No quality bowlers at all-batsmen academy

Net loss: After 2 years,BCCI wakes up to basic flaw with specialised academies

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Published: July 5, 2012 1:36:00 am

A couple of years after launching specialised academies — Mumbai (batting),Mohali (bowling ),Chennai (spin/wicket-keeping) — the BCCI has decided to spike the concept and bring all the facets of the game under one roof.

The move was recommended by a committee set up last year to assess the functioning of the three set-ups that failed to achieve its annual goals of producing young seasoned cricketers. The biggest flaw noticed by the committee,lay in the basic principle of specialised academies. With players of similar skill sets grouped together,an obvious problem surfaced. While the batsmen in Mumbai didn’t get an opportunity to face quality bowlers,conversely the bowlers in Mohali and Chennai had it too easy matching their wits against mediocre batsmen.

BCCI special academy chairman MP Pandove explains the problem: “There were complaints about coaches not being able to judge a fast bowler because of the low quality of batsmen they bowled to. While the batsmen had to be content with facing a bowling machine,” he told Indian Express.

The need to have a re-look at the existing academy structure was felt after BCCI found out that the bowlers brought in to bowl at the Mumbai’s batting training centre were not up to the mark and were usually picked randomly from the local maidans.

‘Need centralised approach’

Pandove goes on to add that a centralised approach is even logistically more convenient. For instance,Mohali,will now pander to all batsmen and bowlers hailing from Punjab,Haryana,Himachal Pradesh,J&K,Services,UP,Railways,Rajasthan and Delhi. Pandove is confident that the board’s new recommendation has the potential to bring more players into the fold,while also widening its reach.

“As we have divided 27 states in three parts,each academy will now handle more boys. Even coaches have been distributed accordingly. We will have more options and this will save us time too,” Pandove added. The introduction of these specialist academies had also influenced the BCCI to discontinue the Gavaskar-Border Scholarship last year.

Some,however,wonder whether just restructuring is enough to solve the issue. A junior player,on the condition of anonymity,said that more problems needs to be addressed. “The main aim of these specialist academies was to monitor each player’s progress and see to it that a particular batsman or bowler is constantly improving and not repeating errors. Sadly this is not happening in these academies,” a source said.

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