Former India Test cricketer Lalchand Rajput highlighted the need to set-up zonal academies across Mumbai and Thane district rather than just having a state-of-the-art training facility at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground.
Cricket First group's Pravin Amre (left), Pratap Sarnaik, Dr Vijay Patil and Lalchand Rajput (right) at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday
"There are so many young cricketers who travel all the way from Palghar, Virar or Badlapur to Azad and Cross Maidans for training. They spend around two to three hours just traveling in the train with their heavy kit bag. With all the money in our sport now, why can't we have academies in Thane, Virar and all these remote places?
If we can have a state-of-the-art gymkhana in Kandivali now, why not set up a good academy there? This will improve the quality of our players and instead they can utilise the time traveling for their training," Rajput told the gathering of voters ahead of the June 17 Mumbai Cricket Association elections.
Rajput said it is not impossible to set up these academies. "Karnataka State Cricket Association has 14 such centres and look how their cricket is booming. Mumbai is known as a premier association in India, but we are lacking in our infrastructure by far," said Rajput at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
One of the major grievances the voters, who spoke on the dais, had was the mess created due to the restructuring of tournaments. "Whenever you have any issues, you are asked to write a letter. The fact is that we keep writing letters and they go straight into the dustbin. This is not the attitude we want from our administrators," said Apollo Cricket Club's secretary Shafiq Patel.
Former Mumbai Ranji Trophy cricketer and current selector Sanjay Patil, who switched over from the ruling Bal Mahaddalkar group to Cricket First, said: "Mumbai cricket's quality hasn't gone down, but the quality of administrators has gone down.
MCA is not because of cricketers anymore. They have only one policy: ban those who oppose. Is this administration? "I was irritated with this attitude and that is why I have come to this group. I am confident they care for real values of the game," said Patil, who promised to bring back the monsoon flavour in the Dr HD Kanga Cricket League.