Potent second string needed: BCCI chief

Published: Friday, October 8, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Voicing concern over frequent injuries to top cricketers, Cricket Board's newly-elected president Ranbir Singh Mahendra has emphasised the need for developing a second line of players who could walk into the national side.

"Consistent injuries are a matter of concern for the Board. I agree that the senior team is in decent shape but we also need to work out a second line of classy players who could walk into the side anytime.

"We are working on a format so that the U-19 team can play a format like that of Ranji... I am sure this will work," Mahendra told ESPN-Star Sports according to a press release by the broadcaster.

The new president said he would like India to rule world cricket, almost the way the West Indies did in the 70s.

"Australia are world leaders but they are also beaten on and off. India needs to rule the world. I will be happy if India rules the world like the Carribeans in the 70s and early 80s (under the leadership of Clive Lloyd)."

On increasing politics in Indian cricket, Mahendra said, "BCCI is perhaps the only sports body in India which is thoroughly professional and successful. It's expected that many will make a beeline for its control. As long as the financial stakes are high, there will be people showing interest. We will have to live with it."

"Let's first get the telecast issue resolved. People across the country and abroad must see the two Test series (Australia and South Africa), hopefully, the court cases will be resolved by then."

The politician-turned-sports administrator, however, refused to be drawn into the contract of current coach John Wright.

"The Board will take a serious look at the contract once it comes up for renewal in March next year. We have Sunil Gavaskar assisting the side and the players have expressed their happiness at the contribution of the former captain. We will also keep that in mind," he said.

Mahendra, a former chairman of the BCCI committee on umpires, said he would also like to focus on Indian umpires and that the Board was contemplating to set up a national academy for umpires.

"It will be on the lines of the National Cricket Academy at Bangalore and I'm confident it will produce world-class umpires."

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