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Cricket Association of Bengal launches ‘Vision 2020′ programme to groom youngsters

From left: Waqar Younis, Jagmohan Dalmiya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sourav Ganguly at the launch of 'Vision 2020' in Kolkata © IANS
From left: Waqar Younis, Jagmohan Dalmiya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sourav Ganguly at the launch of ‘Vision 2020′ in Kolkata © IANS

Kolkata: Mar 15, 2014

Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Saturday launched its ambitious ‘Vision 2020′ programme with an aim to make the state a supply line of national team players under the initial guidance of legendary bowlers Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralitharan.

“We want to help players in Bengal. I realise the need of having the expertise to take Bengal players ahead. These youngsters need special guidance and we can’t have better persons than Waqar and Murali,” former India captain Sourav Ganguly said of the duo, who would spend at least 30 days this season to groom a pool of Bengal cricketers.

“We’re trying to build a centre of excellence for Bengal cricket. It’s just the beginning. We want to be like a Mumbai or Karnataka who keep producing players. Hopefully we’ll be able to succeed,” Ganguly, who had originally come up with this idea as chairman of the CAB coaching committee, added.

The nomenclature of ‘Vision 2020′, however, seemed to be misleading as Ganguly said they were not aiming at 2020 as six years would be a long time.

“It’s just the name. We had to give a name and we thought this is just appropriate. If we take six years to produce players it will be too late. We have to do it quickly. With the expertise we have in Waqar and Murali, I’m sure Bengal cricket will produce players. The quicker, the better. It’s a process. It does not finish. Intention is to help everyone,” he said.

“The basic intention is try and produce players, take Bengal cricket and ultimately Indian cricket forward. It’s not just about Bengal. Bengal has a huge place in Indian cricket. We want to make a consistent supply for next few years.”

In the first phase of the camp that got underway at the JU second campus ground at Saltlake, the duo will shortlist some players from a pool of 200 bowlers who were picked from 97 clubs.

“We’ve gone on performance, the statistics of local league. The intention is to give everyone an opportunity. The first two-three days will be a little difficult,” said Ganguly.

“We’ve gone on the basis of performance, then we’ll leave to them. There’s no number of it. We can have 15, we can have 40. We’ll try to have a neutral eye and then we’ll take it forward. Bengal has potential for quickies, look at Ashok Dinda, Mohammed Shami, Veer Pratap… There’s enough ability. We have to develop the mindset,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly, however, expressed concern that Bengal were not producing quality spinners and he said because of that, the Lankan spin wizard will be in charge of the spin camp.

“Spinners have been a problem for Bengal. We will get Murali’s expertise. Assistant coaches’ role will be very important,” Ganguly said, adding that they were in talks with Utpal Chatterjee for the assistant coach’s role.

Nicknamed ‘Sultan of Swing’ in his playing days, Waqar said there’s no dearth of talent in the subcontinent and he was looking forward to the challenge.

“I honestly believe there’s so much talent in this part. It gets wasted sometimes. I come from a very small area, you won’t find on the map,” Waqar said.

“There’s lot of talent if we can pick that up and try groom them and polish them. There’s so much talent in our part of the world. It’s about taking the right step. If I can help these fast bowlers in their grooming and polished them, I’ll be more than happy.”

Muralitharan suggested the CAB to implement a tracking system for players to keep a close watch. He said he would try his best that at least two players get to play for India.

“I have a suggestion of doing a tracking system technology-wise. Like in Sri Lanka, I can track the players. Definitely it will help when we’ll watch the players all the time. Most importantly, it’s about how close are you to the players,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to pass some experience to young cricketers. I’m here to coach them. I want to make sure whatever experience I’ve I’ll pass onto him to make them better cricketers.

“There’s talent and we have to nurture them. I want to make sure at least one or two players represent India. I will try my best. I need the help of regional coaches, players.”

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