World Cup 2011 March 17, 2011

Lee looks to the next generation

It would be easy enough for players at the World Cup to get bogged down in planning for their next game, without looking at life outside the tournament

It would be easy enough for players at the World Cup to get bogged down in planning for their next game, without looking at life outside the tournament. Not Brett Lee. This week in Bangalore the Australians had two matches within four days, but in between the games Lee found time to spend an hour chatting about cricket with Dev Alimchandani.

Dev is completing the first level of the Cricket Education Program, a schools-based cricket coaching course that guides children aged up to 14 through six levels of cricket skills work. Lee is the ambassador for the program, which was developed by Cricket Australia, and he says there’s more to it than just sport.

“With the CEP, to me it’s all about giving kids an opportunity,” Lee says. “You just see the way these young kids can actually benefit from the program, but it’s not just about cricket, it’s about education as well, and about life skills.

“It’s about helping the young guys come through. I’ve got a young boy [four-year-old son Preston] at home. Whether he chooses one day to play cricket or go into something else, it doesn’t really matter. Just as long as they’re being active.”

Dev was the lucky student flown in from Mumbai to meet Lee after impressing the Cricket India Academy, which runs the program, with his efforts in a double-wicket tournament and skills events. The program runs at nine locations across Mumbai and Pune and is set to expand into Jaipur in the coming months.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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