The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pras scores on articulation
- Dalmiya-hosted brainstorming session produces dramatic

Calcutta: The left-arm spinners outnumbered offies 5-4, at Friday’s brainstorming session here, but it didn’t exactly surprise that the Erapalli Prasannas made the “biggest” contribution to deliberations.

The session, hosted by Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya, produced a string of recommendations with the most dramatic being no limited overs cricket for the U-17s. Dalmiya apart, the Board was represented by secretary S.K.Nair and joint-secretary Jyoti Bajpai.

[There was, by the way, across-the-board unanimity on not exposing the U-17s to the shorter version. The question is: Can that be implemented'

[“Well, that’s something for the administrators,” was former captain Bishan Singh Bedi’s response. Bedi, of course, has consistently been rooting for such a ‘ban’.]

“Prasanna was, by far, the most articulate,” is how a source of The Telegraph put it, shortly after the deliberations ended at a city hotel.

According to the source, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, an ex-captain who is now a highly respected Elite Panel umpire, too made some of the most pertinent observations.

Shivlal Yadav and Harbhajan Singh completed the off-spinners’ representation.

Prasanna, one understands, emphasised that coaches must be given a reasonable run and that “five-day stints” serve no purpose. Clearly, he was speaking from experience.

Then, Prasanna suggested “experts” regularly visit the zonal academies and their recommendations, specific for promotions to the National Cricket Academy (NCA), ought to be respected.

The “security-factor” also found a mention, together with a need for captains to handle spinners with care. In other words, a fine art requires a delicate touch.

Venkat, for his part, felt there should be no compromise on the quality of coaches. Besides, he called for consistency in their appointment. Basically, no arrangement should have an ad-hoc flavour.

Incidentally, though not an offie, Bapu Nadkarni (a tight-fisted bowler in his time) was refreshingly outspoken during this unprecedented interaction — which, by the way, brought the legendary quartet together on the same platform.

A former chief selector, Nadkarni sought a recasting of the domestic calendar, thereby allowing the less experienced cricketers to play alongside the biggest names.

In his opinion, the juniors will then be able to improve their technique and, just as important, gain in confidence. Appropriately, he made it a point to highlight the importance of “camps” at the zonal level.

While Bedi, another left-armer, probably raised issues not directly connected with the day’s theme, he was spot-on with one recommendation: That the “monitoring” be centralised once the NCA trainees returned to their respective associations.

There will, after all, be no gain if some short-on-qualifications coach (at the state level) seeks to undo everything taught by an expert.

This monitoring, however, will be a big ask.

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