August 24, 2003

Queensland to host Cricket Centre of Excellence

Cricket Australia today announced that Queensland has been selected as the base to host the new multi-faceted cricket institution, the Cricket Centre of Excellence.

The Cricket Centre of Excellence, which will incorporate the current Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy (CBCA) as its key pillar, is expected to be operational from April 2004 with the first academy intake.

The choice of host was approved by Cricket Australia directors at a board meeting yesterday (23 August), following advice presented to them by a specially appointed recommendation committee.

The independent recommendation committee, comprising cricket experts, was assembled in October 2002 to set the key selection criteria and evaluate all proposals submitted to host the Centre of Excellence.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the planned Cricket Centre of Excellence was one of Australian cricket's most significant undertakings, and would build on the success of the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy.

"The Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy has served as an outstanding finishing school for our elite cricketers for the past 15 years, playing a crucial role in the success of Australian teams and competitions during this time," Mr Sutherland said.

"But a recent review of the academy showed it was no longer the sole provider of that function, with many other quality development programs around the country maturing and ultimately competing with the academy program.

"Just as it was a pioneering concept in 1987, we now need to ensure that the academy and other high performance programs remain at the cutting-edge of game development to maintain Australia's position as one of the world's leading cricket nations.

"The planned Cricket Centre of Excellence will be one of the most important and significant developments for Australian cricket, and will benefit not only players, but coaches, umpires, curators and administrators.

"The Cricket Centre of Excellence represents the future direction for Australian cricket."

The Centre of Excellence will incorporate the current academy program, and will be expanded to include four critical core functions:

  • a player development unit;
  • a sports science and medicine unit;
  • an information resource centre; and
  • a coaching, umpiring, administration and curator unit.

Mr Sutherland said the two-year search to find a base to host the Cricket Centre of Excellence had been an extensive and in-depth process.

"The search to find a base for the Centre of Excellence has followed a most comprehensive and thorough approach, ensuring we reach the best possible outcome for the future of Australian cricket," Mr Sutherland added.

"That process involved establishing what we need to take the academy forward, determining selection criteria and a system to fairly evaluate the proposals we received.

"Adelaide has been a magnificent home for the academy for the past 15 years, and we appreciate the work and role of all those involved, particularly the staff at the South Australian Cricket Association.

"But our requirements have changed and the new base in Queensland provides us with the most suitable facilities and arrangements to operate the academy program and broaden the concept of a finishing school to encompass and involve other important aspects of cricket," said Mr Sutherland.

Cricket Australia received eight submissions from various proponents around the nation keen to host the Cricket Centre of Excellence, including the South Australian Cricket Association whose strong bid was short listed.

The selection criteria to host the Cricket Centre of Excellence was based on the need for it to be a world-class, integrated, centralised institution incorporating facilities for training and playing cricket, administration, medical services, accommodation and other services.

A key requirement was for the location of the Centre to provide for outdoor training facilities to be used on a consistent basis during the winter period.

The Australian Institute of Sport and the Commonwealth Bank - the academy's principal sponsor - have confirmed their support for the move as a positive development for Australian cricket.

The recommendation committee comprised former Cricket Australia Chairman Denis Rogers, former International Cricket Council President Malcolm Gray, former Australian players Mark Taylor and Ian Healy, and national selector Andrew Hilditch.