In Pursuit of Popularising the Gentleman's Game

In Pursuit of Popularising the Gentleman's Game

KOCHI:Plenty of parallels have been drawn between cricket and life. One of them came, perhaps a bit ironically, from the autocratic president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Almost three decades ago, when he became the first Prime Minister of the fledgling nation, he had said, “ I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen.”

While it is best left for a debate to settle whether Zimbabwe is today populated with gentlemen or not, a cricket academy thousands of kilometres away in Ernakulam is drawing from the words of Mugabe.

It is aiming to use cricket as a tool to help kids grow into gentlemen. Headquartered at Tripunithura, the CRISL Cricket Academy has recently opened nine new centres in different parts of Kerala as part of its pilot project to launch a chain of academies across the country.

Its objective is to re-brand cricket coaching as something more than just a vocational training. It engages personality developers alongside professional coaches to impart cricketing lessons to kids.

“CRISL is actually an abbreviation of Cricket-is-Life,” says S Manoj, one of its founder-directors and a former  player of Ranji Trophy. Innocent John Bosco, who harboured a deep-rooted passion for cricket while working as a corporate trainer for the last 15 years, is the other director.

“Today, an increasing number of children are unable to hold it together emotionally when they go through a bad situation. They enjoy their victories too much, but cannot deal with a failure. At CRISL, we take the kids to the ground and show them that the thrill of victory is sweeter when they have known the taste of defeat,” Manoj said.

The academy, according to Innocent, has a unique method of coaching, which stresses on improving the personality of its trainees while providing quality training in ‘high-standard’ training facilities.

“Along with the ground practice, we involve a mix of classroom sessions, video analysis and powerpoint presentations in our coaching pedagogy. The classroom sessions deal with a range of subjects from the science of cricket to nutritional to mental conditioning,” he said.

To improve the quality if coaching at CRISL, the academy seeks the help of professionals like Indian cricketer Robin Singh and G Jayakumar, a BCCI level-3 coach, who is the personal trainer of test cricketer Murali Vijay.

The seeds of the academy was sown in Manoj by his former colleague at Southern Petroleum, Robin Singh, almost four years ago. After a lot of research and deliberations, Manoj, together with Innocent, started the first centre in Kollam, offering flexible two-hour sessions during weekends so as not to hinder the trainees’ schooling.

As the Kollam unit worked out well to meet the expectations, CRISL opened new centres in suburbs and rural areas, rather than in urban areas, which have enough coaching facilities. Altogether, it has ten centres in Kerala and around 150 trainees in the regular batches.

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The New Indian Express