14-a-side cricket could be detrimental to all-rounders’ development, says Dilip Vengsarkar

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14-a-side cricket could be detrimental to all-rounders’ development, says Dilip Vengsarkar

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SportsCafe Desk


While Sachin Tendulkar’s 14 players-a-side idea was well received by many, Dilip Vengsarkar thinks its implementation could be impending for all-rounders and tail-enders’ development. He also believes that the idea should be kept as an experiment only with leagues strictly played with 11 players.

Tendulkar’s basic concept behind the 14-player team was that it gave coaches a lot of options, meaning one could nominate 14 players while going out for the toss, and pick the 11 best batsmen and bowlers from that 14.

It was widely appreciated by all the schools, coaches, players, and their parents because everybody would get a chance to play, especially the bowlers. Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) wanted to continue it further and because of that 84 more players could play in the age-old Harris and Giles Shield.

Vengsarkar, who is a former vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association, had previously agreed to the idea, which was implemented till the quarter-final stage of the tournament. However, he is against MSSA’s decision of using it in the elite finals of the prestigious tournament.

“I had agreed to have the Giles Harris shield teams featuring 14 players in a match with 11 on the field at a time simply because I had noticed that many schools participate without having a proper cricket team and they don't even last 18 to 20 overs. The change was introduced on an experimental basis,” he said.

"The tournament is all about giving youngsters an opportunity. So, having 14-a-side is a good idea as everyone gets to play. Youngsters now are a little impatient and they don't want to sit on the bench. Having 14 players in the earlier stages gives coaches enough time to select his best 11 which in turn will make the final stages more interesting,” he added.

The 61-year-old thinks the format will take pressure off players and will be harmful to all-rounders and tail-enders in honing their skills.

“With all 14 players confirmed of their participation, there is no pressure for the main-line batsman to forge partnerships with the tail-enders and win matches…What about the allrounders? They will be out of the game," he said.

However, former India pacer Abey Kuruvilla thinks that the tournament is more of a development event for the players than winning and it should be implemented till the final. He was also sure that since it's Tendulkar’s idea, it must be implemented as nobody knows cricket better than him.

“I'm sure Sachin has put a lot of thought into this. He knows that the more opportunities you give to the kids, the better they become. The tournament is more about developing players than winning and therefore it's a good format. It's the same for all the teams so it shouldn't be a problem even if the format is till the final."

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