The National Cricket Academy (NCA) today launched its Under-12 Youth Programme at the Tribhuvan University Stadium with huge number of kids turning up for the facility.
It was the second programme NCA has planned to implement for this year. Apart from U-12 programme, NCA’s plans for the year include formation of Nepal ‘A’ team and U-19 boys and girls’ programmes. NCA has already started the formation of ‘A’ team which will be made up of selected players from the ongoing national team closed-camp — which includes 37 cricketers — for the ACC Twenty20 Cup and ICC World Cricket League Division-III.
The U-12 Youth Programme was participated in by 332 children from 16 schools of Kathmandu Valley apart from Kathmandu Cricket Training Centre. The children will undergo three-hour basic training every Saturday till May with 25 making cut for the second round of camp beginning in October. Coach Pubudu Dassanayake was surprised to see the huge number of participants.
“We were expecting around 80-100 kids for the programme. It shows cricket is gaining a huge amount of popularity in the country and we can take a lot of positive from it,” said Dassanayake. “The first phase of training will give them basic knowledge about the game. After we select 25 future prospects, we will involve them in a high performance programme with more organised and extensive training,” added Dassanayake.
Former national team skipper Binod Das will be heading the programme supported by former national players Dipendra Chaudhary and Raju Basnyat. Dassanayake said the programme will help in the formation of future national teams. “If we bring these youngsters early into the game they will get matured in a period of one decade. This will help ease find new talents,” said the coach.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel said they will leave no stone unturned to make the programme a success. “We will look after every detail and make sure smooth operation of the programme,” said Pyakurel adding the cricket governing body will help NCA in the early stages financially until it is able to generate income on its own. Former skipper Binod said the programme will end Nepal’s struggle to search for talents. “This enables us to find talents very early. I think the problem looking for cricketing talents will now end from U-16 age group,” said Das, who is an ACC Level-III certified coach.