Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday unveiled exciting new plans to build a Centre of Cricketing Excellence at the current High Performance Centre (HPC) at the University of Pretoria’s Sports Complex.
Known as the CSA Centre of Excellence, this R30 million project was recently given the go ahead and approval by the newly formed CSA Board of Directors.
The project is a joint undertaking between CSA and the University who have made the land available free of charge on a long-term basis and will also be used by the University’s own cricket club. In terms of the agreement the Centre of Excellence will also enjoy the use of the University’s main cricket oval.
“The CSA Centre of Excellence will compare more than favourably with similar centres around the world at Loughborough in England, Brisbane in Australia and at the International Cricket Council (ICC) headquarters in Dubai,” commented CSA Acting CEO Naasei Appiah. “It will contribute to the long-term success of cricket in South Africa. The support of the University of Pretoria and the HPC and the passion of CSA for excellence will ensure that the CSA Centre of Excellence will be the best in the world.
“Currently all the leading international teams have either an existing high performance facility with office space for their high performance staff or are in the process of completing their high performance centres. Their ability to make use of the facility all year round and in all conditions as well as their ability to use the best equipment available puts them in a position of strength.
“I would also like to stress that this new facility will be used across the board for all our national teams – the Proteas Castle Lager and Blue Label Telecoms squads, the Momentum national women’s team, the Coca-Cola national under-19 squad as well as our national squads for the disabled and differently abled cricket. This facility will not just cater for the high performance needs of CSA but will serve as a base for various transformation initiatives of CSA to address the imbalances within our own country.”
CSA General Manager: Cricket, Corrie van Zyl, outlined the major objectives of the new facility. “Our high performance strategy is based on four pillars: to provide support to all the national teams in terms of facilities, equipment, technological support and tour preparation, particularly for out-of-season tours; to bridge the gap between domestic and international competition and to close the historical gaps within our own communities from the past; to support all the feeder structures; and to broaden the base of potential future international players.
“Research, which will include a video analysis laboratory, is another very important aspect of the new facilities that will be made available.
“Another very important aspect will be the opportunity to set up an ICC-accredited testing facility for illegal bowling actions. This will not only mean that CSA can now test its own professional players at a fraction of the price but also test professional cricketers from all over the world.
“Young cricketers still in their developmental stage can be tested for possible illegal actions and remedial work can then be done immediately to avoid disappointment further down the line.”
The University of Pretoria also welcomed the expanded relationship with the CSA that represents an extension and consolidation of the current nine year partnership, for another nine years.
“It contributes to the University’s commitment to excellence in its core business of teaching and learning, and research to all its endeavours, including sport. The University’s contribution towards the nation’s sporting success internationally as reflected in the Olympic success in 2012 of athletes that formed part of its sports system will be extended with the addition of this new and much needed facility for CSA,” explained the University of Pretoria’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey.
The CSA Centre of Excellence will also host the National Academy with an auditorium and conference facilities also in the plans to host CSA related events and workshops in the future.