NCA to hold open trials in four Indian states
The National Cricket Academy (NCA) will hold open trials for bowlers across four states in India, marking the first time it is giving young cricketers from outside the system an opportunity to earn a place in the academy. The NCA, established in 2000, has until now only included cricketers playing the BCCI's age-level domestic tournaments. Over the next few weeks, it will hold trials for fast bowlers and spinners in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kasmir, all states that are not traditionally cricketing strongholds.
Boys between the age of 17 and 22, who have not played in any BCCI-run tournament, will be eligible to attend the trials. Karsan Ghavri, bowling coach at the specialised fast-bowling academy in Chandigarh, and Yoginder Puri, former Himachal Pradesh medium-pacer, will supervise the trials and shortlist the bowlers for the NCA.
"The BCCI decided to find some young talent and I am sure we will definitely do some justice, and try and get some good young boys," Ghavri told ESPNcricinfo. He pointed out that their aim was to search for players who, despite never having played in a board-level tournament, "still have the strength and inclination to bowl quick or become a good spin bowler."
The decision was taken at the BCCI working committee meeting in Chennai. The trials come in the wake of India's successive series 0-4 Test series losses in England and Australia. India will also have a new bowling coach after the Australia tour, with Joe Dawes replacing Eric Simons.
In late December, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale had asked the five-man national selection panel to immediately pick a pool of fast bowlers that would act as bench-strength for the Indian team. The pool was to comprise players from India's state teams as well as Under-19 bowlers. The idea was based on a recommendation from Anil Kumble, before he resigned as NCA chairman in December.
Some of the other decisions aimed at improving Indian cricket, made at the BCCI working committee meeting, were to have India A and Under-19 tours to England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies; to found a new academy in Bangalore; and to use neutral venues for all Ranji Trophy matches.