MUMBAI: A senior Team India cricketer, who had hit the nets and started training at a private facility once partial lifting of lockdown began in June, complained about a niggling injury that individuals around him expected the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to attend to. Expressing “helplessness” to do much in the middle of an unrelenting pandemic, the academy said it couldn’t help by way of an online diagnosis and remedy either because the cricketer’s complete medical record was not at the NCA’s disposal.
The cricketer is fit now and back in the nets, but the academy’s stated ‘helplessness’ to step forward became a talking point soon after.
“Then, what exactly is the NCA’s role, if not to identify with a cricketer’s fitness and injury-related concerns and address it?” a senior cricket administrator told TOI on Wednesday, post a webinar held by the academy to address BCCI members and their operational divisions.
“How fractured can a national academy look when it can’t cater to a leading India cricketer? And it is expected to track the country’s ecosystem at multiple age levels. That’s the gap we’re looking at in terms of what we’re expecting from the NCA vis-à-vis what the NCA is capable of delivering at the moment,” the administrator added.
With batting legend Rahul Dravid at the helm, the academy has time and again insisted that it is trying to put better work policies and a clearer, more structured vision in place but that, members say, should happen only once the BCCI and the academy together acknowledge that “at the moment, the NCA is a glorified government hospital where nobody wants to go”.
Post the long webinar where Dravid, along with his NCA colleagues, discussed matters related to data mining (of cricketers across age levels), resumption of training and more, members weren’t left convinced, and said “it was a monologue, not a dialogue”.
Trust deficit, BCCI members say, is becoming a major concern.
“The NCA is attempting to become an alternate body as a policy-making entity rather than one that executes the work in accordance with the role assigned to it. The fact is, NCA needs to set its own house in order before telling others what to do,” say members.
Do they trust Dravid, more than any other individual, capable of pulling it off?
“Of course,” they say, “except that a lot of Dravid’s valuable time has been used in non-cricketing issues. He’s the kind of asset who’ll be most valuable spending time with India U-19 and the India ‘A’ teams.”
It is due to Dravid’s presence that, members say, they are not raising some other obvious questions because they believe “the former India captain needs to be given more time to make a difference”.