Lakshmi Ratan Shukla and Nikhil Haldipur are the two cricketers from Bengal who have been selected to attend the National Cricket Academy. While the former is an allrounder who has represented the National side for a couple of matches the latter is yet to hit the International scene. However, both are thrilled at the prospect of working with a cricketer as great as Rodney Marsh.

Shukla and Haldipur left for Bangalore on Monday evening after playing the final of a tournament run by the Cricket Association of Bengal. Shukla feels that the presence of video cameras in the academy will go a long way in improving his game. ``Here when we practice, we feel the necessity of a camera. There are coaches to correct our mistakes. However, the best way to erase the deficiencies is by watching yourself. Moreover, there are certain minor mistakes that cannot be ascertained by the naked eye. Only by viewing the bowling or batting action on the video, can one rectify the faults. This is where, I think, I will benefit the most,'' said Shukla. He also added that being in close proximity with a man like Marsh would inspire him mentally. ``He was a legend in his life time. So whatever, he shares with us from his vast experience, would be beneficial for us.''

Haldipur on the other hand, feels that the Academy will help him to remain in shape throughout the year. ``In West Bengal, the moment the season is over, it becomes difficult for a cricketer to continue his practice. The monsoon affects the performance of a player tremendously. By being in the Academy, I am now being guaranteed of a year long training facility. That to me is a big boon,'' said Haldipur. The left-handed opener also added that his physical conditioning would improve during his stint at the Academy. ``Here we do not have a proper physical instructor. So we lag behind the other states as far as physical conditioning is concerned. By being under a specialist, I feel, I will become much more fitter.''

Both, however, felt that more than the basics, it were the finer points of the game that needed toning. ``I think that at our age, you cannot really change the basics,'' said Shukla. ``More than anything else, modern cricket demands mental toughness. I believe that the Academy will help us to develop in this department tremendously,'' said the Bengal allrounder.