The absence of career option in sports has led to yet another flight of talent in the form of countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most flamboyant all rounder Mehboob Alam. Alam is one of the most successful cricketers of the nation at both domestic and international level.
International cricket legend like Chaminda Vaas and others at times has compared his devastating batting with great Saeed Anwar. Alam is just 25 and decided to leave the country to play club cricket in Qatar. As I understand and learnt from media, the monetary compensation doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look as attractive so that it persuades someone to forgo the pride of playing for the nation.
Then what made Mehboob to leave the country? HasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he done basic calculation before deciding take this offer? I am sure he must have done.
As I read his interview before departing to Qatar, I found there are some basic issues he was raising, which has also been raised before by other cricketers. The thing troubled him the most seemed to be uncertainty about his place in the team. He seemed to be feared from the fact that he can be dropped from the team anytime. I do not know how an established player like him can have doubts about his place in the team.
But Alam is not the first player who went through this phase there are many examples due to which either those players took pre mature retirement or left the country to peruse their career in other field. I believe the reason behind this has been drop out of the senior players without strong justification and promotion of U-19 and U-17 cricketers too early in the senior side. As I have said earlier also the current selection procedure of the team unnecessarily putting pressure on the senior players.
The second reason Alam pointed out that there is no career in cricket in the country, which is a fair enough reason. Though I am personally little unconvinced that at the given compensation and benefits for playing club cricket in Qatar makes him a professional cricketer or takes care of his financial needs after retirement. Because, first thing he is going is on contract that will last only till he performs well. The second thing the money he will earn during his stay for another few years will not be very substantial that can take care of his financial need once he retires from cricket.
However, the reasons Alam pointed out for leaving the country hold true that in absence of secured financial future of the cricketers there bound to be high turnover of the players in the country. This warrants immediate concrete action plan from the cricket governing body to further flight of talent from the country. Now the last thing we want that Alam playing for Qatar and competing against us.
Bringing professionalism in the game may require some time but other aspects can immediately be put in place. Yes I am talking about dealing with players more appropriately and listening to their problems and needs more empathetically and try to fulfill those as far as possible. The cricket administration body should be very cautious while dealing with talented players especially when there is no professionalism in the game and we have very little to give these players in return. This may not completely stop the flight of talent but will certainly help to reduce the pace of it.
Of course the final destination should be making the game professional. Otherwise, I would not agree with the view of Alam that Ã¢â‚¬Å“cricket has future in the country but not the cricketersÃ¢â‚¬Â, because the cricket will not have any future without the future of cricketers. These two must go along!