Hyderabad: Faced with declining standards among the various age-group teams, the Hyderabad Cricket Association has turned to a professional approach to shape up players for future. The Hyderabad Cricket Academy of Excellence headed by former cricketer M.V. Narasimha ‘Bobby’ Rao is entrusted with the task of enhancing the physical fitness, skill level and mental toughness of players from the U-16, U-19, U-23 and the Ranji Trophy sides.
“We employ a holistic approach to the task on hand,” said Bobby, explaining physiological as well as psychological assessment, biomechanics and other modern technological tools that are in play at the Gymkhana ground, where HCAE is based. According to Bobby, each player is being assessed individually, tightly monitored and administered a custom-specific diet to suit his body composition. “The endeavour is to strengthen the pool of players (currently 90) to build better teams in future. It may not happen overnight but we are hopeful of contributing to the cause of Hyderabad cricket. It’s a 24x7 effort through the year,” said Bobby who was worked with Ireland and English cricket boards in coaching capacities.
The current project that started in February, will culminate in September — in time for the domestic first class season. Bobby says the players should be well-prepared. “Different type of pitches at the Gymkhana nets provide for simulated conditions for the trainees. Also, workshops are being conducted regularly to beat down team strategy and code of conduct.” HCA president Arshad Ayub pointed to the zest present-day youngsters. “The zeal of Virat Kohli who batted brilliantly (he scored a century in the IPL) with seven stitches on his hand and also caught crucial catches is an inspiration. That’s the kind of cricket we are looking at... supremely fit,” he said.
“The work ethic and discipline of the players is matchless,” Arshad observed, adding “they are eager to push the limits. It’s heartening to see the changes. We’re on the right track to have two or three players from Hyderabad playing for India in the future.” Arshad also spoke of plans to develop grounds in the districts and build a talent pool there. Admitting to falling standards in the Hyderabad league, he assured the HCA was working on a format to make it as competitive as possible....