After being India Seniors coach, what motivates you to coach the juniors at the NCA?
It is just this that I love this game and it has given me a lot. I simply don't want to go out of this game. I would always want to be deeply involved in cricket in any capacity. Because of my love for the game, I am also teaching the game to the kids in my academy. I don't think I am good at anything else apart from cricket. I tried my hand at a couple of things but was not successful. That is when I decided to stay in my own field. That is why I am only doing cricket.
But we thought you were a high profile Director in Mohan Meakins?
I want to clarify that I am just working with them and am not a Director on the Board.
From the present batch at the NCA, who are the cricketers you feel are most promising?
Most of the kids who come here are talented. Some are more talented than the others. End of the day, the one who works hard and is committed will succeed. You have to be focused on what you want to achieve. Eventually it is your performance that counts. There are a few who I feel are highly talented. But I don"t want to take names as the others may get disheartened. In any case. I am not a future teller. Some kids get carried away. They start thinking - anyway I have the talent and therefore I am going to make it big. Thus they stop working hard and lose out. Some others get focused only after maturity, like say after they are nineteen. They suddenly become serious and career oriented. They start working very, very hard.
When should a cricketer decide to take cricket as a profession?
Like I said earlier it is very difficult to predict at a younger age. Only when they are mature enough do they show the true potential. The first step will be Ranji trophy. Once a cricketer starts performing in the Ranji Trophy you may say that this kid is going to make it. But here there should be a word of caution. One has to strike a balance between studies and cricket. In our country, studies are still the first priority. You need to be good in time management otherwise it will be too risky. Game and education go parallel.
You feel 18 is too early and the selectors feel 22 is too late. The boys are in a dilemma?
No not at all. 22 or even 24 is not late. It is only at this age that a cricketer matures and starts enjoying his game. Please do not compare any body to Sachin. He is a genius. A Sachin can happen only once in a life time
What do you think the present Indian team needs to become world number one?
I believe that this group is a very good bunch of cricketers. Only once in a way you get a combination like this. Suddenly you find a couple of youngsters combining with the seniors are winning matches for the country. The number one team is always debatable. Top three or four is also highly creditable.