while a spinner bowling from the other end. In that, there is no fault of the poor 12-year old fast bowler. But he is prepared to work hard for the entire year not knowing that he may not be picked at all.

“I feel how every player can get a minimum of three matches till the time he starts earning and can stand on his own feet, till that time MCA should give support to these cricketers,” he said.

Sachin said that it would also test the players, as they would be facing different bowling attacks.

“It wouldn’t be like only one fast bowler is playing and others are spinners in the team. If somebody is good against spin bowling and not as good against pace, he can score against the spinners and move forward or vice-versa,” he said.

According to the 40-year-old, other associations in the country should also follow the footstep.

Sachin’s son, Arjun, was part of the Mumbai under-14 squad last year. Sachin quickly added he was not giving this suggestion just because of the sake of his son.

“I know that maybe a question would arise from somewhere that Arjun is playing. So that is why this suggestion. But it is nothing like that.

“Many cricketers who have played with me had family support, while there were many who did not have it. In fact, there have been a few people who have left home to play cricket and have not been successful. But it’s for the passion of cricket that they left their homes… And kept their passion alive,” he said.

Sachin also wished his coach Ramakant Achrekar, who was also felicitated at the event, on his 81st birthday.

He also remembered the reception he got from the ground staff when he was practising for his last Ranji match at the MCA Bandra Kurla Club (BKC), here.

“Cricket is like oxygen. I would be coming to get the oxygen doses from time to time at the ground. I will come and practice here,” Sachin said.