Oz cricket circles debating usefulness of Brisbane cricket academy

Sunday, February 6, 2011

BRISBANE/SYDNEY -Opinions are divided over how to nurture the next generation of Australian cricketers.

Officials of state cricket bodies and the Brisbane-based Centre of Excellence are increasingly at loggerheads over whether the center is the best place for youngsters to hone their skills and be eligible for future national honours.

According to news.com.au, leading officials in several states privately prefer to hold on to their young guns rather than release them to the Centre of Excellence, worried they will be overcoached by a battery of technical and analytical experts in a program now headed by former Australian pace bowling coach Troy Cooley.

State level cricket officials are reportedly are worried that fresh and formative minds of the young quicks could be cluttered by having an overload of information from COE coaches.

“Surely a young kid like Patrick Cummins gets more confidence from shattering the stumps of James Hopes than running in and bowling 10 overs in the nets at Allan Border Field,” one top official said.

Former Queensland and Australian fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz, who trained at the academy in 1991 under then coach Rod Marsh, says that he would still advise any rising young fast bowlers to accept an invitation to the Brisbane centre.

“I think the COE is like the nerve centre of Australian cricket, especially for research and development, and all young players should be aspiring to go there. If they have been identified by selectors, they should definitely go there and try to embrace it,” Kasprowicz said.

Full time selector and former head of the COE,Greg Chappell, described the center as the best-resourced cricket facility in Australia and did not see any reason why young players could not perform for their states in summer then head north for a winter stint.

“This is something the states and Cricket Australia are working on together . . . looking at the sort of things that will take the best young players to the next level.We try to plot a path - in conjunction with the states - that suits everyone and tailors the right programs. The COE is a huge part of that, it adds value to what the states are doing and is resourced to a higher level than the states,” Chappell said.

He added: “It is very important that talented young players spend some time at the COE, it has been there 20 years and has really evolved.” (ANI)

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