India news November 25, 2015

Vengsarkar takes over as NCA director

Dilip Vengsarkar previously served as the chairman of the national selection committee © AFP

The BCCI has appointed former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar as the director of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, confirmed that Vengsarkar would hold his position in an honorary capacity.

Vengsarkar, who is the vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, said he accepted the offer readily, but conceded the job posed a challenging task. He said his priority was to revitalise the NCA, which he felt had become "defunct" and needed to be put back on the tracks.

"Over the years it [NCA] has been the supply line for Indian international cricket," Vengsarkar said. "It is challenging to spot and groom talent from all over India. There is a huge amount of talent in India, but it has to be groomed and nurtured and the NCA can play an important role in that process."

Vengsarkar was of the view that the NCA had become stale over the last few years. "For the last four to five years, it is as good as defunct. And it had no direction. So I will have to focus on the restructuring and make sure that Indian cricket can get good cricketers and we can have a good bench strength."

Vengsarkar will take over from Brijesh Patel, who reportedly had to step down from his position owing to the conflict-of-interest guidelines introduced by Manohar. Patel started his second stint as NCA director last year after the conclusion of the IPL, having served in the same position between 2001 and 2004. Patel is the secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association as well as being the director of cricket operations at the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise, positions he has stressed as being honorary.

Immediately upon taking over as the BCCI president, Manohar had mentioned that revamping the NCA was part of his immediate goals. "The board would also look into the starting of National Cricket Academy (NCA) again, whose activities are not up to the mark as of date," Manohar had said. "And we would see to it that the NCA functions round the year so that cricketing talent is developed in this country. Today we are short of the second line. There are no spinners in this country. So it is also our duty to see to it that we have an available lot as a replacement for the current players."

Scouting and grooming talent has been part of Vengsarkar's strengths in the past. He was the head of the BCCI's talent and research development wing a decade ago, and then served as the chairman of the national selection committee, positions he believes will help him in his new job. Vengsarkar said he was yet to chalk out a plan, but would present his vision to the NCA board during the first week of December.

The NCA board, a BCCI sub-committee, is headed by veteran administrator Niranjan Shan along with Vengsarkar and former India Test opener Chetan Chauhans. The other members on the board are Amitabh Choudhary (BCCI joint secretary), Subir Ganguly (East zone), Prashant Vaidya (Central), Sanjay Desai (South) and Vishal Marwah (North).

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo