'For world-class players, we need world-class academies'

Published: September 2, 2017
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Lahore-based NCA is considered by far the best cricket academy in the country, but even it is well below international standards, per Mudassar. PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Lahore-based NCA is considered by far the best cricket academy in the country, but even it is well below international standards, per Mudassar. PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

KARACHI: The National Cricket Academy (NCA) of Pakistan is not up to the standards of other top academies around the world, Director NCA Mudassar Nazar has admitted.

Lahore-based NCA is considered by far the best cricket academy in the country, but even it is well below international standards, per Mudassar.

The former Test cricketer made the revelation during a visit to Karachi’s Hanif Muhammad High-Performance Center (HPC). “We don’t have all the facilities in any of our academies, not even the NCA in Lahore,” Mudassar told The Express Tribune. “I have been trying to establish a chain of academies across the country but so far the academies we have a missing element.”

The NCA serves as the hub of national cricketers and has produced many a talent, including Misbahul Haq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Salman Butt, but there is still major room for improvement. “It has produced many big names but if you talk about the available facilities over there, we are missing some elements which should be covered within the premises of the academy,” said Mudassar.

The 61-year-old further elaborated: “NCA has a good gym and coaches but we don’t have our own ground to practice on. Whenever we have to do some practice we have to request to the management of Gaddafi Stadium, who eventually approve but it’s still a painstaking process.”

Mudassar believes that if the NCA gets granted a dedicated ground to practice upon a la the Hanif Muhammad HPC, it can be even more productive.

It doesn’t, however, mean that the Hanif Muhammad HPC doesn’t have shortcomings of its own.

“The Hanif Muhammad HPC has the ground of National stadium as well as a large area for practice, which is a plus point, but then the gym here is not fully equipped, which again makes it a sub-standard HPC,” Mudassar opined.

The reason Mudassar stresses on the need for world class academies is the end result such facilities can produce. “I know the importance of academies,” he said. “Big names are produced when they get to use the best facilities and equipment.”

But academies alone are not the answer. Players have to be willing to put in the work too to make this work — something Nazar feels Misbah did plenty of during his time at the NCA.

“I remember Misbah used to practice there all day long and went home only to sleep,” he recalled. “There are many others who trained at the same academy but they were not able to become Misbah or Younis, which shows that interest and ability are an important part of the equation too.”

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