Australia Tour: A historic occasion for Orissa cricket(20 Aug, 2011)
By : Sidhanta Patnaik

ABOUT AUTHOR :

The author is a professional sports marketer. He did Ms. Sports & Leisure Management from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Born in Bhubaneswar, he played cricket at club level. As a management professional, Patnaik worked as a Brand Activation Executive for Wizcraft International Entertainment (P) Ltd, Bangalore, India from November 2007 to August 2009. Among his major achievement, he conceptualized, planned and executed the launch of the new jersey of the Indian cricket team for Nike. He also conceptualised and executed the fan activation plan for Kings XI Punjab for the first season of Indian Premier League. E-mail: sidhantapatnaik@gmail.com

BLOG DETAILS :

Sports bodies in India have largely failed to inspire over the years but on occasions when they have taken a futurist step, the deserving credit has never been far away. Orissa Cricket Association's decision to send a representative XI to Australia for a 22 days tour which includes a 3-days match, two 2-days matches, two one-day matches and four Twenty20 matches is an historic moment that has the potential to mark the beginning of a new age in the state’s cricket chapter.

By pushing the 21 touring members out of their comfort zone OCA has made an earnest attempt to strengthen the fulcrum of the next generation of cricketers which will significantly boost the state’s chance of attaining its dual goal of winning BCCI affiliated inter-state competitions and producing international quality cricketers in the coming decade. Beyond what happens in the nine matches’ Down Under between 22nd August and 9th September, this study tour will be an eye opening education for the players about the background of the world’s best cricket structure. The wider outlook about the game will make them more accountable for their own performance instead of hiding behind the ‘spoon fed’ mentality that has often been the reason behind the demise of many potentially exciting talents of Orissa.

In a way this tour offers a chance for the cricketers to hone their game technique and to stand up and be counted in conditions as alien as Mars and Venus but practically to anticipate a victorious performance on the unfamiliar pace friendly conditions would be slightly over the board. For a squad whose average age is 21 years
with 10 members yet to make their first-class debut this tour will be a test of character and hopefully OCA’s message to them is to enjoy, learn and see the world instead of bogging them down with the weight of expectations. The effect of team bonding in the far land of Australia will show up when India’s domestic season begins in November.

By rewarding a few young finds of Orissa Premier League with a seat on the flight, OCA has successfully integrated its two ends and one is optimistic that the encouragement is on the basis of sheer performance and not an act to appease the franchisees. The other indirect advantage is that when these cricketers return from the tour, their new found confidence level will have a rub-on effect on the local players of their respective city clubs which should ideally inspire a new crop of youngsters to emulate the footsteps.

With a huge financial and logistical investment made, OCA should stick to these talents irrespective of what their tour performance chart reflects, lay down a long term map for them and start exploring avenues for more such foreign assignments. Then will all these attempts made by Michael Bevan to uplift the face of Orissa cricket reap the desired benefits or else in no time will this tour be discarded into the bins of history as a one-off occasion.