Education will be the solution to all our cricketing woes

Asif and Amir were sharp and talented but their minds weren’t developed enough due to a lack of proper schooling.

Jalaluddin May 07, 2012

Education is not just filling the bucket and ticking the boxes.

It’s how a person is groomed, his personality developed and the learning ability instilled.

It’s easier to teach a well-educated person tricks of the trade because he has developed a habit of picking up things quickly.

The mind has been trained to adapt to different situations accordingly. Such qualities determine the development of a cricketer as well and can foretell whether that individual will be successful or not as a person.

But that’s not all education does. The strength of decent education goes well beyond the development we just spoke of. It helps a person judge between right and wrong.

The spot-fixing scandal exposed how our cricketers have deep-rooted development problems. They’re simply not aware of what is wrong.

Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir’s involvement tells us how vulnerable lesser-educated players are. They were sharp and talented but their minds, perhaps, weren’t developed enough because of lack of proper schooling.

Salman Butt was more aware and educated. But that’s where family values come in too: they teach you what’s wrong and right and that’s also part of character development.

On a broad scale, education is what improves people’s judgement.

In Pakistan, when a first-class cricketer makes his transition and turns out in national colours, his lifestyle changes drastically and very quickly. They get overwhelmed by surroundings, the increased attention and of course, the paycheque that accompanies.

At that point in time, pressure can mess up a person’s character. Development and strength of that individual’s personality is what can take him beyond the difficult period.

This is exactly why Pakistan players need to be groomed and educated, at least to an appropriate and adequate level, before they step onto the field and make their debuts.

In Bangladesh, there’s a national institute of sports, the BKSP, which is an academy combined with a school for grade seven to 12 students.

The students reside in a hostel and follow a schedule that sees them study in the morning and train later in the day.

There’s scientific assessment made on each student as well which helps determines their future.

But the grooming is done at a young age that helps the authorities shortlist players for various teams — football, volleyball or cricket. While the level of talent can vary, surely the institute will start producing quality players in that way.

There no lack of talent in Pakistan. We’ve seen how capable our team is.

But the phase is short-lived and demonstration of inconsistency is frequent. Disciplinary issues have lessened but it’s safe to claim that our cricket hasn’t developed the way it should have. Pakistan should rule the world on the cricket field but it’s there and thereabouts due to lack of development of character and the game.

The system needs to change and needs to be made competitive at all levels.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has always made short-term plans — camp of one month, two weeks’ training – but it’s time to include long-term goals.

Take talent from the under-16 team and gradually form a pool of players at the under-19, under-23 levels. The plans, at all levels, need continuity. This is the only way we’ll be able to fully utilise the exceptional talent we have.

Read more by Jalaluddin here.
Jalaluddin A former Test fast-bowler for the Pakistan cricket team.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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