Brijesh Patel set to be NCA director
Brijesh Patel, the former India opener, is set to occupy the position of the National Cricket Academy director, which has been vacant for more than a year and half. This will be Patel's second stint as NCA director, after serving between 2001 to 2004, during the early years of the academy.
The decision was taken during the NCA Board meeting that was held in Bangalore on Friday. Patel, who heads Royal Challengers Bangalore's cricket operations, will take charge soon after the conclusion of the IPL.
The NCA director's post has been vacant since Sandeep Patil was appointed as the chairman of the national selection panel in October 2012. It is understood that the BCCI hierarchy were trying to convince Rahul Dravid to take over from Patil. Once the talks with Dravid didn't materialise, Patel's name came up next as the NCA Board preferred a candidate based in Bangalore. Patel, who took over the Karnataka State Cricket Association administration last year thus realigning himself with the BCCI bosses, was thus a "natural choice", according to an NCA Board member.
The NCA, which has primarily been converted into a rehab centre for centrally-contracted players of the BCCI, has been in a transition phase for almost a year. NCA chairman TC Mathew has been wanting to implement the plan set in motion by his predecessor Ranjib Biswal to set up five zonal academies and streamline coaching methods to avoid junior cricketers being confused by various coaches. It remains to be seen if Patel pushes the proposals that were passed more than a year ago but haven't been implemented so far.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo