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Cricket news - BCCI changes ZCA format, to hire sports science expert

It may be recalled that current India 'A' and U-19 coach Dravid had asked the BCCI to revise its coaching manual five years ago.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) is in the process of overhauling its existing coaching curriculum. Besides bringing Rahul Dravid on board as the head coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, the BCCI is also looking at hiring an education head to train coaching and training faculty. The format of the Zonal Cricket Academies (ZCA) will also be changed to strengthen the quality pool of under-19 cricketers, TOI has learnt.

It may be recalled that current India 'A' and U-19 coach Dravid had asked the BCCI to revise its coaching manual five years ago. "The head (education) will deal with sports science and also update the coaches and trainers at NCA. This is a part of upgrading the coaching curriculum," a senior BCCI official told TOI. The board is looking at a preliminary contract of six months to observe the impact the education head will have.

BCCI had adopted the Australian model of cricket development five years ago. While that model has been updated a couple of times since, BCCI is yet to upgrade its own curriculum. The board is still in the process of coming out with a new coaching manual.

In another development, the board has decided to deviate from the traditional format of the ZCA keeping next year's U-19 World Cup in mind. The board has decided to divide the top 100 U-19 players into four elite squads of 25 each rather than going by zones. An additional plate squad has also been introduced to groom 25 U-19 kids from the nine new states introduced in the Ranji Trophy. This has been done in consultation with Dravid and the junior selection committee.

Each elite squad has 19 players who will be eligible for the U-19 World Cup in South Africa in Jan-Feb next year and six who will fall out of the criteria by then. An interzonal tournament will be played among six teams - four will have players eligible for World Cup, the plate group and one with players who will be past 19 by the time the World Cup comes. "The selectors will come for the tournament and they will start with picking a team for the U-19 tour of England," the official said.

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