Kumble, Srinath jump to NCA’s rescue

After a fraud land deal dealt a huge blow to Indian cricket board’s plan to set up the National Cricket Academy on a bigger scale, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has come to its rescue.

The BCCI lost a whopping R50 crore on a dubious 49-acre land deal that they bought from the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board at a place called Kurki, near the Bangalore airport.

While the BCCI is mulling to move court after the Karnataka High Court ruled the deal as illegal, the board’s search for an alternative venue to house the academy may end soon.

In the NCA committee meeting held in Bangalore last week, two of the special invitees Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath - the president and secretary of the KSCA respectively - made a presentation to the members on setting up the academy at state association’s newly developed facility.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association acquired the Alur land in the early 2000s, and it wasn’t put to use till Kumble and Co took over. Under the former India captain, KSCA has built an impressive facility on a 33-acre land in Alur, on the outskirts of Bangalore, an hour and half drive from the city centre. HT has learnt that Kumble has offered the BCCI to share half of KSCA’s facility, which has 20 turf pitches, including three Test-standard grounds.

BCCI’s general manager, Game Development Ratnakar Shetty confirmed the offer from KSCA. “A presentation was made by Kumble and Srinath, where they made a proposal to set up the academy in Alur,” Shetty told HT. “The NCA board has forwarded the proposal to the BCCI’s working committee,” he added.

Inaugurated in June 2012, the Alur facility now houses the KSCA Academy, headed by Gundappa Viswanath. If the BCCI’s working committee gives the nod, then Kumble has proposed to build a gymnasium, swimming pool and other facilities within six months for NCA.

This is a positive step for the NCA, which has been in the news for wrong reasons in the past few months. With no proper vision, the academy is badly in need to be put in order.

Since Sandeep Patil relinquished his post as the director of the academy after he was appointed chairman of the national selectors last October, NCA has lost its way.

The escalating costs meant the board sacked many of its staff and now with two head coaches - Bharath Arun and Dinesh Nanavati - also resigning, the academy is in critical state.

Now with the existing academy reduced to abandoned child, the crying need is for the BCCI to have a fresh approach to set the NCA in order.