Media spotlight often the making of young talent

2009-11-04 00:00

WITH the international and domestic cricket calendars jam-packed, there are more opportunities than ever before for cricketers to showcase their talent. It makes me wish I was a good few years younger.

It’s been a whirlwind start to the cricket season and there is still so much more exciting cricket to look forward to.

South Africa has already hosted a very successful ICC Champions Trophy tournament, which reassured us all that 50-over cricket is still alive and well. We’ve also witnessed a hotly contested Champions League 20/20 tournament in India, in which the Cape Cobras fared impressively.

England have arrived for their two-and-half-month tour, which gets under way on Friday. Consisting of two 20/20 matches, five limited overs and four Test matches, it’s a mouth-watering prospect. Sandwiched in-between we also have the SuperSport Series and new format MTN 40-over competition involving our domestic franchises.

Cricket’s ever-growing popularity has resulted in a significant increase in the number of televised games. It’s what the fans want and TV networks and advertisers are only happy to oblige.

The power of television cannot be underestimated. The exposure a cricketer receives on the screen has the potential to influence his career greatly.

Television producers of cricket coverage hold considerable power in their hands. A producer who has a liking for a particular cricketer is able to cast the cricketer in a positive light and the opposite is also true.

If you are performing well, the producer can instruct the cameramen to focus on you and in this way oblige the commentators to talk about you. If you are someone he’s not partial to, he can ignore your good moments and focus on a dropped catch or poor shot instead.

Being under the spotlight can be an uncomfortable place to be.

There is bias in any kind of media and television is no different. Commentators give their version of events, which simply represents their opinion and is not always based on sound cricket knowledge. Most of the vast television audience will, however, hang on their every word.

With the growing number of cricket spectators around the word, television provides the stage and cricketers are under the magnifying glass. It’s a challenging and sometimes daunting place to be, but at the same time it provides so many opportunities.

The Champions League tournament in India is a case in point.

Franchise cricketers had an incredible chance to showcase their talent in front of huge crowds and a massive television audience. Many of the players began the tournaments as unknown cricketers and have now been catapulted into the spotlight.

Andrew Puttick showed his class in the tournament with a string of impressive performances.

From being simply another talented cricketer in the Cobras closet, thanks to television exposure, Puttick has now got the attention of the cricketing world and his chances of being selected for South Africa and the lucrative IPL are vastly improved.

All of this is hugely encouraging for youngsters wanting to pursue cricket as their career.

Chad Baron, who recently performed well for Inland, has been asked to practise with the Dolphins and who knows where he could go from there? A few more good performances and he may have the chance to show what he’s made of in a televised domestic game.

There are opportunities galore for young cricketers to show their ability. Let’s hope they will use them.

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