YOUNG, aspiring Indian cricketers - world famous for their passion for the game - may soon have their dreams answered.
The Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy, based in Adelaide, Australia is planning to open a “Centre of Excellence’’ in India next year.
An aggressive and gifted bastman in his prime, Darren Lehmann is the current coach of the Australian cricket team and has represented Australia at Test and one day level as a player.
Academy board member Sean Holden said regular trade missions had opened doors to India’s peak cricketing bodies.
“The Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy is aiming to collaborate with local cricket providers to establish programs involving hundreds of Indian cricketers of all abilities and backgrounds, when the centre opens next year,’’ he said.
“South Australian coaches and players would travel to India and provide specialist advice.
“Our initial focus would be to train India’s cricket coaches, administrators and upcoming players aged between 16 to 19 years old.
“Indian cricket delegations would then visit South Australia to continue professional training and compete against state league or leading high school teams.
He said the Academy aims to collaborate with current cricket providers in India to establish programs involving hundreds of cricketers of all abilities and backgrounds.
“Our aim is to establish an exchange program between two passionate cricketing countries, focused on social, cultural, sporting, educational and vocational outcomes,’’ Mr Holden said.
South Australian Minister for Investment and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith who is leading South Australia’s largest trade delegation to Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, welcomed the proposal.
“South Australia has many common links with India – our history, our democratic principles, the English language and a passionate love of cricket,” he said.
“Australian cricketers are respected for their competiveness, determination and leadership skills – there is a growing global appetite for our expertise.’’
South Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy exchange program could also help attract more Indian tourists to South Australia.
“India and South Australia share a deep passion for cricket, which was highlighted when Adelaide hosted India’s opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup,” Mr Bignell said.
“The World Cup generated $80 million into the state’s economy and international visitors are critical to the state’s economic growth.’’