After the Indian women’s cricket team gave a stellar performance in the ICC World Cup, talks of aggresively promoting the sport among girls have started doing the rounds. The CSS-Whatmore Centre for Cricket at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai is drawing up a framework to provide coaching to girls at the grassroots level. The organisation will soon be forwarding the proposal to the BCCI.
The centre, which has former Australian cricketer and renowned coach Dav Whatmore as the director, is considering talking to the BCCI about inviting the Indian women's cricket team and other state teams for its pre-season, pre-tournament and summer training camps.
The centre wants to provide such facilities where top-notch players like Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur etc of the Indian team will get world-class training facility alongside young girls who have a knack for the sport and want to pursue it.
The head of cricket operations at CSS Centre, M Sanjay, has already discussed the idea with former cricketing legends like Shantha Rangaswamy and Shubhangi Kulkarni. “We will make a presentation to BCCI and Diana Edulji (who is also a member of the Committee of Administrators CoA) soon. This is the right time to support women's cricket. Our intention is to ensure that women cricketers get all the necessary facilities that the men get," Sanjay told TOI on Monday (July 31).
The centre is famous for hosting domestic and international teams like Afghanistan, Kerala and Tripura for its pre-season camps. And it is the place where top spinners like Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Sachitra Senanayake, Sunil Narine came to re-evaluate their errors.
"We have a long-term athlete development programme and we want to bring a system into women's cricket. It will help them develop into a better unit. Shantha, Shubhangi, Hemamalini -- all have welcomed our move. We are hoping for the best," Sanjay added.
All-rounder Jhulan Goswami also praised the idea and said, “"Indian women cricketers do train at the NCA, which has top-class facilities ahead of the season. Although I cannot comment on the Indian team training in Chennai, but if something like this comes up for girls at the grassroots level (age category), then it will be a terrific move. Training in a different place and playing matches will be great for young girls," Goswami.
Apart from formulating a world-class training structure, the centre is also keen on conducting women's inter-state pre-season tournament which might begin this September.
“We are in talks with a few state associations at the moment, mostly from south. We need to get prior approval. We have plans to conduct, possibly a 30-over or 50-over tournament by September as some of the women's teams don't have proper pre-season practice matches. We are also looking at an all-India invitation level tournament later -- next February and March -- with different state teams and combined teams taking part.”
“The idea is to unearth talent and nurture them at various training programmes,” said Sanjay, a former Tamil Nadu coach.
The centre will go on a major search in August end to make talent pool of girls willing to pursue the sport professionally.
“We are planning to felicitate Diana, Shantha and a few other former women cricketers late August. On the same day, we are conducting a talent hunt, which will have participants from various colleges such as WCC, Ethiraj and a few others.”