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Reports: BCCI struggling to find bowling coach for National Cricket Academy

With the national coach selection over, shouldn't the BCCI look to solve the NCA's coaching problems?


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Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli at NCA during the national team’s training camp

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly on the lookout for a new fast bowling coach at National Cricket Academy (NCA) located in Chinnaswamy stadium, Bengaluru. However despite trying to land the suitable person for the job in the last few months, they have supposedly come up empty.

The Board is now thinking to lure prospective coaches to the NCA by announcing a remuneration of about Rs 60 lakh annually for the position of a fast-bowling coach. The job description includes the improvement and maintenance of the level of India’s second tier of pacers.

The facility at Bengaluru had been functioning without coaches for more than a year until finally WV Raman, Narendra Hirwani and TA Sekhar were roped in for the coaching jobs with Sekhar, who played two Tests in the early 80s and won recognition as coach at MRF Pace Academy, supposed to be appointed as the pace coach.

However it was not to be as the former cricketer’s IPL commitments got in the way of the BCCI’s plans. News filtered in shortly confirming his inability to hold the post and the BCCI’s disinterest in finding a new replacement at the current time.

“Sekhar has expressed unwillingness to give up the IPL job. And he can’t be appointed NCA coach if he is involved with an IPL team at the same time. This means Sekhar is not available for NCA. The decision was taken a few days ago. There are no plans of looking for someone in place of Sekhar right now. If need be, we will get a fast bowling coach in future.”

However now that the Board has been trying to find a coach, it has come upon two stumbling blocks that have prevented a successful search for a proper mentor for the budding pacers in the academy. The initial difficulty is that the Board is looking for someone based out of Bengaluru and not having any IPL ties.

This condition for appointment is making it problematic for potential candidates as it is in contrast with the terms for members of the Indian national team's support staff who are allowed to have ties and duties linked to IPL teams.

Also Read : BCCI appoints three former players as new NCA coaches

The pay disparity between national team coaches and NCA coaches has also been acting as a hindrance to the search. An Indian assistant coach draws between Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore annually whereas coaches for under-19 and under-23 age group teams are paid Rs 6,420 every day for the time spent in camps. The pay is even less for Non-Test cricketers who are coaching at the NCA and are paid Rs 4,500 per day.

This has failed to attract suitable people to the vacant position because prospective candidates feel that the work load at NCA is no less than what it is with the national team.
However the Board doesn’t seem overtly interested in finding an immediate solution to the continuing problem.

A top BCCI official has reportedly stated  "The board has put together a process of hiring a bowling coach. The NCA already has two permanent coaches.” Such unconcern on the part of the Board is indicative of the changes and improvements required in the infrastructure and administration of the National Cricket Academy which reportedly has plans to put in place a new structure on the lines of the state-of-the-art high performance centres based in Australia and England as part of the revamp.

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