While it can be said the West Indies cricket team has one of the worst youth players-to-senior team legend records in the history of the sport, it can also be said the Indian cricket team has one of the best such records. WI would therefore do well to study them in great detail.

The pillar of the Indian youth development programme in cricket is discovering match winners as early as possible, and blooding them as early as possible in the senior team next to seasoned veterans who they ultimately replace as legends and veterans in the team.

Indians believe greatly in the concept of the talismanic player who has what they consider to be personal magic or what the Americans call the right stuff that would make the whole team great by teaching it how to forget to lose.

WI cricket, not surprisingly, has the opposite approach in which we marginalise and sideline talismans because WI are intimidated by the very powerful character and joie de vivre they possess to make them the champions of a team that wins.

So a player like Shamar Springer goes undeveloped at the highest levels of cricket as a talisman in the Caribbean, so that if he ever does get into the WI cricket by 26 or thereabouts, he is so disillusioned and suppressed that he has lost that magic spark or right stuff, and is unable to do at the senior level what was easy to him at the youth level.

I hope this has not yet happened to Springer, and I hope it is not done to other young talents of a talismanic nature in the WI cricket setup, like Trinidadian Djenaba Joseph.

This case has been argued successfully by the fact that it was not Rahane or Rohit or Kohli who led India to a 2-1 Test cricket victory over the mighty Australians away, but the young talismans and future legends in the form of Pant and Gill.

Indians all over the world can now expect to retain the Border-Gavaskar and many other trophies for the foreseeable future because of their visionary youth cricket policy, while the WI cricket trophy cupboards continue to remain bare due to our lack thereof.

Fitzroy Othello

via e-mail

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