Sourav Ganguly has had an action-packed schedule since taking over the reins of BCCI President, he has already green-lit the historic day-night pink ball test all set to be played at Eden Gardens against Bangladesh. Ganguly has already conveyed to skipper Virat Kohli and his teammates that he expects a shiny ICC silverware trophy in the cabinet which has been amiss for the last 7 tournaments and that performance is the most important thing that will decide the future of Indian cricket. He has wasted no time mincing words and made it clear that he means business and no fuss. Now the former Indian captain has shifted his focus to National Cricket Academy (NCA) and is looking to revamp it completely with Rahul Dravid at the helm of affairs at NCA. The Wall, former India A, and U19 coach took charge as NCA chief in July and has already chalked out a roadmap for its development.
The NCA was established in 2000 to nurture top young talents, with the potential to represent India in the future. Of late, the institution which earlier used to be a supply line for the senior Indian cricket has been reduced to a rehabilitation center for the injured players going through some kind of niggle or another. Now that Ganguly has taken charge of the BCCI, former greats and Ganguly’s teammates like VVS Laxman are expecting an overhaul as Laxman had urged that the NCA be transformed into a Centre of Excellence, while the Indian coach Ravi Shastri said “With Sourav as president and Rahul at NCA, what better combination can Indian cricket ask for?” The cricket board has all the space to build a state-of-the-art cricket centre as BCCI had acquired 40-acre land under Niranjan Shah (former BCCI secretary and National Cricket Academy Chairman) for the development of NCA near the Bangalore airport which has been lying idle since then. Since the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by Supreme Court took over, the NCA was totally neglected for three years and despite having already purchased the land, no further development took place.
BCCI under Ganguly is mulling to transform NCA in Bengaluru into a state-of-the-art facility on the lines of Cricket Australia’s High-Performance Centre in Brisbane. On Wednesday, Ganguly and other newly-elected office-bearers of the BCCI met the NCA members, including Dravid to discuss the matter.
“Yes I’ve plans to revive NCA and I’m going to Bengaluru on October 30,” Ganguly had made his intentions clear while speaking to PTI before his October 30 meeting with Dravid.
Ganguly, along with the officials of the National Cricket Academy, also visited the proposed land for building a new NCA facility near Bengaluru. The proposed NCA project should be adequate to accommodate three grounds, indoor nets, administrative buildings, and a residential complex. The allotted land is believed to be on a 99-year lease. “Kohli is also very passionate about the NCA. We will try our best to transform it,” Ganguly said on Thursday after the meeting. He also said that a system will be created where head coach Ravi Shastri gets to spend more time at the NCA. “To convert the NCA into a Centre of Excellence was our dream. There should be two-three Ranji Trophy-level cricket grounds so that a lot of matches can be played. You need a hostel with 50-60 rooms and nice catering services, lots of practice pitches, indoor practice nets, top physios, sports medicine centre. Bangalore was chosen for the NCA because of its weather. We (BCCI) need our own entity at the NCA. We already budgeted Rs 100 crore for the making (overhaul) of the NCA. After 10 years of hard work we could acquire the land,” Niranjan Shah had told The Indian Express.
It augurs well for the Indian Cricketing setup that its board’s President is proactive regarding the development of National Cricket Academy and given Ganguly’s stellar administrative record while handling cricketing affairs at Cricket Association of Bengal as its President, it looks like the BCCI is heading in the right direction under his tutelage.