This era belongs to small town players: Cricketers

Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 18:15 PM IST

Ranchi: What is common among Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yousuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel?

Not only all of them were members of the victorious Indian cricket team which humbled Sri Lanka to lift ICC World Cup at Mumbai on April 2 but also they come from smaller towns.

These bunch of cricketers played the game in non-descript playgrounds, honed skills under unknown coaches, but burst into the international scene like gladiators with such aplomb that the world was left speechless - even British media on April 6 had suggested Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney to learn a thing or two from Dhoni on how to react under pressure situations?

"Till 1970s Indian cricket team had comprised mostly cricketers from the glittering cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata or Chandigarh. But the situation changed with the advent of these talented players," Chanchal Bhattacharya, one of the three coaches under whom Dhoni played during his formative years, said.

Former Bihar off-spinner Vikas Kumar Ranu, who played with Dhoni and was also coached by Bhattacharya, said, "Till about a decade ago small town cricketers hardly used to get notice of the national media compared to their counterparts in metros."

"Dhoni and I represented Rest of India Under-19 final against Punjab led by Yuvraj Singh in 1999. Yuvraj went on to play international cricket a little early while Dhoni had to wait for some more years," the 30-year-old, who had captained East Zone U-19 team and now a cricket coach, said.

Bureau Report