In India, Cricket is more than just a sport. It is not only a religion, but the most followed one for that matter. And quite obviously, a career in it is bound to be a rewarding one. It is, thus, not surprising to know that every children dreams of one day donning the famous Blue jersey. With such a significant competition at fore, one needs to take the right steps from the very start of the career. If you are looking for some guidance for yourself or your kids, here’s a step wise guide on How to become a cricketer (in India).
What is your age group and role?
Age plays a big role in Cricket. One can participate in a band of categories ranging from under 12 to under 22 age. But the ideal age for joining academy is 8-9 years. Those who start at an early age have a better chance of having clear basics and knowledge of rules. Legendary names in Indian cricket like Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar started playing professional cricket from a very early age (almost 8-9).
The competition level differs with the age group. In fact, many players even reduce their registered age to play with smaller age group players. It helps them outperform the younger players and also add time for preparation to enter in the national team. This absolutely illegal and carries huge penalties if caught.
There are basically 4 types of players in cricket. Batsman, bowler, wicket-keeper and all-rounder. Although you don’t have to definitely decide your role at a young age, a temporary decision is must in determining what will be the major focus of your practice.
Good Cricket Academy
A good coach and a good academy with a hardworking culture help in increasing odds significantly. Everyone needs guidance to attain excellence in any field. The same applies to cricket. You need an experienced and knowledgeable helping hand for guidance on the tough journey. So go out and find the best cricket academy in your area and give your best to get selected in the same.
Also Read | All about the National Cricket Academy
How to know if its a Good Cricket Academy
To know if the popular and well-known academy is actually a good one, here are some points that you might want to consider before joining:
- How many players from the academy or club are playing or have played at the domestic or international level?
- Background of the coach, his reach and contacts.
- Current players review on the coach.
- The number of matches being played with other teams (other club or academy) in a month.
Every professional cricket player has learnt and practised in some academy. It is almost impossible to directly enter into state or national side by showing up directly in the trials. Many retired and current players also have their sports institutions and academies because they understand the importance of the same.
Balanced Diet and workout
Cricket is a physically demanding sport which goes on for hours. In fact, cricket is the most time-consuming sport that can go as long as 5 days (test match). To stay on the ground and perform, you need to have your fitness at its best. A balanced diet and workout routine will help in building the strength and endurance of the particular muscles used for your role.
Professional athletes follow strict diet plans and spend hours in the gym to get their body fit for the challenge.
Nowadays, it is really easy to find a healthy and cheap diet plan online. All you have to is get rid of the junk food.
District Team Selection
The next goal is to get selected in the district team. You need to practice hard and perform in the trials to make it to the playing 11. There will be a lot of people in the same category as you do. Also, you might end up being a year or lesser experienced than your competitors in the category. For example, you are 14-year old giving trials for an under-16 category than there will be people with a year or more experience than you do.
Once you get selected, performance is everything. You cannot retain your place to get selected for upper levels until you perform. You can even try to get some scholarship on the back of your performance for the district team.
State Team Selection
Since you got selected in your district team, all have to do is perform and come in the eyes of selectors. That is the best way of making it to the state team’s playing 11. You can also go for the trials which are held 1 time in 3 months.
As a part of the state, you will compete in famous national tournaments like Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy, etc. Also, national level players get Government jobs according to their field.
IPL is the biggest league in the world of cricket. This makes it the best stage for Indian players to showcase their talent at the international level and at the same time support themselves financially. After you get selected for your state team and start performing in the tournaments like Duleep trophy, you catch eyes of some or other IPL franchise.
They are always looking for new talent so they have to spend less money on new players. But the money might not be less for the newbies. IPL has a much bigger audience and catches more eyes than any other tournaments. This increases players’ selection probability in the Indian team. For example, Hardik Pandya didn’t play many national level matches before entering into the national t-20 squad because of his explosive performances for the Mumbai Indians.
The National Cricket Team Selection
Every cricket playing nation has its A team along with the main squad. Players are mostly first selected in the India-A squad before qualifying for the National team. Once you perform well at the National level you get the chance in the India-A team. This is basically to test your performance on the foreign pitches and conditions before letting you in for the biggest challenge. You need to perform consistently in the India-A team against the A teams of other nations. This will earn you your spot in the Indian National Cricket Team.
Apart from these conventional ways, you can also play in leagues of foreign countries like County cricket in England, BBL in Australia, etc. But there are certain BCCI rules and regulations that must be kept in mind while doing so. Otherwise, you may end up being barred from representing the national team for life.
Final Word: Why Anyone Can Play for Team India
Consistent performance is the foremost and only important thing that will help you become a cricketer. Money may get you into the state team (at the best) but if you want to retain your place or promote yourself, you will have to perform continuously. Finally, the scorecard will always decide whether you are worthy to be on the National team.
All you need to do is work hard with the right technique and believe in yourself. The results will follow. Here are some motivating examples of famous cricketers who made it against the odds:
- Umesh Yadav: Son of a Coal Miner
- Mohammed Shami: Son of a Farmer
- Virender Sehwag: Traveled 84 km daily to practice.
- Munaf Patel: Son of a landless factory labourer who worked for a merge ₹ 35 per day.
- Ms Dhoni: Worked as a Ticket collector
- Wasim Jaffer: Son of a bus driver
- Ravindra Jadeja: Son of a watchman