Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which runs the game in the country, is set to open academies for fast bowlers at Mohali, for spinners and wicket keepers in Chennai, and for batsmen in Mumbai to unearth fresh talent to feed its burgeoning calendar.
The academies will give specialized training to promising youngsters and could feed BCCI’s various upcoming properties. Apart from the Indian Premier League (IPL), the BCCI roster includes the ongoing Champions Trophy, the Champions League, and a series line-up to be aired on the Neo Sports television channel.
Training talent: BCCI’s Rajeev Shukla says the board has just decided on training centres and the final modalities are yet to be worked out. Rajesh Kashyap / Hindustan Times.
“We have just decided on these training centres and the final m odalities are yet to be worked out,” said Rajeev Shukla, BCCI vice-president. “The structure and the investment etc., we are yet to put in place.”
BCCI already runs the National Cricket Academy (NCA), which was established at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in 2000.
How these academies would work with NCA and the reporting structure are still being decided on, Shukla said.
New facilities are welcome but would not necessarily address logistical challenges in handling young players, said former Mumbai captain and selector Shishir Hattangadi.
“The BCCI has made available the water, but how will it get the horses to drink? Most of these players come with packed schedules (thanks to the domestic cricket calendar) and it’s difficult to” get them together over extended periods of time, unless it is off-season, he said. “Also, whoever’s in charge of these academies would have to go nationwide to scout the right kind of talent and to own it over long periods.”
Hattangadi doesn’t see any conflict of interest between the training academies and NCA. “The NCA has its own culture and ethos when it comes to training talent. I think that these academies are more likely to be subsidiaries of the NCA and would only help feed it.”
M. Darshan, vice-president (commercial operations) of IPL’s Hyderabad franchise, the Deccan Chargers, said NCA could only do so much in a country of one billion people. BCCI with its packed calendar of events would need new and better talent to feed it, he said.
These academies will allow a lot of aspiring players access to training facilities, said Mahesh Ranka, general manager, Relay, the sports unit of media specialist Starcom MediaVest Group.
A scientific approach is key, Ranka said. “Refining raw talent is what the BCCI needs” to do, he said.
The facilities may bring more local talent to the forefront. IPL, for instance, can no longer be called a domestic tournament with its complement of overseas players. India needs local players who can match up to world standards, Ranka said.
The calendar year will attract cricket advertising revenue of about Rs1,200 crore, Lodestar Universal Pvt. Ltd’s chief executive Shashi Sinha had told Mint earlier. The number had never crossed Rs500 crore in previous years, he said.
BCCI at its annual general meeting in Mumbai recently reported a drop in the last fiscal year’s profit to the tune of Rs130 crore, which included a Rs45 crore decline in the second season of IPL. Income dropped from Rs1,000 crore in fiscal year 2008 to Rs725 crore in fiscal year 2009.
The body has also been in the news for its recent spat with events management company IMG over fees and the subsequent resolution of that dispute. While IMG will be paid Rs33 crore for its work on the second season of IPL in South Africa earlier this year, it will get a fixed Rs27 crore as annual fee for the next eight years of the contract.