Srinagar, August 30: On any summer evening in Kashmir, when someone says, “Pollard scored a hundred today!” “Which Pollard?,” is what the listeners ask.
It might sound a bit awkward, but there are so many Pollards, Pandyas, Afridis, Gayles, and whatnot in each lane here that one needs to categorise them into areas. Yes, there shouldn’t be any problem if people find glimpses of these stars in local boys, but what actually it does is it keeps these talented lads away from what we call quality cricket.
Go to any district of Kashmir and you will find scores of small grounds, where boundaries are as short as 40 metres. Doubtlessly, there are quite some standard stadiums as well. But these short ones are mostly in the limelight, thanks to huge totals that are put on by the teams.
As a result, local talented players receive overwhelming response for hitting those sixes and ultimately the big scores. However, when it comes to standard grounds, especially, in front of quality bowlers, they find themselves lost. The talent thus never reaches a higher level.
The mating wickets and short boundaries crash their game and change them into smashers rather than focusing on the real batting skills. This is the major reason most of Kashmiri batsmen haven’t been able to make a mark in national events.
So, we, the cricket enthusiasts, need to introspect and see what actually makes someone a Pollard or an Afridi. It’s not just the sixes but the fitness, skill, technique, hard work, dedication and several other factors that have made them the stars they are.
The onus is on former and current top-level cricketers and administration, JKCA in particular, as well. They need to guide and give these players a platform where they could nurture their natural talent and not get drawn away by this not lasting hype.