I want to make India epicentre of cricket: Chappell

IANS | ByQaiser Mohammad Ali, Jaipur
Nov 17, 2007 09:24 PM IST

The former India coach speaks in his capacity as an advisor to Rajasthan's Future Cricket Academy.

Former India coach Greg Chappell said on Saturday that he wants to turn the country into the epicentre of the on-field game by spotting, moulding and training young talent through a nationwide search programme.

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Now an advisor to the Future Cricket Academy of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), Chappell said that he, along with bio-mechanist Ian Frazar, would be delighted to play a hand in India becoming a global cricketing power.

"India is the financial epicentre of cricket. I want it to be the epicentre on the field," Chappell said in his first interaction with the media since leaving the country after completion of his two-year eventful tenure as national coach in March.

Chappell was speaking, as passionately as ever, on the occasion of the launch of the academy as well the search programme devised by the London-based Emerging Media, a television media development company.

The former Australia captain said that his endeavour would be to mould the trainees into flexible and mentally strong players who could go on and play high grades of competitive game - and eventually play for India.

"My aim would be to make the players mentally strong and go beyond fear. Fear has no place in the game. They also have to be accountable, for themselves and for the team," he said, sitting along side his comrade-in-arms Frazer.

"Players need to be entertainers as much as cricketers," he said, referring to the Twenty20 format of the game.

He said in future players would have to be more flexible to adjust to the three formats - Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20.

Chappell would train the teenaged boys - picked from 16 cities by two unnamed former players - for six weeks at the academy at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.

The talent hunt, for which online registration started on www.cricketstar.tv Saturday, will also be aired in 16 episodes on TV.

Unlike chairman of Indian selection committee Dilip Vengsarkar, Chappell feels there is no dearth of talent in the country.

"We believe talent is not an issue in India, even athleticism is not an issue," he said, giving the example of the competent soldiers who form the Indian Army.

Comparing the present "exciting" era of the game to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket (WSC) of the 1970s in Australia, Chappell, who also played in that breakaway series, said that it would take three years for the fruits of the academy to bear.

"It will not be an overly long process. In three years you will see players coming through the academy," he said.

Among the facilities created at the academy is an obstacles course, on the lines of military or police training. The trainees will be trained to do rope climbing, net climbing and pit clearing amongst other hurdles to make them physically tough.

Chappell, however, declined to answer any controversial questions, even the one involving the one on Sachin Tendulkar's recent scores in 90s.

"It's a minor hiccup in his progress," he said.

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