May 4, 2001

Dungarpur happy with facilities at North Zone academy

National Cricket Academy chairman Raj Singh Dungarpur on Thursday brushed aside controversy regarding the appointment of a fifth coach in the North Zone academy in New Delhi, focussing his attention on the more basic issues of the facilities and training methods instead.

"Everything has been sorted out. There is no controversy... All our efforts are now on providing the best training to the youngsters," Dungarpur told reporters after an inspection of the Ferozshah Kotla grounds, the site of the zonal cricket academy.

The former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who is on an inspection tour of all the five zonal academies which have been set up on lines of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, expressed happiness with the facilities provided at the academy.

"There were some apprehensions regarding the choice of Delhi in preference to Mohali for the North Zone academy. In fact, I was more inclined towards Mohali but after seeing the excellent facilities and infrastructure here, I think we haven't made a wrong choice," Dungarpur said.

Dungarpur had a few encouraging words for the trainees and asked them to take full advantage of the opportunity provided to them. "It's a great opportunity for the youngsters. I hope we will have groomed some good players keeping in mind the 2003 World Cup in South Africa," he said.

Dungarpur said he would not be going to the East Zone academy in Kolkata and South Zone academy in Chennai as he was assured of the good facilities at those centres.

The BCCI consultant and former Australian opener Geoff Marsh also expressed satisfaction with infrastructure at the academy and said the conditions were ideal for grooming young players into professional cricketers. "The facilities are fantastic. We have a good pitch, former Test cricketers as coaches, an excellent gym and swimming pool for physical fitness and above all 20 talented and bright youngsters," he said.

Marsh said the board had embarked on a right plan of training future cricketers and should be patient and stick to it. "We have got the plan and basics right. Now we should stick to the plan though we also need to be flexible at the same time in that we should be receptive to new and fresh ideas," he said.