Plans afoot to build new NCA

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly (left) and secretary Jay Shah arrive at the Chinnaswamy Stadium to meet NCA head Rahul Dravid. DH PHOTO/ PUSHKAR V

The new BCCI regime, under the stewardship of Sourav Ganguly, met NCA head Rahul Dravid here on Wednesday where the Indian batting legend spoke about taking the academy back to its roots and building a new world-class facility at Devanahalli.

President Ganguly, vice-president Mahim Verma, secretary Jay Shah, joint-secretary Jayesh George and treasurer Arun Dhumal met Dravid, NCA CEO Tufan Ghosh and a couple of other people involved in building the new NCA. The meeting began around noon and lasted for a couple of hours where Dravid unveiled his ambitious plans in changing the image of NCA.

"The NCA has turned into a rehab centre but Dravid wants to make it into a Centre of Excellence which it used to be originally," said one of the office bearers. "He focussed largely on developing grass-root talent which is very essential. He also spoke about developing coaches at the grass-root level as he feels kids should be getting expert coaching. He repeatedly stressed on harnessing talent at age-group level. He feels once talent at grass-root level is strong, the national team will also be strong."

Another office-bearer revealed that the blueprint for the new NCA facility in Devanahalli was also discussed. The BCCI in 2017 completed the acquisition of around 45 acres in Devanahalli Aerospace Park region but couldn't proceed further owing to the administrative mess it had gotten into. Now that things are back to normalcy, the Board wants to start the construction as soon as possible.

"We, along with Dravid, want to take Indian cricket forward and building a world-class state-of-the-art NCA is one of our primary objectives," said the office-bearer. "Currently NCA is sharing the property with KSCA and space is limited and (the development) is stagnated. It has turned into a rehab centre and all of us want to change that. We want it to be a breeding ground of talent rather than just a rehab centre. Dravid is determined to improve grass-root and junior talent and we are also in sync with his ideas. Now that a proper (elected body) is in place, we want to start construction work on the new NCA as soon as possible."

Asked as to when the construction would begin, the office bearer said Wednesday's talks were just the first round and a lot of things need to be put in place. "All of us are happy with the various presentations made. But there are plenty of stakeholders and they need to be consulted. After which we will place the idea before the Apex Council which will decide on the matter. But one thing for sure, we are determined to have a new world-class NCA functioning. We have the land and the blueprint ready."

Sources revealed that Ganguly made a short visit to inspect the site at Devanahalli before flying back to Kolkata.

Sub-air discussion

Post the NCA meeting, Ganguly and Co also met KSCA secretary Santosh Menon and treasurer Vinay Mruthyunjaya where the State association gave a demonstration of its much-appreciated sub-air system. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel were also present during the demonstration.

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