The specialised academies, started by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in May 2010, have ceased to exist. Instead, the board has converted them into full-fledged general academies. The decision was taken a few months back by the board’s working committee and has been implemented.
As a consequence, the academies — in Mumbai, Chennai and Mohali — will provide coaching in all aspects of the game — bowling (spin and fast), batting, fielding and wicketkeeping. Previously, Mumbai catered to batting, Mohali bowling, and spin and wicketkeeping Chennai.
The decision to broadbase the unifocal academies came after an understanding of the ground situation that without batsmen to bowl to, the wards at the bowling academy will have no real experience of bowliang and vice-versa. “Without batsmen, how can a bowler test his skills?” asked a BCCI official, justifying the conversion.
But the BCCI has taken a series of steps to streamline the academies. At least three coaches, besides a physio and a video analyst, will be available at each academy at any point of time. Besides, the board wants to keep the academies operational for at least 300 days a year. Each academy has been given an annual grant of Rs 25 lakh.
The 27 playing associations affiliated to the BCCI are divided into three groups and nine associations are attached to one academy. Apart from the five West Zone states — Mumbai, Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda — four more state associations — Hyderabad, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha — are attached to the academy based in Mumbai.
The onus of selecting wards for the academy are on the junior selectors who pick players from the different age groups (Under-19, -22 and -25). About 20-25 boys form a batch and practise for about a month. Currently, pace bowlers (picked via an open selection done by the BCCI some time back) are taking lessons at the academies.