December 7, 2008

Australia's loss, India's gain?

Jamie Alter

Neil D'Costa, a former Sydney grade cricketer, found his niche as a coach of emerging talented players and among his notable pupils are Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke and New South Wales batsman Phillip Hughes.

But he finds himself on the verge of accepting the position of batting coach at a Nagpur academy at the request of Indian board president Shashank Manohar. "There's no jobs here for me," D'Costa, who runs a private coaching school, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I'm not recognised by any governing body here. I've only been able to get recognition by the work I do privately. I've never been asked by NSW to coach at any level worth talking about and I've never been spoken to by Cricket Australia. There's been no recognition that I've helped develop Clarke or Hughes or any other guys."

While he would rather work in his own country, D'Costa said there was "little or no chance" for coaches unless they had played first-class cricket. "Troy Cooley had to go overseas, that's how he made his name. The BCCI is impressed by what I've done developing juniors, and going there could be a good option for my family," said D'Costa.

Former Indian Test player Subroto Banerjee, who works with D'Costa, said the BCCI wanted to make Nagpur the best academy in India. "The big names are all trying to get in at Nagpur. People like [David] Gower and [Viv] Richards are great names and can give talks about experience but for coaching [at the] grassroots, you need coaches like Neil."

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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