Kolkata, March 15 (IANS): Aiming to churn out future players for the national team, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), on Saturday, unveiled Vision 2020: an initiative which will see Pakistan pace legend Waqar Younis and Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan nurturing young bowling talents from West Bengal.
A brainchild of former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, the initiative will see camps held across the state to scout young talent who will be trained and guided by the iconic duo roped in for three years and slated to spend at least 30 days a season.
“It’s high time Bengal joins the likes of Mumbai and Karnataka who have been churning out players for the national team. Talent alone is not enough, you need guidance and develop cricketing acumen. It’s not only about bat and ball, it’s more about what you think between the ears and who better than Waqar and Muralitharan to develop that,” said Ganguly at the launch.
The former left-handed batsman said the focus was to create a pool of players within 2-3 years who will have the ability to be part of the national team in future.
The launch was attended by the CAB officials including president Jagmohan Dalmiya, national selectors Saba Karim, Roger Binny, Vikram Rathour and Rajender Singh Hans as well as a host of former Bengal players.
While 120 bowlers have been picked from CAB affiliated clubs for the first phase of the programme, CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said that camps will be held at regular intervals.
Expressing happiness for their new commitment, both Waqar and Muralitharan said they were looking forward to the programme.
“There is an abundance of talent in this part of the world, the only thing is to spot and guide them. I, myself, am from a remote area so I will be more than happy if I can contribute towards developing young talents,” said Waqar.
Muralitharan said: “My job is to ensure that at least a few youngsters from here go on to represent the national team. I will make sure to pass on the experience that I gathered playing at the international arena.”
The Sri Lankan also called for developing a monitoring system for the budding players. While Bengal pacer Ranadeb Bose would assist Waqar in the pace department, Ganguly said the hunt for Muralitharan’s assistant was on.
Ganguly, who will be chief consultant of the batting pool, said the programme for training batsmen will be taken up gradually.
Besides young players, current Bengal Ranji players are also entitled to seek expertise under the initiative.