U-13 time to learn, not to play 20-20: Azad

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Chandigarh, Apr 17 (UNI) Cricket Droncharya Desh Prem Azad suggested that the Twenty-20 version of cricket should be for senior players only and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should trust and promote ''our own coaches'' instead of depending on foreign trainers.

Talking on the slam bang version of cricket, Azad, who has trained the legendary Kapil Dev Nikhanj, Ashok Malhotra, Chetan Sharma and Yog Raj Singh and scores of other international cricketers, said ''By organising under-13 20-20 cricket tournaments, the organisers are playing with the lives of young and budding cricketers.'' Advocating that the 20-20 format should be left to the senior cricketers who have passed through all phases of training and competitions, Azad, who runs a cricket academy in the city said, ''If at the age of under-13 years, a young cricketer is introduced to 20-20, his life will be ruined. This move is to throttle them young instead of catching them young.'' ''I wonder when I read that a boy of the age of u-13 years hitting a six. At this tender age, he is just learning the basics.

Consequently, only an experienced player over the age of 13 years can lift the bowler over the rope,'' said the seasoned cricket coach.

''If an under-13 boy starts playing 20-20 when will he learn the basics of batting, bowling and fielding?'' ''However, the format is fine for the seniors who have played through the stages of under-15, under-17, under-19, under-22, Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and other domestic cricket, Tests and One-Day Internationals. They gain experience and their basics and fundamentals become sound as they move from one phase to other.'' Strongly advocating that a beginner requires longer version of competition instead of 20-20 or 30-30, he said, ''It should not be less then 50 overs a side match.'' He has requested the authorities, including the BCCI, to take appropriate steps so that no organisation can exploit the ''cricket kids''.

Another area of concern, Azad said was the dependence on the foreign coaches. ''For how long we will depend on them?'' questions Azad.

''The Indian coaches do not have to prove their talent and ability to the authorities. We have produced world beaters. India has won the World Cup 20-20 with the Indian coach. Cricket greats namely Kapil Dev (coach, DP Azad), Sunil Gavaskar (coach, Madhav Mantri), Sachin Tendulkar (coach, Achrekar) and Rahul Dravid (coach, Keki Tarapur) are all products of the Indian coaches' hard work.'' ''Despite these merits, if the authorities think the Indian trainers have shortcomings, a foreign coach could be invited to coach the Indian coaches at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore,'' said Azad, who is known for his on-and-off the field discipline and coaching abilities.


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