An ambitious project to change the profile of Kerala Cricket
Kerala Cricket Association was formed in the year 1951 and registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act 1955 (Act XII of 1955).
Kerala Cricket Association was formed in the year 1951 and is affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Kerala State Sports Authority (KSSA) in the State. There are fourteen district cricket association affiliated to it.
As its inception in 1951 it was known as the Travancore-Cochin Cricket Association. Today it is one of the premier state sports associations in Kerala, affiliated to BCCI and Kerala State Sports Authority. Kerala State also has a large following for the game of cricket as in other parts of the country. Unfortunately for us, the vagaries of the weather have affected the development of the game in the state; the prolonged rainy season has been a matter of concern to the administrators and players, who are unable to keep in good nick because of the wet and uncertain climate. The development of infrastructure has been pivotal in the process. Indoor practice facilities have been few and far between, so practicing in the rains is out of the question. Even proper grounds and stadiums are hard to come by the result is backwardness in the progress of the game in the state.
Mission – 2020 is a master plan that is guaranteed to change the profile of the game in the state, by the year 2020. It envisages the following:-
1. Multiple venues for first class cricket in all the fourteen districts of Kerala.
2. To have cricket academies in all zones i.e. North, South and Centre.
3. To have more than one cricket hosted in every district of the state.
4. To produce at least one cricketer at the national level, who would represent the country in the next five years.
5. To graduate from plate group in Ranji Trophy to elite group, within the next years.
6. To ensure continuous up gradation of players, coaches, umpires, video analysts and physios to improve the quality of the game in the state.
7. To develop a programme of cricket@school to ensure healthy development of cricket at school level, by tapping the physical education teachers of schools, through seminars conducted in each district.
8. To conduct a super league with the inclusion of winners and runners up from weaker districts.
9. To conduct inter district and intra district schools tournaments.
10. To conduct an All India Invitation Cricket Tournament in the state.
11. To conduct a state level tournament along with district level tournaments.
12. To have rural coaching centres in all districts, where coaches would be employed to oversee the district and rural coaching facilities.
13. To develop a cricket culture in the state which would go a long way to complement the other programmes of Mission-2020
Multiple Cricketing Venues in Districts
Kerala Cricket Associations programmes can never bear fruit if multiple venues are not established for the conduct of intra district, inter district, inter schools and state league and district league matches. It is of paramount importance to the development of cricket in the state that multiple venues are available not only for the conduct of matches but also for practice of the players. It is envisaged that cricket development amongst youngsters takes place in the vicinity of cricketing infrastructure. We have come to see the growth of this phenomenon. It will also see the growth of a cricket culture in the state which suffers from want of a venue and sufficient grounds at any given point of time. The growth of cricketing venues is synonymous with the development of the game and the growth of a cricket culture in the area.
Zonal Cricket Academies
Cricket Academies and Sports Hostels (CASH – Kerala) are an integral part of Mission – 2020 and is the back bone of the development of future talent and a feeder for the state and may be even the national team in the future. It is proposed to start academies in three zones of north, south and central and at least two or more sports hostels in each district. The modus operandi of the CASH operations is as follows.
Boys in the age group of twelve, thirteen and fourteen are selected through state wide selection trials to attend the academies and hostels. The yearly intake of each of these academies and hostels is limited to fifteen each. The boys will be provided all facilities to develop cricketing talent and also continue their education in local schools. Kerala Cricket Association will take care of all the expenses that the boys will incur during training including food, clothing, lodging, transportation, cricketing gear. The boys in the academies and hostels will be in charge of a warden and two coaches. They would be expected to follow a strict cricketing regimen under the watchful eyes of the coaches, trainers, physios, video analysts and nutritionists who provide the best for them. At the end of a year there would be a performance evaluation and a weeding out of non-performers. The promising boys will be given specialized coaching and match practice and moulded to professional standards, keeping in mind that a cricketer cannot be produced overnight. The sports hostels also function in a similar manner, but the main difference is that the academies are run by the Kerala Cricket Association, but the sports hostels are run by schools and the boys are housed in the school hostels. KCA provides the facilities and pays for the upkeep of the boys and the support staff. KCA envisages the intake about sixty boys per year at the present time, when the two academies at Trivandrum and Ernakulam and two hostels at Mannanam and Mutholy are functional. The next year would see at least one academy becoming operational and at least three or four hostels which means another seventy five boys being trained. This kind of training is bound to show results and that is going to become apparent in a short while from now.
Cricket at school is an ambitious programme which is part of Mission-2020 and an important component in the development of the game in the state. It is a well known fact that cricket development has to start from a young age. Kerala Cricket Association has chalked out a programme that promises to produce first class cricketers who will bring laurels to the country. The modus operandi of the programme will be to identify schools which have cricketing infrastructure in their premises or who are amenable to the idea of promoting the game in the School and then invite the physical education teachers of such schools to participate in a cricket seminar in a district. The presentations would be made by a talent research and development officer, who would touch upon the advantages of the game and its development programme as envisaged by Kerala Cricket Association. There would also be a question and answer session which would clarify any doubts that the participants may have. A total of five schools would be identified in each district, per month for adoption; one of these schools would be girl’s school. Since the inception of the programme on 01st December 2008, KCA has conducted seminars in thirteen districts and the response was nothing short of overwhelming. The inclusion of at least one girl’s school in the programme is a fillip to the development of women’s cricket in the state, for which Kerala Cricket Association is now giving a lot of emphasis.
The concept of cricket hostels is part of Mission-2020 and a grass roots level programme designed to bring out talent from the rural and for flung areas of the state. The outlay for the sports hostels are not as much as the academies and the administration is in the hands of respective schools where the hostels are housed. Kerala Cricket Association would pay for the school fees, accommodation, cricketing gear, coaches and other related expenses that the boys may incur. The advantage of sports hostels are that KCA need not invest in infrastructure facilities that are already exist in the schools. KCA may help in the upkeep and up gradation of the facilities. It is easier to set up than an academy and it can be set up wherever there is a school with basic cricketing infrastructure and live in facilities; KCA may assist the school to enhance the facilities as it seems fit. School hostels can be converted fully or partly to sports hostels and it is very often possible in a short span of time. This programme is bound to rope in a large number of cricket aspirants as well as a large number of schools who would benefit from the superior coaching, better equipment, exposure to more tournaments and inclusion of boys and the institution in the mainstream of cricketing activity.
From Plate to Elite
The programme of Mission-2020 are so comprehensive that each one complements the other and are designed to achieve overall development and excellence in the long run.
It is a well known fact that cricket development can take place only in the formative years. Therefore programmes like cricket@school and CASH – Kerala concentrate on the boys and girls in the 12 to 14 years bracket, who have a very good chance of being moulded into future stars for the state. Comprehensive development and scientific exposure to the game will pay dividends in about five years time. Going by the law of averages, Kerala Cricket Association hopes to have enough talent to have at least two state teams, which can compete successfully at the national level in a short span of five years. Towards this end, infrastructure development is in full swing, stadiums are being constructed in major cities, grounds are being made in nearly every district, turf wickets are being laid where none existed before. This is being done on the premise that no cricketing talent can be developed without grounds and infrastructure. The Kerala Cricket Association has identified among other, the lack of indoor facilities for the debacle of the state teams. The weather pattern in the state is such that rain prevents play for a large part of the year. Therefore indoor practice facilities are mandatory if boys and girls should have adequate practice in the game. Towards this end the association has developed indoor practice facilities in many districts and it is on the anvil in many more districts of the state. This facility when available will ensure that cricketers can practice the game regardless of the vagaries of the weather. All these and other programmes that complement these will ensure that Kerala Cricket Association moves from plate to elite smoothly.
A Cricketer to Do the Nation Proud
One of the objectives of the Mission – 2020 is to produce at least one cricketer at the national level, who would represent the country in the next five years. The programmes of Kerala Cricket are on track, if it continues to maintain the same pace, then, there may be more than one cricketer from the state who may “do the nation proud”.
Continuous Updation of Technical Support
The quality of the game of cricket is dependent of a variety of factors. The coaches, trainers, umpires, video analysts and physios play an important role in the updation and up gradation of the game. Towards this end, Kerala Cricket Association is continuously engaged in conducting seminars, refresher courses and training quality personnel for these positions.
Training for Technical Personnel
Kerala Cricket Association has conducted ‘O’ Level courses for beginners and ‘A’ Level courses for personnel who had successfully completed ‘O’ Level courses of coaches and trainers. Recently KCA had also conducted a course in Kinanthropometry at KCA Headquarters by a world renowned international instructor in Kinanthropometry and exercise physiologist. Fifteen personnel from the association attended the course. Courses have also been conducted for umpires and other personnel. Kerala Cricket Association can justly be proud of the fact that it has been one of the few Associations who were instrumental in training the largest number of support personnel, whether at BCCI facilities or at its own premises.
It has been noticed that the league matches in the districts are not representative of all sections, very often the winners and runners up of the weaker districts do not get a chance to play in the state. Therefore, there is a plan to conduct a super league where the winners and runners up of the weaker districts are also given a chance to play with the winners and runners up of the stronger districts, so that they can have the exposure, necessary for all round development in the future.
Inter District and Intra District Schools Tournament
Kerala Cricket Association firmly beliefs that only exposure to matches can unearth talent and help to develop a cricket culture and camaraderie which will take deep roots in the sporting system of the state. This is also bring out talent and encourages other sports persons to take up the game in the state. This is bound to be a force multiplier and change the sporting scene of the state. This will also provide more and more opportunities for scorers, curators, umpires, coaches and other support staff in the state and district level. This will develop a cricket culture that will contribute to the development of the game as never before.
All India Invitation Cricket Tournament
It has been a long pending dream of Kerala Cricket Association to organize an All India Invitation Cricket Tournament. It is proposed to organize the tournament in the name of one of the mentors of Kerala Cricket namely Lt Col G V Raja.
The tournament is proposed to be conducted on a grand scale with invitations to all the major cricket teams in India and prize money would be awarded. This tournament is bound to give a fillip to cricketing activity in the state. The present infrastructure will be maintained and new infrastructure would also be developed. In addition to all these benefits, Kerala would also be listed in the front lines of cricketing states in India.
State and District Level Cricket Tournaments
Kerala Cricket Association would take the initiative to conduct state and district level cricket tournaments to increase the popularity of the game in the state. The districts would have to develop infrastructure capable of conducting first class venues. Multiple turf wickets have to be developed for the conduct of these tournaments. The winners/runners up would be eligible to participate in a state level tournament which would become part of the cricket calendar of the state and an annual event. These tournaments will increase the popularity of the game in the state induce more youngsters to take the game, develop infrastructure and put Kerala State on the map of cricketing states in the country. There will also be pressure on the powers that be to develop more cricket stadiums and grounds as would be necessary when the game would be played in that magnitude.
Rural and District Coaching Facilities
Kerala Cricket Association has always maintained that rural and district coaching centres should be established far and wide so that all and any player wishing to be exposed to the game is given the opportunity to do so. Therefore all district cricket associations would be encouraged to develop multiple coaching centres in the rural areas also. All coaching centres would oversee the training programmes. Those coaches would report any talent to the TRDO who would report to the Manager, game development and organization for further action.
Development of a Cricket Culture in the State
The development of a cricket culture in a state where hitherto none existed is a tall order. Development of infrastructure, conduct of matches, development of trained personnel like coaches, umpires, scorers, curators, video analysts, trainers and physios will have to done simultaneously along with the development of personnel. Cricket would be developed at school level and matches would have to be played in rural areas, district level, state level and zonal levels. The prominent tournaments would be conducted with great fanfare and prize money would be given and publicity would be given through the media. Prominent citizens would be invited to the tournaments and families would be encouraged to participate. Famous cricketers would be invited to these programmes and youngsters would be encouraged to interact with them. Corporate houses should be encouraged to sponsor tournaments and employ cricketers. These activities have commenced and a cricket culture has slowly started and it should develop in the state in due course of time.