HYDERABAD: There will be Hyderabadi touch in the United States cricket development programme. Former Test left-arm spinner SL Venkatapathy Raju is part of the coaching team for the ICC Americas Cricket Combine to be held in Indianapolis from September 18 to 27 while New Jersey-based off-spinner Nanda Kishore Sandilya will be a member of USA cricket development team to various process to unify league and stakeholders.
Raju, who played 28 Tests and 53 ODIs, was till recently Development Officer for the Asia region of the ICC’s Development Programme. The spinner will join high calibre panel, that includes West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh and internationally renowned American fielding coach Mike Young. The Combine will be coordinated by ICC Americas High Performance Consultant Tom Evans, and will also include six coaches from Associate and Affiliate member countries within the ICC Americas Region.
According to ICC’s Tim Anderson, Raju has had a long and distinguished career as an international player, selector, coach and administrator, and is now an important member of the ICC’s development team. “It’s therefore great that he is able to assist this important project in America, in what is an example of the integrated approach the ICC is now taking for cricket’s global development.”
Raju is not new to US cricket. He played league cricket there. “I played for a couple of seasons, mainly in the Washington and New Jersey areas, and therefore have already seen first-hand the talent that exists in the Americas Region. I can’t wait to work with Courtney, Mike and the other coaches to help the players improve their skills, in what really is an exciting initiative for the development of the game,’’ he said in the ICC statement recently.
As for Sandilya who turned 42 on Thursday, has learnt his cricket fundamentals from coaches like former Hyderabad captain MV Narasimha Rao, Jyothi Prasad, Sampath Kumar, Eddie Eibara, and John Manoj. He played for East Marredpally Cricket Club, Osmania A division (captain 1994-95), BDL and Hyderabad Ranji Trophy (1995-1996) before migrating to US in 2000. He has has taken this voluntary role for USA cricket development responsible for promoting US T20 open tournaments across the country and helping with marketing, sponsorships, talent recognition and revenue generation.
Sandilya is passionate about the game. He is a chemical engineer from OU chemical technology and worked with various Fortune 500 executives and helping them to implement business growth strategies from start to finish. He feels with his combined experience as a cricketer and an executive would help develop cricket in the US. “Cricket is popular is US and needs to be promoted in a more systematic way. I have a few plans working closely with ICC appointed local advisory board like obtaining government support, build cricket infrastructure, create cricketers talent pool and among other things,’’ he said from USA.
In fact, Sandilya played cricket until 2010 and in a T20 match, he bagged four wickets in four successive balls all clean bowled in garden state T20 semi-final game in 2008 .
He said with ICC’s support and commitment the future of USA cricket looks brighter than ever.