Other sports bodies should emulate BCCI, feels Ravi Shastri

Mumbai: Lauding the efforts of the BCCI in providing world class facilities with a right system in place, former India captain and Team Director Ravi Shastri said other sports should try to emulate the Board to start producing champions at the global level.

“If you want to cut and paste something out of cricket into other sports it is very simple. Ask this question to the youngster who is training to become an Olympic champion: Is he or she getting the same facility as a player from overseas. In cricket, I don’t care what Australia has, what England has, India is up there 90 per cent, so they might have that 10 per cent extra,” Shastri said at the FICCI Frames.

“But I want to see other sports (up there). Is the gap only 10 per cent? I would say it is 70 per cent. So give those facilities to the youngsters and have the right people watching them like a hawk and you will see results,” he said.

Acknowledging that television broadcasting has brought in money into sports, Shastri recalled that he was paid Rs 10,000 in 1990 for his last Test match, whereas two years later players were being paid Rs 2.5-3 lakh.

“The system (that BCCI) has is as good as any in the world if not the best. There is an opportunity with the money coming in through television. You are getting more and more facilities for people who did not have facilities like in Ranchi, Visakhapatnam, Dharamsala, Rajkot.

“For a guy in Rajkot to become big, you don’t have to go to Ahmedabad or Baroda to play a game, even though Saurashtra had the odd ground. What television has done is, it has taken the game into the drawing rooms where people are being educated about the game,” said Shastri.

“BCCI were a fantastic body. You would not have had the Tendulkars, the Gavaskars, the Kapil Devs or Ravi Shastri without them being a good body. If you have got a professional body running, the focus is on delivering champions and giving them the best of the facilities, then you can (be good at other sports).

“Could you have imagined Ranchi staging a Test match or Rajkot having a cricket ground? You are taking the sport into the tier II towns, the tier III towns and making people believe and giving them the facility to play the sport at the highest level,” he added.

According to an ESP Properties-SportzPower report, sports sponsorship in India stands at Rs 6400 crore, with 80 per cent coming in from cricket.

Shastri said the quality of telecast has taken cricket to a higher level with spidercams and technology making the game interesting.

“It has just helped the game spread and the grassroot level is now getting the attention. That is where you need professionals to make sure the money is spent well where you produce champions,” he said.