Indian cricket June 11, 2005

MRF and NCA to tie up?

Cricinfo staff

'Young bowlers will get a great chance to interact with experts like Dennis Lillie,' says TA Sekhar © Getty Images

The National Cricket Academy (NCA), based in Bangalore, and the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, are moving towards forming an official partnership with regard to coaching of fast bowlers. The links between the NCA and MRF Pace Foundation have so far existed on only an individual, ad-hoc basis without official partner status from the BCCI.

An official partnership between the two top finishing schools in the country can only benefit fast bowlers around the country, feels TA Sekhar, the chief coach at the MRF Pace Foundation. "We are an international brand," Sekhar told Cricinfo, "and we assist in the improvement of fast bowlers from all parts of the world. The bowlers get to meet experts like Dennis Lillie also. So when bowlers from other countries are utilising our resources, why not have an official agreement with regard to our own bowlers?"

The news came in the wake of the Pakistan board considering sending a crop of upcoming fast bowlers to train under Dennis Lillee at the Pace Foundation. Currently the best bowlers from the NCA train at the Pace Foundation but the scheme is carried out for only five to six weeks. Sekhar felt that a longer stint with specialist coaches would benefit the bowlers. Brijesh Patel, the chairman of the NCA, said that the association had resulted in positive results over the last few years. "Several bowlers have benefited from the scheme," he said, "and gained valuable insights from some of the best coaches of fast bowling."

A few days back Patel had also mooted a plan to select a pool of 15 bowlers to travel with the Indian team to bowl at the players nets. While terming an official partnership as a "move worth considering", SK Nair, the secretary of the board, said that the matter hadn't been discussed by the BCCI yet.