Three of India's most promising young cricketers have arrived in Adelaide to undertake a five-week training program at the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy (CBCA) as part of the annual Border-Gavaskar Scholarship Program.
All-rounder Raiphi Vincent Gomez, off-spinner Udit Brijesh Patel, and fast bowler Siddharth Trivedi are the recipients of the 2003 scholarships funded by the Australia-India Council (AIC).
Fast bowler Trivedi represented India at the International Cricket Council Under-19 Cricket World Cup in February 2002, and made his first-class debut in season 2002-03, along with all-rounder Patel.
The Indian trio will receive specialist coaching during their five-week stay in Australia, under the guidance of newly appointed CBCA senior coach and former Australian player, Damien Fleming.
The three scholars were chosen by a selection panel established by the former Indian great, Sunil Gavaskar.
Former scholarship holders include current Indian wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, who visited the CBCA in 2001, later making his Test debut against England in August 2002.
Fleming said the scholarship program was a great initiative and valuable opportunity for emerging young players to gain experience.
"One of the most important aspects in developing your ability as a player is to gain as much experience as you can, by being exposed to different environments and conditions," said Fleming.
"The Border-Gavaskar Scholarship Program gives young Indian cricketers that chance.
"The players will be able to see how their Australian counterparts train at the academy, and participate in some specific training programs that we have developed to meet their individual needs.
"Cricket is such a significant part of the Indian culture and through the close relationship between our countries, we can share knowledge and experience to make sure the game remains strong and healthy at an international level," said Fleming.
Welcoming India's young cricket ambassadors, AIC Chairman Michael Abbott QC said the AIC was delighted to support the cricket scholarship program, now in its fourth year.
"By building on - and strengthening - Australia's cricketing links with India, these scholarships play an important part in the AIC's program to promote mutual understanding through exchanges in many areas, including sport," said Mr Abbott.
The Border-Gavaskar Scholarship Program was founded in 2000-01 as a joint initiative between the Australian Cricket Board and the AIC.
The AIC was formed in 1992 to broaden the relationship between Australia and India by encouraging supporting contacts and increasing levels of knowledge and understanding between the peoples and institutions of the two counties.
In addition to the funding provided for the scholarships, the AIC also contributed to the establishment and production costs of the modernised Border-Gavaskar Trophy, played for in Test match competition between Australia and India.
The scholarship program and trophy acknowledge the contributions of two of cricket's greatest players - Australia's Allan Border and India's Sunil Gavaskar - and recognises the strong tradition between the two countries.
Allan Border was an inaugural member of the AIC from 1992 to 1995. Sunil Gavaskar is an inaugural member of the AIC's Indian equivalent, the India Australia Council, formed in 1995.
First played for in India in 1996, the Border-Gavaskar trophy is currently held by India after defeating Australia 2-1 in February/March 2001.
The two countries will do battle for the trophy again this year, when Australia hosts India in the four-match 3 Test Series beginning in Brisbane on 4 December 2003.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India also contributed toward the scholarship program, allowing the players to extend their stay at the CBCA by one week.
The scholarship holders return to India on 6 July 2003.