After years of deferrals due to the lack of interest on the part of the PCB authorities, Karachi, the biggest cricket nursery in the country, gets an academy of its own. The National Stadium Karachi (NSK), is now also home to the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre (HPC) named after legendary opening batsman who passed away last year. Chairman PCB Shaharyar Khan inaugurated the facility last week. He dubbed the facility ‘four-star’ with accommodation, training and practice facilities that can be matched with the best in the region. The centre can hold training camps for Karachi-based teams as well as regional and departmental outfits from around the country. The PCB also plans to use the HPC as a revenue earning project by lending out the centre to foreign teams and clubs as the security situation improves in the city.
Shaharyar Khan is also hopeful of staging international cricket in the city since the players can be provided top-class security by turning the NSK into a fortress of sorts with foreign players playing and staying at the venue which will help secure them far more conveniently. If utilised properly, the Hanif Mohammad HPC can provide a much-needed launching pad for the talent in the city.
The Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) has helped groom many international players but the facility was never run under the PCB’s patronage. Other than RLCA, a surfeit of commercially run academies failed to provide the desired results both due to lack of international class training equipment as well as the absence of qualified coaching staff. Most of the major Test playing countries have multiple HPCs run in leading international venues; the centres provide a base for the young talent from their surroundings. Karachi-based national players in recent years bemoaned the lack of facilities in the city, Shahid Afridi led the band of players who demanded a PCB-backed academy and after a long wait their request has been granted.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2017.
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