With some of the biggest names from Cricket in Andhra Pradesh, players who were part of the IPL as well as popular faces from Indian Cricket, the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) began their Ranji selection camp at Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) on the 12th of August, 2015.
The selections began with a series of six One-Day matches called the “ACA Challenger Series”. The series saw 56 cricketers, divided into four teams, playing out of their skins for an opportunity to be picked as probables to represent the ACA Ranji side during the upcoming Ranji season.
The Challenger series trimmed the probables to the first round of 32 shortlisted players, 17 of whom participated in a training camp, held between the 16th of August and the 6th of September at the ASA. The remaining 15 set out to Chennai for the Butchi Babu Invitational Tournament and joined the camp a few days later. The shortlisted players were joined by the ACA coaching and support staff, including Head Coach, Mukund Parmar, Assistant Coach, Amit Pathak and Psychology Coach, Dr. Kinjal Suratwala, who earlier served at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and is attributed to the success of many teams and players across India.
The selected cricketers started their training under the guidance of the ACA coaches and support staff, assisted by the ASA coaches and support staff. During the camp, Dr. Suratwala also organized sessions on nutrition and diet awareness, as well as analysis of individual players’ games. A few days after the camp started, the team was joined by their captain and mentor, former India international, Mohammad Kaif, on the 24th of August. This, no doubt, brought a lot of excitement and buzz at the ASA.
While the focus was on ensuring the boys get enough time to train in the nets or on field, Dr. Suratwala also wanted the boys to involve themselves in activities other than cricket. Dr. Suratwala got the boys involved in team building activities such as uphill terrain running at a nearby location, as well as sessions of Basketball, Football, Tennis and even contact sports like Rugby.
Apart from these off-field sessions with other sports, the boys were also encouraged to visit some of RDT’s programs. When they visited an RDT school for the hearing impaired and interacted with its students - a talented lot that have amazed onlookers and the players alike – they were amazed to learn that these children had participated in and won quite a few cricket tournaments against able-bodied individuals. Another motivational visit took these boys to RDT’s Program Director, Moncho Ferrer, who shared the latest developments at RDT, especially relating to the sports programs, and provided motivation for the boys’ upcoming Ranji season.
The remainder of the camp was spent by the boys training hard, while at the same time working on their fitness and diet, keeping in mind Dr. Suratwala’s advice during their sessions. The boys have come towards the end of their stay at the ASA, as they compete against each other in a round of selection matches where they play two 3- day games. After the completion of these games, the final squad of 15 will leave the ASA for Vishakhapatnam, on the 6th of September 2015, to train there until the beginning of the Ranji season, with their first match on 1st October against Mumbai on home soil.