The Global Cricket Academy, comprising state-of-the-art cricket facilities for international as well as local cricketers, was launched in Dubai on Tuesday. The academy, first announced as a project in 2004, is part of the Dubai Sports City - a project to construct world-class sporting infrastructure in Dubai - and is managed by the ICC.
It includes an indoor training facility featuring a fielding area and seven pitches of varying character - ranging from those supporting turn to those which are seamer-friendly. These will be monitored by cameras for technical analysis while ball-tracking technology cameras will also be available for recording each delivery.
The indoor facilities also include class rooms, meeting rooms, a technology suite and a gymnasium. In addition, they academy boasts of 38 floodlit outdoor practice pitches, including 28 turf tracks, that replicate playing conditions across the various Test-playing nations.
Apart from being used for developmental and grassroots purposes, the facilities will also be used by teams for their preparation for the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent. The venue will also be hosting the Intercontinental Cup final between Afghanistan and Ireland in December and the World Cricket League Division Two in April next year.
The global cricket academy has also recruited three coaches - former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, former Pakistan allrounder Mudassar Nazar and former New Zealand fast bowler Dayle Hadlee.
"This outstanding academy will provide a pathway for the world's current and emerging international players to excel. It will also become the centre of excellence for cricket's best and brightest administrators, coaches, umpires and curators," ICC president Sharad Pawar said. "With its state-of-the-art programmes, facilities and coaches, the ICC GCA will provide a home for a wide range of our stakeholders from both the traditional Full Members and the developing Associate and Affiliate Members. We believe the ICC GCA is key in making our great sport, even greater."
The managing director of Dubai Sports City, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, said: "This is indeed a historic and momentous occasion for world cricket and another significant milestone in the evolution of Dubai Sports City. This academy project has come about through our excellent partnership with the ICC.
"The academy is world class and will provide top training conditions for elite cricketers from all over the world. It will also have a significant and positive impact on UAE cricket.
"The ingenuity of the various programmes and the design of the ICC GCA enable young and developing cricketers to benefit immensely. This is a great day."