The Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) has initiated a process that will see some tangible action in terms of development in the neglected North-East region of the country.
A board official who attended a recently-held meeting of the National Cricket Academy(NCA) in the capital said that the board is planning to launch a cricket academy in either Shillong or Dimapur by as soon as next month.
Board officials confirmed that before the launch of this academy there will be selection trials in North-East, followed by a camp,for which the coaches will be provided by the NCA.
“We plan to hold the selection trials in the first week of May and start the camp soon after. Our curator Ashish Bhow mik (member of the BCCI pitches and grounds committee) is in Shillong today (Thursday) to see its preparedness in holding the camp. He’ll be visiting Dimapur on Friday to assess the situation there. After he submits his report on April 30, either of these places could hold the camp next month,” said a source in the NCA.
Confirming this move, BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur told TOI on Thursday, “Since I’ve been the BCCI secretary , I have visited the North East and checked the ground reality, and for the past six-seven months, we’ve been discussing various strategies that can work best in the region keeping in mind the pool of talent and the logistics available there. It’s been an ongoing discussion. At the recently-held meeting in New Delhi, members of the NCA committee looked at all the options and decided to go ahead with this idea of looking into launching a full-time academy under the aegis of NCA.”
When asked whether the BCCI was taking this step to fall in line with the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, Thakur said: “In cricket, all the camps or activities start around this time of the year. Combining this with the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations is a mere coincidence.”
Elaborating on what the next step would be in this direction, Thakur said: “Everything would be done in a proper, structured manner with short term and long term plans. To start with, we’ll conduct trials in various centres to cover the talent in the entire region and get the best of the lot to the camp. Based on the response of this camp, we intend to start a full-time North-East Academy .
“We’re planning to make a combined North-East team and make them play Under-19 and Under-16 nationals this year. I’ll personally request our cricketing greats to visit the camp and academy in N-E to inspire the cricketers from the region. Talented players will be provided exposure in some of our established academies in the bigger centres,” he said.