Ranchi:With stupendous performances in their heydays, cricket icons like Sunil Gavaskar, Bishen Singh Bedi and Gundappa Viswanath inspired a generation of youngsters.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's rise seems to have had a similar impact on budding cricketers in Jharkhand.
Ishank Jaggi, Rahul Shukla, Varun Aaron and Sourabh Tiwari have all found places in different Indian Premier League franchises.
"No doubt, Dhoni's emergence has driven the kids from Jharkhand to excel in cricket. His towering presence and consistent performance has instilled confidence in budding cricketers which is reflected in four players finding places in the IPL teams," observed former Bihar Ranji captain Adil Hussain.
"During our days, players from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh hardly found any place in national teams. The yardstick for selection was their performance in Ranji Trophy and these players hardly got any chance to showcase their talent," argued Hussain.
While Jharkhand pace bowler Varun Aaron was snapped up by Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders, his bowling partner Rahul Shukla has found a place in Mumbai Indians led by the great Tendulkar.
Sourabh Tiwari, who has hit two half centuries against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils, is representing Mumbai Indians, and must be looking forward to have a crack at Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings.
"These boys have got the real opportunity to break into limited over and Test cricket, if they perform well in the ongoing IPL...There has been instances of players from the IPL-1 and IPL-2 getting into the other two versions," Hussain said.
Aother ex-Bihar captain K V P Rao and the current coach of Jammu and Kashmir Ranji team is also of the opinion that any cricketer excelling internationally would automatically generate interest in the game.
"Why go back to the days of Gavaskar and Bedi...even Sourav Ganguly and Debasis Mohanty attracted few players from their respective states, Bengal and Orissa, who went on to play international cricket," Rao said.
"But what these players need to learn is endurance. There have been instances when a player has flattered to deceive ... becoming a one-match wonder. For consistent performance, Jharkhand cricket authorities should make club cricket a regular feature and more interesting," said Rao.
Chanchal Bhattacharya, who was one of the coaches of Dhoni during his formative years, expressed optimism about the future of Jharkhand cricket.
"It would have been seven from Jharkhand in IPL had Jharkhand Ranji wicketkeeper S P Goutam and pacer H S Rao been successful in trials for KKR...but I am sure these two are as good as the other four from the state who found places in different IPL teams," claimed Bhattacharya.
Now a cricket coach with the Central University of Jharkhand, Bhattacharya attributed the supply-line in the state cricket to Dhoni's emergence and Jharkhand Cricket Association's efforts in conducting regular practice.
However, Ex-Bihar captain Avinash Kumar was sceptical about players from Jharkhand getting into test cricket in the near future saying IPL might not provide the platform to the players aspiring to get a call for the test cricket.
"Excelling in limited overs is different from playing test cricket as the latter is all about quality," felt Kumar.
Bhattacharya, however, did not agree saying "Even Dhoni started as a limited over specialist. And now it is there for every one to see---he is the country's captain in all the three versions of the game."