Srinagar: There is no denying the fact that cricket is not only the most followed sport in Kashmir, but richest one as well. There is a lot of money in the sport with Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association-the custodians of the sport-having massive funds thanks to being affiliated with the BCCI. With a fat purse at the disposal one would have thought of big stadiums and cricket academies in this part of the world. But, that isn’t the case. Not only is Kashmir bereft of quality cricket grounds, there are no cricket academies to cater to the needs of aspiring cricketers. Academies have become a fulcrum of any cricket culture but there is none in Jammu and Kashmir which is one of the main reasons the state hasn’t produced consistently winning results over the years.
As the game of cricket has evolved over the decades, young cricketers need to be abreast with the demands of the modern sport. A cricket academy is like a school for any budding cricketer where he picks up the sport and its nuances, and fine-tunes his expertise.
There has hardly been any effort on the JKCA’s part to have one in the valley which slackens progress of the cricketers. Bar Parvez Rasool, there hasn’t been any international cricketer produced yet despite oceans of talent.
It is often said that J&K cricketers are amazed and surprised with the facilities given to their counterparts in other states of India. The concept of fitness regimes, diet plans and body workload-little things that one gets to know in the academies- is still alien to many cricketers in the state.
Former J&K off-spinner and broadcaster Humayoun Qaiser puts the blame squarely on the JKCA.
“JKCA is obligated to provide cricketers with academies. Cricket association is ignoring development of the game by not making any efforts to establish academies. Academies not only nurture budding talent but also help established players correct and improve their technique and temperament,” Qaiser told Kashmir Observer.
“There is dire need of academies in the valley. Private parties can come in and set up academies with right infrastructure and quality staff,” says Qaiser.
Certified Coach and cricket pundit Mubashir Hassan says academies are a must in modern cricket.
“Academies are the breeding ground for nymphs of cricket. In absence of any such centre most of the talent is lost midway,” reckons Hassan.
Veteran all-rounder Samiullah Beigh rued the fact that there was not a single academy in the state.
“It’s very unfortunate that we don’t have a single cricket academy in Kashmir. It is time for private investors and school owners to come forward,” says Beigh. Samiullah feels that there is need to think out of box in this regard and don’t rely on administrators. “If we wait for administrators for academies, lots of talent will be wasted,” he says.