Kolkata: The much anticipated cricket school of East Bengal club was inaugurated on Friday without any fanfare. The inauguration ceremony was a very low key affair with only a handful of former cricketers attending the ceremony. Among the former cricketers who graced the programme were former cricketers Gopal Bose, Sambaran Banerjee, Arup Bhattacharya, Shib Shankar Paul and others. Club’s top officials including the President Dr.Pranab Dasgupta and Secretary Kalyan Majumder were also present.
Former East Bengal cricketer and currently the Minister of State Sports and Youth Services Laxmi Ratan Shukla did turn up at the club for a few minutes as he had to attend the assembly session. Sports Minister Aroop Biswas also decided to stay away from the programme citing the same reasons.
Initially the club has plans to induct 100 students in four age groups. The age groups will be from 8-12, 13-16, 16-19 and 19 above. Presently the cricket school will start with forty young cricketers. The club has appointed five coaches – Swapan Sen, Arindam Sarkar, Sabyasachi Seal, Priyankar Dutta and Pinaki Bose to run the cricket school. Former cricketers like Gopal Bose, Sambaran Banerjee and Arup Bhattacharya will come once or twice in a month and share their inputs with the boys.
Former cricketer Gopal Bose stressed on the importance of having the right talent in the cricket school. According to Gopal Bose, “When talent meets opportunity there emerges genius. No one knows where we can find the next Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly. No one knew about Antigua until legendary Viv Richards burst into the scene. Antigua has produced top cricketers like Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, Richie Richardson, Viv Richards and many other legends of the game. So, with proper grooming we can soon find a talented cricketer.”
Former Bengal captain Sambaran Banerjee wants the club to make it a manadatory rule to get two U’19 cricketers in the senior team from the cricket school.
“It is always a great sign to have such academies under a big banner like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Especially the mileage will be immense for such cricket schools. But the most important thing for the club will be to ensure at least two U’19 cricketers from the cricket school are drafted into the senior team so as to maintain the supply line.”