“I would just like to tell what Sachin Tendulkar told a group of youngsters at the National Cricket Academy (Bangalore). He had said, ‘don’t chase money, chase ambitions’.
If you chase your ambition, you will always remain focussed and no distractions can come in your way whether it is fame or glamour,” said Karim on the sidelines of the launch of the Coca Cola U-16 inter-school tournament. Around 850 schools from 10 states will compete in the tournament.
Former India spinner and Mumbai stalwart Nilesh Kulkarni, who was also present, said: “There is a lot of exposure these days for junior cricketers. They play in different countries. They grow in confidence and learn how to handle them (distractions).”
Karim stressed on the grassroot level. “When we see the Indian team doing well, it is the hard work put in at the grassroot level. The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has done exemplary work in setting up these structures for junior and senior cricketers.
“The real talent lies in emerging towns. There are so many cricketers coming from tier II and III cities and smaller towns,” said Karim, who is part of the senior India selection committee.
Prof Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI’s General Manager Game Development, emphasised on the need to curb the overage menace.
“Overage has been a huge issue in Asian countries. BCCI has to an extent controlled the overage issue. Apart from birth certificates, we also do bone testing. It is the organiser’s responsibility to have strict checks in place. It is important to provide a level playing field,” said Shetty.