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Friday, July 04, 2008

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Indoor cricket to strike the winning sixer?

Even as the world of sports has undergone sweeping changes in the past few decades, with newer avenues being explored by several organisations to harness potential talent that would set new benchmarks on the field, here is a brand, Neo, way to go about the entire exercise. Neo International Sports Academy (NISA), launched a year ago, is crafting inroads into the arena of sports training, marketing and management by promoting the unique concept of indoor cricket in the country.

Mushtaq Khan, MD, NISA spoke to 4Ps B&M on this unique initiative. Some excerpts from the interview:

Would indoor cricket work, when youngsters still play cricket in gullies?
Gully cricket is not producing Ranji players and test cricketers. It is a pastime, or a distraction. As Kapil Dev and Dean Jones have both opined, these indoor centres will be the best thing that could happen to budding Indian cricketers. Not only will they develop skills and fitness, but they will become competitive at an early age. The big advantage, that young Australians have over young Indians is that they play competitive cricket at an early age. Indoor cricket is a short, fast game where skills and instant decision- making are paramount for success and it is our intention to provide this facility for schools.

Where will these centres be?
Indoor cricket centres will be built in areas where there could be up to 50,000 school children with no real sporting facilities. Besides indoor cricket, we’re looking at providing nets and coaching for outdoor games, indoor soccer, tennis and volleyball as well.

Is there a way to channelise your offerings for financially weak but talented youngsters?
These will be destinations with a lot many attractions, hence won’t be solely reliant on income from indoor cricket. The cost of the cricket will be subsidised by these other elements. We have researched other pastimes and their costs, and will establish ours accordingly.

What are the challenges NISA faces in India, which has a vast untapped talent pool?
The major challenge is making all these services available to as many Indians as possible at an affordable price. We feel confident that India is ready to embrace this enormous stride forward into making the nation competitive in an array of sports and regaining some of the pride that we lost in the Caribbean World Cup. We don’t think India wants to rely just on our cricketers. Let’s regain our place in world hockey and tennis; we have the right temperament for golf and other sports too. We have all the ingredients. We are working with several school groups and we’re always on the lookout for partners. India is a very large country and the opportunities are equally immense.

Are you working out synergies with the BCCI and other sporting bodies too?
We are working at the grassroots level, mainly with schools. It is now accepted that a child will develop so much better with a good balance of physical and mental activity. Schools are now recognising that sport is an essential requirement for a complete education. It is natural that some of these youngsters will turn to sports as a career and NISA will be there to help them. We feel confident that as our work and success progresses, so will our association with the major sporting bodies here. Their success depends on talent coming through and if we’re there to aid in moulding and providing that talent, then they should want to engage with us! 4Ps

Edit bureau: R Prasad

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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