How to Break into Professional Cricket: What’s the Age Barrier?

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 Dirk Nannes didn’t listen to conventional advice.

The wise sages of cricket all agree: If you have not made it into a first-class setup by the time you are 18, you may as well be on the cricketing scrap heap.

But Dirk was a skier. Sure, he played good club cricket in the summer but he never took it seriously. He was happy on the slopes.

Then he decided cricket would be a better bet. Convention dictated he was wasting his time; he was too late to make it as a professional. He switched anyway.

In 2006, at 29, he made his first class debut. 3 years later he was an international.

Can you be like Dirk?

Nannes is quiet the late developer, and he is not alone in making a late attack on professional cricket. It can be done.

So what are your chances?

In reality it’s very hard to break through if you are outside the conventional “academy” system. The reason is nothing to do with talent either.

When you are young the more you train and play, the better you become. If you are recognised as a potential first-class player at a young age you are given more games and better coaching and a crucial time in your development.

You start to believe your own hype and get the confidence that goes with increasing skill levels.

Players in this setup are pulling away from their peers through more deliberate practice. By the time they get to their late teens are well ahead.

The good news

The good news is that if talent is less important than good practice, you can blossom late if you miss the academy gravy train.

It just means you have to start practicing and playing very hard indeed. You have a lot of catching up to do.

Dirk and others like him could do it because they had a good base from which to build. They were already athletic with good general sport skills: coordination, balance and agility all came naturally to these guys.

They still had a long lead time before they made it too. Nannes played club cricket seriously for 7 seasons before he broke through for example.

Which brings us back to that age barrier.

You can make it as a professional right up into your late 20s. But that comes with a proviso:

  • You have to have a base of athletic ability that was developed as a youngster (aged 6-14).
  • You need to be playing good standard amateur cricket (such as UK Premier League 1st XI).
  • You must be performing deliberate practice 2-5 times a week.

Be honest with yourself and ask if those things are a realistic possibility. If they are and you are 25 years old, then go for it. It's a long road with no guarantees of success, but it's possible; Dirk proved it.

Oh and if you do, make sure you let PitchVision Academy know how you get on. We believe in you. 

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Comments

A very good motivational article Dave.

There is a great movie, The Rookie made in 2002, about this high school teacher, Jimmy Morris, that realised he could pitch the ball close to 100 mph. He made his Major League debut at 35 years old. Based on a true story.

I get asked "can i make it at age x" so often I thought I would give my realistic views on the matter. I hope it inspires someone to make it but is also not giving someone a pipe dream.

The real Jim Morris speaking about his story.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7104404967754347678#

My view on this is that the later you start the harder you have to work to break through. I think people underestimate how much effort, the old "blood and sweat" that you have to put in to make it as a pro. I think in most cases, folks aren't willing to put in the necessary commitment to such goals because it is a big mountain to climb and the scale of the climb could easily discourage anyone. This particularly applies to folks that aren't as naturally gifted, they have to go through that extra grind.

You also have to consider that the later you start the shorter the time span you have as a pro. But with fitness and diets and sport science these days, the life span of the professional athlete keeps getting longer. Shoaib Akhtar clocked a ball at 159kmh at 36 years of age, these type of feats are very impressive.

I agree Alek. Even if you start late and work hard, you still need that base of athletic ability and coordination that can only be developed at a young age. So it takes a very special person to have the base and the motivation to stick with it against the odds.

Then again, if it was easy we would all be doing it!

i'm now 21 years old can i make it to international cricket

Have you read the article?

i am now 25.i have started to play cricket at the age of 21.i want to play at the international level.now i am playing club cricket in india.is this possible?

That depends on your athletic base, how hard you work and what your genetic ceiling is. It's possible in theory but you have to have a lot of hard work, talent and luck.

Hi David,

A very interesting and intriguing article.

I had a query regarding this, I have played cricket for university in India during my college days, been to academy since I was 16 but then could not continue due to various factors. Work took me to the UK, I started playing club cricket 1st and 2nd teams and was quite consistent as a left hand opening batsmen.

Currently I am in South Africa for work and am 29 (quite fit) looking for another stint to perform. Any advice will be appreciated.

Will keep you updated on my progress!!

Cheers,
Kam

i am 22 years doing BA 1 year.i want to become a professional play.can i be and start this late.

hi david,
i am about to complete my engineering this year.i ve been playing cricket since my teenage.i used to be a good bowler then but never got selected in either school level or college level.still i kept my heart and i believe that if i can be an effective player under some guidance.i am athletic enough to compete with all those teens in any learning aspects.can i become a club cricketer after the age of 21?

I would say yes. It won't be easy though. But that's why we are here to help!

hi, i am at the age of 21 , can i break through ?. i want to become a good professional cricketer .any advise pls ?

After reading the article and considering your position compared to what it says, what do you think the answer to that question is?

sir. . Cricket is in my blood . . I can do anything for cricke . . . I want guidance for how to prove my self . . .

Hi David ,
I started cricket when I was 17 . I hv nt played any matches.bt I hv been doing plyometerics(plyometerics that works vid on YouTube -destorm chennal),sprint and jog(for recovery ) for 15 to 20 mins(i don't go for jog . Because sprint and jog is scientific way to develop fast twitch muscles power)sprint drills(destorm- how to sprint part-ii on YouTube) as warm up. both running and sprint drill twice in a week,1 day for speed training 3 killer exercise(twicethespeed chennal on YouTube) +simple push up,plyometeric push up
(superman flying push up,clapping push up),single leg squat,jump squat,core exercise everyday before starting workout except 2 days. And 2 days for rest.I have been following this schedule since 6 to 8 month approximately.and I work on thrice in a week for bowling + twice in a week for fielding .do you think i can make it .I am 18.78(DOB year-1994).

Plyometeric is twice in a week. Sry i forgot to mention.

Rahul, your fitness and practice plan is excellent but the trouble lies with the 2nd thing you said. It does not matter how fast, strong, fit and athletic you are because you have not played any matches.

All fitness work in cricket is in SUPPORT of playing. If you are not playing you are not going to make it. So while I applaud your dedication to what you can control, you also need to play competitive cricket.

The reason I haven't played any matches is because that cricket is not as sport in our college and I don't go to coaching very often because our sir, don't understand what is fast twitch muscle and what is slow twitch muscle . When I was learning sprinting there i was using my shoulders to get faster(i ws not expert in sprint at that time cause I ws learning bt now i am through constant practise)so our coach told me that don't use your move your hand too much .so i told him about 90 degree .he told me internet has driven me crazy.there are only three drills for running are done which is repeated five times(side,high knees,back kicks) so boring and then 5 sprint.2 round jog,1 round walk.so this schedule is not good enough.and sir,don't even listen to me cause if i do distance work my fast twice muscle can work back to be slow twitch .and when i was beginner i had dropped some catches so instead of teaching me or motivating me he told me bad words and gave me a round but didn't teach technique. The coaching camp is government and i don't have enough fund to go for private coaching . Right now I have my own technique for doing things.isnt there any way to go for professional cricket without going to coaching camp or playing for college .

And recently our coaching time has been switched to 6:30am .and it s approximately 20 to 25 mins distance on bicycle from my home . So i have to sleep at 9:00 at night and wake up at 5:30 o'clock.i know it s hard to wake up that much early bt I am practising bt havent succeed enough cause I need 8 to 9 hour sleep too after physical activity.i don't whether you believe or not but i practise alone whether it s bowling or throwing ball in the air and go for catch for fielding .

You passion is to be admired Rahul, but the fact remains that you have to play cricket. That is the minimum requirement for becoming a cricketer. No amount of practice alone can make up for not playing cricket. I hope you find a way.

Is there any way to go for professional cricket without going to coaching camp i mean instead i teach myself and can go further?

Is there any way to go for professional cricket without going to coaching camp i mean instead i teach myself and can go further?

You can teach yourself but you still have to actually play.

sir,i am 14 years of age I am frm India I haven't played at any.level can I become a professional cricketer

Sir iam 15 years old. iwant to be a part of womens cricket team of india but i havent attended any level but i know to play cricket

can I start my carrer at the age of 20 . I have not played for any club or any team. plz help me
thanks in advance. and regards

Hi, again , i want information about how we can self tech in cricket and go for selection without anyone reference(like college ,school or coaching camp).as I told before our college doesn't have cricket nor my school had bt I practise as per scheduled regularly and my everyday of practise is full of new challenge and adventures because i train myself much as sprinter.bt even coaching camp coaches don't give info to us how we can go for selection and unfortunately not even college . So can you suggest that if one practises everyday than where can he go for selection? I know you might say you'll need coach . Bt what I think is my curiosity to figure out and continuity is best teacher of myself.if runner participates in race and he doesn't have coach doesn't mean he can't participate in Olympic even if he can complete 100 m in 10secs. So, there must be way to participate for cricket, or inquire somewhere where we can get this information. You have any idea?. Cause my mind is empty regarding this info. And i don't want to give up cricket anyway cause nw my learning style is kinesthetic and i like that way a lot and i like curiosity a lot.

Small progression report:
I learned aztac push up,around the world push up,one arm push up too.
Right now learning.(working since 2 week )
Handstand Push up.

I m not fully agree with this article . Because if anyone follows my schedule regularly anyone can gain fast twitch muscle fast and gain asthlateism from their heart naturally. all you need is get trained like a athlete and increase your vertical . And in my jump practise i can do more explosive jumps than my 14 year bro.because i hv built up jump endurance. And I m 18.78.my standing broad jump is exactly 10feet.

hi there , i m 25 , and i played cricket before and now m working . but still want to play cricket , i m a bowler . suggest me can i start cricket again .

hi david , i played cricket upto my school life and and that time i was opener fast bowler as well as striker batsman of my team and my feilding is so good that people used to call me magnet for the ball ...but due to some family problems after that i stop playing regularly...and now i m 26 and want to play international cricket ....tell me how can i make my dream come true?

I'm 26 Now. I was selected for District Level at the Age of 18 as a fast Bowler but i had to left the game for a while due to injury. At college level i played cricket for 2-3 years. My strengths were Outswinger and incutter, they were natural i can say. Now i want to join academy that can enhance my skills and strengths. My Run up is good and i want to work more on my inswinger.
It'll be really appericiable if you can help me out to get Trained in better Environment.

I am 19 years old.I am only played with soft ball.But now a days i am exersize & personal practice
starts.I am run 6 to 8 km daily,push up,weight lifting daily.so can i joint any club?can i select in IPL
& international level??How??

hi sir,
i want to know what is the selection process for ranji team in india. Is it required(compulsory) to play u-19&u-20 to that association to selected for ranji team .thank you.

Hi David, since my childhood its been my dream to become a professional cricketer and represent my country Bangladesh. I started playing cricket at the age of 5 and was in cricket academies. All my coaches always praised me and said you are the future, things like that which boosted my confidence a lot. Then at the age of 12 I moved from Bangladesh to new zealand for family reasons. I stayed at NZ for two years where I joined cricket academies and returned to Bangladesh. But after the age of 14 i quit cricket due to studies. Now I am 19 and wanna get back at cricket and start practicing every single day, work very hard. But do you think I can make it to the top level? I am moving to new zealand next year, start playing again. But I am overweight now standing on 120kg 5.8 inch height. Certainly, I have the determination and the will to become a top cricketer. Do you think I can make it?

Cheers
Rahman SI

Hi David,

I am 21years old from India.and i Want to be a Cricketer..Tats my Passion and love from my Childhood..Even if someone wakes me up at
the middle Of the night and asks me to play
Cricket ...I Do..I just loves to hold the bad all the
Time..I am such a class batsman my frnds
Always used To tell tat my style resembles
Like a professional cricketer..I love to Bat for
A long and its hard to get me out ...I played with
Ma friends oly..so i like to start my career ...
So plz suggest me something...

Gday David.

I'm shortly going to be turning 14 but have not tried out for any of the representative squads.
I'm getting private coaching by a man who has coached first grade teams to victory. Should I be trying out for these squads???

Yes, you should play at the highest level you are capable of playing. If you have any ambition that is essential.

hi david

i played cricket for the first time wen i was 13 years old in a summer camp for around a month , at the end of the summer camp my coach told me that i have that caliber and talent in the game and that i play pretty well , i was batsmen at that time. but due to some financial and family problem i cudnt continue to play cricket. now i m 19 and the last time i played cricket was in that summer camp i.e nearly 5 and half years back wen i was 13. last week i joined a cricket academy. i got to bat twice in nets form the day i have joined that academy i.e last week once and this once
and on both occasion i was bowled out thrice in around 30 balls that i played. so can u plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz suggest me that should i continue to play cricket plzzzz help me david. what should i do plzzzzz give me ur suggestion. i badly need help

Hi David

My name is prabhdeep.I am 20 years old.I am playing cricket for 17 years.My father used to play club matches in his era.I used to play cricket with my brother when i was in India.Now i am in canada for 1 year.I am familiar of playing cricket with cork ball and leather ball.My strength is my defending.But now, I am out of practice for almost 1 year.Now I have gained some weight too.But,I have immense love for cricket.I have a stamina of playing cricket for almost 6 hours.Is there any chances for me to become a cricketer.

My question is pretty same as rahul there are many coaches here who would back those students who are financially loaded while poor students (but talented)in their camp simply get aged without any chance.

Say in studies we fill up a form of this & that exam prepare for this exam either in college, coaching, or SELF STUDY then give the exam to prove that i am really worthy & not big mouth. And no one can say that i am not good or ready yet- i have my marksheet in my hand.

My question is very simple- is there some sort of test that i can apply for and then prove that i am good in real world and not blabbering- WITHOUT the recommendation of these coaches(i know some coaches are still honest but let's face it- it has become a money buisness this cricket & i have seen it that sometimes talent stays behind if its poor[& they(bcci and mr msd) complain about lack of talent and all-rounders].

P.s- i have to ask dhoni says he is 30 something(with that white beard) and sachin is 40 something(dozens of people i know are about 45 and look much younger than him now i love and respect them but i simply can't believe their age- So how do they do it-cut down 10 years in their resume and please forgive me if i am wrong. I love them whatever the age, just curious:-)

Hi I just started playing cricket at the age of 14. I really want to become a professional cricketer and get into county. I am a right arm leg spinner as well. I wanted to know how long it would take me to be very good

hai david,

I have read ur article its amazing.It cleared my vision about age barrier by example of Dirk Nannes . And I got inspired by myself to be profestional from my college day matches everyone clapped about my performance. And on my village matches, every people talking about me, to my parents.THIS things inspired me.BUT the matter is I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START.I am athletics,right arm fast bowler,and batsmen.

By
SUDARSHAN
PH:9976683970

hi im saad,im 18 and playing cricket at college level and studying.After 2 year can i make it to international level?

Can i start my cricket career after 22 .i m ready to work hard because my intrest in cricket is too high as compared to study in ratio like 5:1

I want to become a cricketer .my age is 16 but i m not getting the idea how to join it and become international player I m inspired by Virat kohli I want to be a next Virat kohli so please do something for me

I want to be a speed bowler for team india but i can't be educated because of some problem my age is 13 and my height is 5.9 feet could it be possible to be a cricketer

Hi David sir,
I am 16.i am getting training in academy.i am also playing league matches ..my average is 32 and my bowling average is 26....but i am not selected for districts this academic year........i will be going on practising for improving my skills................can i become a professional cricketer

can i have some guidence how to play fo clubs plz can u help me

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