Dravid is concerned that more and more younger players will look to play for money rather than for their country
Former Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid has called on the younger generation to keep the tradition of Test cricket alive, and not give in to the lucrative world of Twenty20 cricket.
Dravid, urged younger players to “not sell themselves short” since he believes that there is more honour and satisfaction in representing your country in Test cricket rather than some star-studded Twenty20 tournament.
However, the former batsman noted that he would not judge any younger player for their decisions, but hoped that they would give Test cricket a chance sometime in their career.
“There are more options now, very hard for me to be judgemental about kids of today. Unfair. I had gone through a commerce degree in college, and not very successfully. When I grew up, if I wanted to be a successful professional cricketer – and making a living out of the sport became a part of that – the only option for me was to be a successful Test cricketer. There was no other way in which you could make a professional living out of the sport. I would have still played it, but I would have probably looked to do something else professionally if I wasn’t good enough,” Dravid said.
But Dravid also stated that he understood players needed to make a living out of the game.
“People now have the option of not necessarily playing Test cricket but making a living out of the game, and, you know, who’s to blame kids for taking that option? Who’s to blame kids for using that opportunity if they feel they are not good enough for Test cricket? If they are not good enough for Test cricket, I am sure they will feel, ‘Look at least I needn’t make a living out of this game. Let me at least play this, which is giving me money’.” Dravid added.
Dravid, hoped that most of the youngsters would follow his advice on playing Test cricket, as the former batsman explained that it was the greatest satisfaction any cricketer could achieve.
“I won’t like to judge them on that, but I will like to challenge them. What I’ll like to tell young kids is that the greatest satisfaction you are going to get is by playing Test cricket and playing in some of these great stadiums of the world. That will give you the greatest personal satisfaction, so don’t sell yourself short. Try and achieve. It is possible. It can be done. There might be kids in this era who will take that soft option. Some won’t. We will be able to see in time. Every era there have been people who have fallen by the wayside,” he said.
Even though Dravid does not see a problem with the number of players eager to make their mark in Test cricket currently, he feels as if it may become a serious problem in the future.
“People like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, or whoever the youngsters are, have grown up watching and idolising Test cricket, it’s the kids like Samit [Dravid’s son, 7] who will have grown up watching the IPL. That will be the challenge. What will those kids want? I don’t see this as an immediate problem. I see it as a long-term issue,” he said.
“By long term I mean ten years, when those kind of kids grow up, what will their aspirations be? If one of the young kinds wants to play, will he want to play for a franchise? You have to understand that at the end of the day players are also performers, and they want to perform. When you look at the IPL, it’s a great stage to perform. Played in front of full stadiums, there is a great viewership on television, you are playing with some of the best players in the world, you are playing at some of the greatest stadiums in the country. It’s a great stage to perform. That challenge is going to arise in ten years’ time, and I think we have got to address it right now,” Dravid added.